When I moved to Los Angeles from New York, ironically I ended up working for a newly-started digital marketing agency based in New York. For two years, I worked remotely from home until we expanded the company to officially have an office in Los Angeles. That being said, today, 95% of the work I do is still done remotely as our clients are based all over the country.
Working from home isn't for everyone, as it does take a certain level of discipline and organization. Here are 5 tips I've picked up that have helped me maintain a good working relationship from the comforts of my home.
My office in a corner of my living room.
Working from home gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of time and location. However, to maximize your productivity, it helps to create a good work routine. For me, that involves having set office hours because it's very easy to end up working all day. It also involves having a dedicated work area such as a desk in the corner of your room - unless I'm sick, I never work in bed. Outside of work hours, I don't work or sit in this space, even if I'm working on personal projects. This helps me get into the working mindset easily.
Body language makes up a good amount of communication. When you're working remote, you don't have that extra layer of communication. You also don't have the benefit of being able to pop over to someone's desk to add or clarify something. This makes it extra important to over-communicate so you can avoid pitfalls of miscommunication so that you can maintain trust with your clients, coworkers and employers.
Things that you should definitely over-communicate on include when you'll be online/offline, are you stepping away from the computer for a period of time, and your expectations in regards to work.
This goes without saying, but you'll be relying a lot on the Internet when you're working remotely. For me, I do a lot of file sharing, screen sharing and video calls. Upgrading my Internet speeds was one of the best decisions I made, because it meant I could do my work a lot more easily. I also takequite a few internal and client calls, so when the connection is stable, it's really easy to miss key parts of the conversation.
Conversations that go back-and-forth on email chains and Slack channels are best done over the phone, or even better, a video call. Not only will this save you a lot more time in the long run, you'll also be able to better understand what a potential client is currently thinking.
Also, if you are presenting a set of slides to your client, it's very important that you share your screen with the client so that they can follow along and see what you're seeing. If this is not possible, then when going over the slides, it's important to mention which slide you're on and where -- for example a photo on the slides -- is positioned. For example: Have you had a chance to look at that blue and green graph on the top right corner on slide 26?
Working by yourself remotely can get a little lonely sometimes. Even as an introvert, it's still very important to be able to meet people and bond with your fellow coworkers and employees. If possible, visit your clients/employers about 1-2 times a year at the minimum.
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