We’re all looking to better ourselves and become more successful. I’ve found that being proactive in my career development has given me an edge over the years.
I’m not just talking about technical skills either. There are many other non-technical aspects of a remote workers’ day. Brushing up on these will be advantageous in terms of your overall success.
Here are the 5 steps I follow to becoming a better remote worker:
1. Use a Specialist Workplace
I’ve worked from home for a long time. Day-to-day, I take refuge in my office.
While there’s nothing wrong with heading out to a coffee shop now and then or working while you travel to a meeting, I’ve found that having a dedicated workspace makes me more efficient.
It’s easy as a remote worker to fall into the trap of “if I’m on my laptop, I’m working” state of mind. It’s all about output, and in my experience, if I don’t have a home office to take solace in, my output isn’t as good.
A safe-haven where you can shut out day to day noise will simply make you more productive (noise cancelling headphones can help here too).
Take advantage of the days where you can work in peace.
2. Have a Semi-Flexible Routine
I’m a routine based person and I struggle when I break out of it. Having said that, working from home offers us an amazing level of flexibility.
I like to have a fairly strict routine with a few flexible elements. For instance:
A non-negotiable part of my week is four visits to the gym. I like to get there before my work day starts and I like to have my weekends for rest. That leaves me with four sessions to fit into five days before work.
In an ideal world, these sessions are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Usually possible, occasionally not. But because my routine has a little bend, if I have an early meeting on Tuesday, it’s not a problem to move that gym session to Wednesday.
A work from home routine is super important to add structure to your days. Make sure you have some room for flexibility in there too.
3. Follow Industry News Closely
This goes without saying for any professional, but even more so for remote workers. We spend a lot of our time alone, removed from the typical workplace environment.
We’re deprived of those watercooler chats about the latest version of X or the newest update to Y. Industry conference visits are also often beyond a freelancers’ reach due to time or money constraints. It’s up to us to keep on top of what’s going on.
I make good use of Twitter to follow relevant accounts in the web development, web design and technology fields. I also like to set time aside to brush up on my coding skills when new techniques arise.
It’s paramount to stay relevant when becoming a better remote worker.
4. Do a Good Job Networking
I’m not big on in-person networking. By this, I mean networking for networking’s sake. It’s always seemed forced to me.
In my opinion, a retained client, a word of mouth recommendation and a friend in a similar field are all better contacts than someone met for the first time at a local business gathering or an industry conference.
We’re remote workers, our catchment area is global – it’s important to be good at digital networking. Your portfolio website and social media accounts are all part of this. Make sure they properly portray you and the services you offer.
A networking aspect I focus on is simply doing a good job. If you do a good job, you will get more work. Whether it’s from the client themselves or someone they know. Be knowledgeable, be reliable, be personable.
Good remote workers stand out.
5. Be a Better Communicator
Last but not least my top tip for becoming a better remote worker. Do all you can to improve your communication skills.
It’s always nice to get positive feedback. I find it extra satisfying when a client praises my approach to project conversation. I’m often told that my personal, yet to the point style of communication is exactly what people are looking for in a remote worker.
In my opinion, this is what leads to me getting successfully hired and retained more than anything else.
Some basic action points I follow are:
- Take the time to write better emails.
- Speak more on the phone to clients.
- Utilise regular video chats.
- Show willing to meet in person when it suits both sides.
Good communication is an invaluable trait as a remote worker.