Working Remotely: What it’s like and How to Do It Successfully

by | Nov 3, 2015

working remotely what it's like and how to do it successfully
14 min read

Why Choose to Work Remotely?

Dolly sang it best, “Working 9 to 5 is a crazy way to make a living.” And she’s right. Working remotely is becoming more and more mainstream for a variety of reasons.

Because You Can Design Your Own Life

The best of these reasons in my opinion is being able to design your own life. Working 9 to 5 in an office environment may suit some, but for many of us, remote working gives us the freedom to enjoy both work and life. Check out the best places to work remotely on Nomad List. It’s no longer a case of Work Vs. Life, it’s just life.

“Having a young daughter, the remote work option also helps my time become more flexible. A career is nice, but it doesn’t trump seeing your kids grow up.” – Cody Miller, IMWT’s Senior SEO Specialist.


Because you’ll Probably Be Less Stressed and More Engaged

In an Interview with the Guardian, Daryl Wilkinson, head of group digital development at Nationwide stated that “There’s less stress in the office and the workplace – people feel empowered to work in a way that suits them and suits the business. When you’re tweeting with people in your team close to midnight, it brings home that people are experiencing something beyond ‘doing work’ – they’re engaged in a different way.”
And since I’m now working on this post at 8:55 on a Friday night, I have to agree with him. Having the freedom to work how and when you want, allows me and other remote workers like me to work in the zone, when creativity hits.

Cody agrees too: “Most of all, I like the freedom of working my own hours. I have actually found that working on weekends when necessary is not so bad when you work remotely, whereas in an office environment this is the furthest thing from your mind. It’s a huge advantage to not be chained to a desk every day, waiting for home time to roll around. I don’t feel the need to ‘escape’ all the time, or get away from a desk so much.”

Not only that but having the opportunity to live where you want instead of choosing locale based on where the jobs are is extremely important and in a way that really affects me personally. Tasmania can seem pretty cut off from mainland Australia at times and at no time is this more apparent than when it comes to work. Living in this peaceful setting promotes the creativity needed to write 10x content. However, if it wasn’t for working remotely, I probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to do it.

working remotely at home office desk

My workspace at home: much better than the traditional cubicle environment


Because Commuting is Bad for You

According to TIME Magazine, if you’re a commuter, your life is terrible, a study released by the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics found that “commuters have lower life satisfaction, a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety on average than non-commuters.” Not only that but any commute longer than just 15 minutes lowers life satisfaction levels.

Cody, our SEO specialist also believes that “the other huge benefit from working remotely is not wasting time on commuting. Especially in places like Sydney, where commutes to work can eat into hours and hours of your day. I can spend time on actually working, as opposed to getting to work.”


Why You Should Allow Your Employee’s to Work Remotely

Of course, working remotely isn’t just good for employees, it’s also beneficial for their bosses to allow them to do so. Data from Gallup’s State of the American Workforce states that remote worker’s log more hours than their in-office counterparts, logging 4 extra hours of work per week. They’re also more engaged, with remote workers being 32% engaged Vs. 28% engaged.
By hiring remote workers, employers are also able to bring in a better team by selecting employees from a much broader talent pool.

Pros and Cons of Working Remotely

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing whether or not to work remotely. Personally, I believe the pros far outweigh the cons, especially when you have a good team and manager that fully supports you.
Below I’ve come up with a list of the most basic and common pros and cons of working remotely but you’ll find there are a lot more in both columns for your own personal situation. For example, one of the things I love most about working remotely is being able to better care for my pets. Recently I’ve also been thinking of providing a foster home for more dogs from the local shelter, which is something that I would never be able to do if I didn’t work from home.
Pros and Cons of working remotely
A Few words from our SEO Specialist Cody: “Having been a remote worker on and off since 2010, I would have to say I prefer the remote option. I find I get more done and it’s also satisfying knowing that you are trusted to work independently.
As for cons to working remotely, it is nice to be around like minded people in a traditional office environment. This is handy for bouncing ideas and sharing success. Of course the camaraderie is a great thing and meeting and making new friends is great. I have recently begun working in a shared office space, full of startups and entrepreneurs. Most people are still very busy, but it’s nice to get out and network.
Some people may enjoy the closer management style of a corporate office structure, but I found that people are often drawn into office politics and this is a distraction. As a remote worker it definitely pays to be disciplined with your time and schedule, there are easy access distractions as well.”

How I Work Remotely

It’s pretty safe to say that to be a successful remote worker, you need 2 things: discipline and organisational skills. Of course, that’s not all you’ll need, but it’s a good place to start and you won’t get very far without them. You can also read about how my colleague Mat, works remotely from Saigon.

How I Schedule My Day

As it’s extremely important to stay organised as a remote worker, one of the simplest and most essential parts of my day is simply organising my time and planning ahead. I use an incredibly basic Collins yearly diary to arrange my days in detail, weeks in advance and months more broadly.
My top tip for working remotely is very simple: Write everything down!
In fact, whether you work remotely or not, I encourage you to do this.
This is what an average day looks like for me:

  1. Get up and ready and take the very long and exhausting, zombie-like commute into the lounge room or study to find my daily planner, pen and laptop.
  2. Write down all the tasks for today and the days ahead that haven’t been put on paper yet.
  3. Work from the list I just created, choosing the most important tasks for the first thing in the morning, one after the other and checking them off as I go.
  4. Take a lunch break, if work isn’t too hectic and I actually remember and take the dog for a walk (this is a great way to recharge the batteries before sitting down to work again in the afternoon).
  5. Go back to step 3 before finishing for the day.

Pretty simple right? It always amazes me just how complicated people can make work (especially remote work) when they’re unorganised. This is how I do it every day, whether I’m working on one big project or 20 little ones.

distractions when working remotely from home

One of the few distractions I have at work albeit a very nice one.


How We Do It at In Marketing We Trust

At In Marketing We Trust, when it comes to remote workers and working remotely, we’re pretty well experienced. Having in-house remote workers, like myself and Cody who work outside the office in other states in Australia and with in-house workers that work remotely internationally, we all know what it takes to keep up with the new work arrangements that having a remote team demands.
With a team made up of lots of remote workers as well as those in our offices, we know that the number 1 way to remain a successful team is by communicating with each other just as much as we would in a traditional office environment. We use a number of programs on a daily basis to make this work.
Here are just a couple of the ways we stay in touch:

  • WIP Meetings – every week our Managing Director, Freddy, expects the team to update him on our work in progress
  • Monthly KPI Meetings – Similar to our weekly WIPs, we also have a monthly meeting where we update our calendars on work completed, work in progress and upcoming work for the month ahead
  • Fortnightly Catch-ups – Each fortnight we have a very laid back, Friday afternoon discussion on upcoming projects and work in progress

We also use a variety of tools to stay connected and keep in the loop with the whole team, these include:

  • Skype and Skype mobile – to stay connected, conduct weekly and monthly meetings cheaply and efficiently
  • Google Hangouts – to conduct relaxed fortnightly catch-ups with the team and to record sessions so that other team members can watch later
  • Toggl – to keep track of our time and see what everyone’s up to
  • Slack – basically a virtual water cooler
  • Basecamp – for project management, task allocation and to-do lists

Of course there are many more methods of connecting as a team and thankfully for teams like ours, more and more are being created everyday as remote working becomes more conventional. In fact, according to a recent survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London, 34% said that more than half their company’s full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020.

Kirsten Tanner

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