Do you like having a flexible schedule? Want to be able to attend a yoga class in the middle of the day? Do you like wearing your PJs until 4 p.m.? Do you want to be able to travel and two weeks paid leave is simply not going to cut it?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider working for a remote company or on a remote team.
Personally, I have chosen this lifestyle, and I am building a remote company called Baobab Consulting. My team spans four countries (USA, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa) and even people based in the same country do not see each other very often.
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This structure has allowed the company to grow sustainably, cutting costs like office rental and transportation, which can allow for more exciting company retreats and meetings surrounding our projects.
While there are clearly many benefits to working remotely, there are certainly challenges too. Here’s how to set yourself up for success, produce results and make your mark in a remote position.
Be a self-starter
If you are someone who needs constant reminders or supervision to complete your tasks, you should find an office job. Remote work means you will not have coworkers eyeing your screen, and you will not have office chat or visible competition that will push you to get your work done.
You have to be able to motivate yourself to get up out of bed on time without an official 9 a.m. clock-in. (Although you can always check in from your bed when you work remotely!)
Be able to work random hours
Especially if you work on a global team, you will need to be prepared to take calls at strange hours. When everyone is home, our team time difference spans nine hours, and it gets even more tricky when we are traveling.
In order to make meetings happen, someone usually has to get up extra early or stay up very late. It is not uncommon to receive work calls/texts at midnight. Just make sure to balance your personal/work time and set yourself limits that make you and your family feel comfortable.
Have exceptional digital communications skills
My team is constantly connected via WhatsApp, Google Suite, email, you name it. We are building systems that will allow us to all remain on the same page and keep our productivity.
If you are someone who prefers oral communication or hates texting, you will need to flex the digital muscles to be successful on a remote team.
Be disciplined and force yourself to have a routine
When you make your own schedule, it can be easy to have weekends flow into weekdays, to take long breaks in the middle of the day and work late hours in the night.
This is one of the major perks of remote work, but it can often be a trap that decreases productivity. Even though some remote companies may maintain a standard 9-6 workday, they do not build in a routine.
Decide on one that you can stick to that makes you feel professional and productive, but will allow you to live your flexible life.
Build a community at home
Most of our friends and family in more traditional office jobs are around other people for a minimum of 40 hours a week. It can become easy to rely heavily on them for normal socialization or to discuss work-related issues.
We are not trying to put too much pressure on our loved ones, so it is critical to find another social or professional outlet. Go to a local coffee shop and meet other remote workers, join a co-working space, or even join social clubs to build relationships with like-minded people.
Build a community with your remote coworkers
At Baobab, we predominantly use WhatsApp for this. We send birthday shoutouts, selfies, articles and news that relates to our company values and team.
Also, the team uses social media to encourage one another and to share news about our team and teammates. We also plan biannual team retreats, where we bring as many people together as we can for work and recreation
Remote work is the future, and I encourage everyone to consider the benefits, but also the potential pitfalls.
If you are interested in joining a remote team, Baobab Consulting is always looking for talent, so please check out our website for more!
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