Working remotely is growing more common, especially as employers are finding it can lead to an increase in productivity in their remote employees.
Until last week, I had never worked remotely for longer than a day or two and could only partially understand the remote work lifestyle.
However, I just spent a full week working remotely and found myself noticing all the benefits and challenges I had previously read about that come with remote work.
Even after a single week, I found my production was up and I was able to make more time for individual priorities with the lack of a commute.
This was awesome to experience but still had its challenges.
Below is a small list of the unexpected things I noticed after working one week remote.
Allowing your notifications to have sound increases your reaction time
If you work in an office, there’s one rule we all overlook: your computer should always be on silent. None of your desk mates want to constantly hear all of the notifications you receive and you don’t want to hear there’s.
Of course, all of us still receive notifications that range from urgent to I’ll-probably-never-get-to-that. However, what we don’t realize is how much quicker our reaction time can be if all of the notifications we receive have sound.
Slack message comes in asking for the latest PowerPoint on your big presentation: *PING*
Email update that you need to meet with your manager in an hour: *PING*
Reminder that you have a meeting in 5 minutes: *PING*
It can be a real luxury to have another one of your senses activated anytime your attention needs to be on something. This means that one of the hidden benefits of working at home is that you’re always alerted of the things YOU find the most important.
Less space means easier laptop access
Another hidden benefit of working from home is that when you’re not working in an office, you’re always close to your laptop.
As mentioned above, having sound on for all your notifications can help you react to things faster. But working in an area that isn’t as big as your office means you can step away to grab something to eat without missing a thing.
In an office, anytime I want a snack or to go to the bathroom, I must close my laptop and rely on feeling my phone vibrate to stay in the loop.
Of course, mobile apps have given us the ability to always stay connected, however, while working from home in a smaller space, you will be able to feel like you’re always connected to those back at the office when you’re just feet from your workstation while you’re in the kitchen.
Being so close to your laptop will ultimately ease your mind that you are always connected to your co-workers back at the office because there’s no where you can go in your house or apartment that isn’t a short walk to your desk.
You need to set expectations with everyone in office
Life is so much easier when your expectations are aligned with your co-worker’s. This is no exception when working remotely.
What time will you be online? How often will you communicate over Slack vs. video conferencing? When will you be in the office next?
These are all open questions that could have very different answers depending on who you speak with so it’s best to align with your co-workers ahead of time on them.
No matter what answers you come up with, being aligned is half of the benefit from addressing these questions.
You’ll find that having these answers will make it easier for you and your co-workers to know what your expectations are.
With one full week of working remotely under my belt, the observations above were some of the unique things that I learned and had not previously read about from the numerous benefits of working remotely.
As you work remotely, you’ll be able to experience all of the things listed above as well as other benefits that may be specific to your life.
Working remotely is a great example of work-life balance and provides you with many opportunities to get creative and make a working environment that suits you while still doing great work.