By Cheryl Lock
While many people seek remote work for the flexibility it offers, there are so many more benefits and perks to working from home. Not only do employees with flexible work options tend to be more productive and have better work-life balance, working remotely can also help teach people valuable lessons about themselves.
These are some of the life lessons remote workers stand to benefit from!
7 Life Lessons From Working Remotely
1. Time Management
Flexibility when it comes to work is great, but it can also be daunting. Without a boss or colleagues looking over your shoulder, some people find that managing their own time—scheduling meetings, keeping up with deadlines, staying on top of video calls—is more challenging than they originally thought.
For most, it only takes a little while to pick up the time management skills they need to be successful with remote work, like setting reminders, creating to-do lists, and sticking to a schedule. Once those skills are mastered, they extend into other areas of life.
Besides managing your own time, when you work from home, you need to be self-motivated to actually get your work done and avoid everything that can get you off track, like some of the inherent distractions associated with working from home.
Luckily, various tools can help you ditch those distractions. SelfControl, for example, is a free Mac application that helps people avoid distracting websites while they’re trying to work. Also, putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” will stop all notifications, alerts, and calls. You can set schedules for this or manually turn it on and off, and you can even program in exceptions so that certain contacts always ring through.
3. Balancing Family With Work
Trying to find a healthy work-life balance is one of the top reasons people seek remote work in the first place, but once you actually start working from home, the need for balance becomes even more apparent.
With remote work, employees are better able to prioritize family activities and commitments, such as after-school games, practices, play dates, and pediatrician visits. Being able to shift your schedule around to spend time with your family is certainly one of the more powerful perks of remote work.
4. Setting Work-Life Boundaries
People who work remotely don’t have the luxury of leaving the office behind like those who work in an actual building. The temptation to spread your work out around the house can be great, especially when you’re looking for a change of scenery.
But remote workers who can manage to keep their work life in one particular area of their home (in a home office or nook, for example) often find it’s much easier to close the door and walk away from work when it’s quitting time.
5. Finding Your Motivation
Let’s face it—not everyone is a morning person. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some people tend to lose motivation after lunch.
While a flexible schedule doesn’t mean you’ll never have another meeting or call when you aren’t at your peak working potential, it does mean you’ll have the opportunity to discover what hours of the day you work best, as well as where and when you feel the most motivated. Need a window? Like a little low music? Would a plant or two help? Go for it!
6. Staying Connected
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons you’ll learn with remote work is how to stay connected, even when you aren’t physically present in the company office. People who are face-to-face with their bosses day in and day out can more easily stay top of mind, but it can be harder for remote workers.
This often means remote employees have to be more active on email and with scheduling weekly check-ins. Although it can be easy to neglect meetings when you work from home, it’s better to stay involved to ensure you stay a part of the team.
7. Technological Know-How
The last thing a work-from-home employee wants is for their internet to be down right before an important remote meeting, or to be late for a call because they couldn’t figure out how to log in.
No matter your age or technological savvy, if you work from home, it’s your job to be your own IT consultant. This means staying up to date on the best chat, server, and conference call options, and knowing how to troubleshoot when issues do pop up.