9 Tips for Preparing to Work Remotely

Remote Work, Part I

As technology becomes more sophisticated and Internet access more ubiquitous, some companies are changing their stance on remote opportunities. FlexJobs reported a 27 percent increase in remote job listings in the past year.

Trading a life at the office for one working at home is a major life change, and the first step to completing it is finding your ideal job. We’ll review a few key tips to finding a “work from home” position, and then tell you a few things to remember as you start your new, flexible job.

Looking for remote jobs …

1. Where to look

The first step to finding a remote opportunity is finding your ideal job. Many sites exist dedicated to remote jobs, and you can begin searching at the following ones:

2. Personalized letter

Once you begin applying, the cover letter becomes your primary point of contact with hiring managers. Become a storyteller about your experience. Explain your reasons for wanting to work remotely as well as how you will benefit the company with your expertise. Being able to communicate effectively will become incredibly important when you work remotely, so your first impression should be well written and concise.

3. Research the company thoroughly

Become a stalker. Conduct as much research possible about the company you’re applying to. Learn the ins and outs of the company, its values, the people in charge. When trying to determine compensation, you can search sites like Glassdoor and Payscale.

4. Nailing the interview

Because you’ll be working remotely, it’s likely that the interview will be held online through Skype, Google Hangouts, or another online video conferencing software. Be sure you have a strong internet connection and no distractions. Taking a call from the coffee shop isn’t an ideal place, with the background noise.

Just as you do with your cover letter, show your personality. You want to make sure you’re a good culture fit with the company and its leaders.

Once you land the job …

1. Consider your workspace

Now that you’ve landed the job and your first day of working from home is right around the corner, you should find a dedicated workspace in your house so you can focus. If you have an extra room, that’s the best setup. If not, put a desk in an area of your home where you can close the door and focus solely on your job.

2. Your setup

Buy a nice chair and desk, or get an awesome standing desk. You’ll be spending eight-plus hours a day at your desk, so you’ll want to feel comfortable. Posting up at the dinner table will become increasingly difficult and wreak havoc on your back.

If your company has sent you a new machine, set it up and install the tools they use at the main office. Having the same setup as your colleagues will help you get up to speed faster.

3. Communication

You’re not physically in the office, but you should make your presence known. Staying in constant contact with the people at your company will become essential. Introduce yourself through online meetings, emails, and other communication tools they may use, like Slack or Hipchat.

4. Travel considerations

For most remote jobs, travel will be involved on occasion. You’ll want to make appearances at the main office, or meet up with your colleagues, throughout the year. Consider everyone’s schedules, and choose cost-effective times to visit so you can build a better bond with the team.

5. Ground Rules

If you have roommates or a significant other, you need ground rules! While you may be present in the home, they need to know you’re actually “at work” and no, you cannot fold the laundry or walk the dog. Set a protocol to minimize interruptions and preserve your productivity.

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