You keep hearing it everywhere: startups with entirely remote staff, big companies offering their employees flexible hours, freelancers working from all over the world. Yes, working remotely is the new way of working and in a world where staying connected has become a second nature, this might as well be the future and the demise of the traditional 9-5 schedule.
Recent research has found that remote workers are actually more productive than employees who head into the office every day. The reason why remote working is so popular is clear: it’s beneficial both for the employer and the employee, making it a mutually satisfactory setup that’s good for everyone involved.
So what are the things you should consider if you are thinking about switching to remote work for a startup?
Yes, working from home is going to be filled with temptations: sleeping in, playing with pets, finding chores to do or simply browsing social media all day. This will not only leave you behind on work but will also negatively impact your work-life balance because deadlines, projects and tasks are still the same as in an office and they have to be met at the end of the day. Meaning you will have to put in the overtime to finish them, leaving you frustrated and disorganized at the end of the day. Discipline is one of the most important things when working remotely, it takes practice and time to fall into place, but once it does it will turn you into a machine of productivity.
Consider that everything you will do, from communication to project management will be done with different tools and software designed to make your remote life a lot easier. Tools like Slack, Trello, Evernote, Basecamp and many others will become a second nature to you, so it’s essential that you know how to get the best out of them. Even your simple email client can become a powerful tool if you understand all its gimmicks and personalize it for your work. Add the fact that you will have to manage all this on your own most of the time and you will understand why a certain degree of tech knowledge is indispensable when it comes to remote work.
Working remotely means you will take full responsibility for how you allocate your time, complete your tasks and meet your deadlines. You will of course have supervision but it will be far less intrusive than in an office, your manager will trust you to work independently and tackle your work without constantly being told how and what to do. A lot of startups look for people that are self-starters/have a high degree of independence, value continuous learning, and are receptive to feedback. “Hand holding” and waiting for specific instructions before moving forward to work is a sign that you are probably not fit for remote work.
Adept at communication
You can easily understand why is crucial to have great communication skills when being part of a team that is distributed in different locations (and even time zones). Being a good communicator is not limited to being good at interacting with people, but rather more focused on how you interpret and convey information, especially written instructions. For example an employer will be able to asses from the first phases of recruitment if you are a good communicator, based on how you approach the application process and how much attention you pay to what has been requested: cover letter, resume, mini interview, replying in a timely manner etc.
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