In the past if you got to work from home you had hit the jackpot, no more traffic, no more annoying co-workers, no more surprise visits from the boss to check in on your progress. If you managed to find employment with a progressive thinking company, focused only on the output and not your whereabouts, then you were a lucky one!
However this was not always the case and if you lacked the qualities required to work remotely then you had the option to go to the office into the relative safety of the typical work environment. Today this option is not always available and more businesses are opting for a mobile workforce to reduce overheads. With limited space and hot desking the mobile worker is not always able to fall back on the office space and has little option but to work from home. This might sound great to some but many fear the home office as numerous distractions hinder your ability of being productive.
I think people underestimate the mental fortitude required to stay motivated and focused when your fridge is 10 steps away, your TV remote causing mental confusion as its not home time as yet and your bed, still unmade, is within crawling distance.
What are the key traits that one must master in order to succeed as a remote worker? Well for me the key is mental strength, the ability to focus on a task surrounded by domestic distractions, the ability to stay balanced without conversational interactions of co-workers, the ability to maintain a discipline that ensures nearby distractions don’t compromise productivity and being able to stay positive on a regular basis – I usually achieve this through morning exercise.
Surprisingly my biggest obstacle was overcoming the guilt of not working 9 to 5. I felt like I was not accomplishing my goals if I didn’t stick to these time frames that had become engrained into my psyche, standard conditioning for an employee.
What become more apparent was that the longer I worked remotely the more conscientious I had to be knowing when to stop working. I noticed that I stopped having any sort of balance between work and personal time.
I become more goal oriented rather than measuring my performance as a factor of hours spent on a project. All of a sudden it didn’t matter if it was a weekday or the weekend; I would work till I finished a project or a task. Mondays no longer felt like the end of the weekend and I would often not be aware of pending public holidays, in fact I would feel frustrated when these holidays would delay my ability to complete my work.