A beginner’s guide to becoming a remote worker

Written by Gemma Clarke

Remote work has undoubtedly become a hot topic since last year. The Covid-19 lockdowns saw companies and workers worldwide transition to working from home. Many employees enjoyed being able to work from their sofa and skip the daily commute. What’s more, employers found that their staff can be just as productive, if not more, when working out of the office.

Because of this, many people are now considering switching to remote working for good. Remote work benefits more than just the individual. While you can enjoy a better work/life balance and improved mental health, remote work also helps the environment. With fewer people on the road, carbon emission levels reduce. What’s more, businesses will enjoy happier and less stressed employees.

Is remote working right for you?

If you’re new to location-independent work, you should first consider if this lifestyle will suit you. While there are many advantages to working from your laptop, it’s not for everyone.

For example, suppose you value privacy and peacefulness and like to spend time on your own. In that case, you’ll likely adjust well to remote work. But, on the other hand, if you tend to get lonely and enjoy the company of coworkers, you may struggle with this new way of working.

Working remotely also requires discipline and being able to manage your own workload. For example, many freelancers who work from home manage multiple clients and projects at once. Being able to manage your time efficiently is, therefore, a necessary skill to have.

Some people choose to work remotely because of the opportunity to work and travel. Do you love visiting and exploring new places? If so, you’ll find it significantly easier to do this when your laptop is essentially your office. Remote working allows you to travel as you make money and potentially sustain a work and travel lifestyle, as digital nomads do.

How to find remote jobs

So what do you do if your employer does not have a remote work policy? Luckily, many virtual jobs are available right now, and not all of them require special skills. For example, if you have previous PA experience, you can find a virtual PA job. Plus, some remote work jobs require no prior experience, such as teaching English.

On Careersaas there is a dedicated remote work section where you can start your job search. This can be filtered by country, organisation size, industry etc. If you’re looking for less permanent work or want to ease into it by doing some contracting, sites such as Upwork and Freelancer are good places to find temporary job listings. 

Best places to work remotely

Your environment and work setup will play a massive role in your focus and productivity. Remote workers either work from their homes or co-working spaces or cafes. I like to work from my home office most days, then once or twice a week I go to one of my favourite cafes.

Working from home

If you choose to carry out your work at home, make sure you have a suitable space. Avoid working from your kitchen table and instead create an office area that you use solely for work. Even if you don’t have a spare room to turn into an office, you can clear out a quiet corner and put a desk, comfy chair, and all your working essentials there.

Working from cafes and coffee shops

If you like to enjoy a good coffee and cake as you work, you might find cafes a great place to work. However, not all eateries are suitable, so here are a few things to look for:

  • Strong, stable WiFi
  • Plenty of plug sockets near the tables
  • Comfy chairs
  • A quiet atmosphere — no loud music
  • And, of course, great coffee!

Co-working spaces

Some people work best when surrounded by other remote workers. If this is the case for you, look for co-working spaces nearby. Co-working spaces are specifically designed for people working from their laptops. Therefore, they will likely have plenty of natural lighting, chairs with good back support, meeting room facilities, and an inspiring community atmosphere.

Other ways to stay focused while working remotely

Aside from an optimal working environment, there are a few habits and practices you can introduce into your day to stay focused, energized, and productive.

  1. Schedule your working hours around the times you generally feel most productive and alert.
  2. Structure your day by time-blocking your tasks.
  3. Take regular, scheduled breaks.
  4. Limit social media use. Set time limits on apps or keep your phone off your desk if needed.
  5. Set boundaries with family members (and with yourself) so you don’t get distracted.

Leaving the 9–5 office lifestyle is not as difficult as you may first think. However, if you feel your skills are lacking, there are plenty of online training materials available. Taking an online course will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to kick start your remote work career.