|By Cameron McCallum, Branch Manager at Eagle|
- Contact is the key - as a remote worker it's critical that you stay connected, especially from a client accessibility standpoint. Today's technology makes working from anywhere that much easier-but it is still up to you to demonstrate that you are equipped with the fastest Internet connection possible and latest communication gear that enables a variety of ways for clients to reach you. Phone, email, Skype. Dropped or missed calls, bad connections will only cast doubt on your ability to deliver so invest in your infrastructure.
- Establish regular work hours - While you may enjoy the freedom of deciding when to work, you need to decide when you're "on the clock" so that clients can reach you and personal contacts know when to leave you alone. Getting in a regular routine keeps you productive and without that discipline you may find that one of two things happen: You procrastinate and find yourself in a stressful crunch to get things done with an unhappy client or work gets spread out throughout the day and you feel like there's never any downtime.
- Set boundaries and limit distractions - With no one looking over your shoulder, it is up to you to stay focused and motivated and to keep others from interrupting your work time. Friends, family, pets, YouTube etc., can all compete for your time if you let them. Remember, not only do you have a contractual obligation but you are also trying to change perceptions so you need to be strict with yourself and demonstrate your professionalism and ability to deliver.
- Create a work-friendly space - One way to limit distractions is to dedicate an area as your "work area" when not at the client site. A home office that will give you privacy and keep you away from interruptions is essential. Even if you live in a small apartment, dedicate a corner where all your tools, materials, media connections, and papers are at the ready. This will serve as a visual and psychological signal that it's time to get to work. Or as an independent consultant, perhaps it's time to rent an office space where you can have business mail delivered and a place to go every morning. Besides being a great way to establish your credibility as a professional, having somewhere to go can often stave off those feelings of isolation when working on your own.