With the rise of digital media and cloud systems, the new generation of workers is able to work anywhere, provided there’s a good WiFi connection. You see them at your local café or at an airport terminal.
Some careers are more suitable for telecommuting, such as blogging, Internet marketing, or website management. Their jobs can be done from wherever, so they do not have to spend a fixed amount of time in a specific location. This is a plus for employers, who can focus on results rather than the time clock.
These mobile professionals have even started a new trend called “digital nomadism.” The digital nomads are professionals who prefer a location-independent lifestyle that allows them to travel and work anywhere in the world.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Remote Working
According to a survey from ConnectSolutions, working remotely can benefit both employers and employees. 52% of remote employees are less likely to take time off, and 23% are willing to work longer hours from home.
Also, remote employees exercise more, eat and sleep better, and save more money on expenses associated with traditional working.
A research from Global Workplace Analytics indicates that 2.6% of US workers — about 3.3 million people — telecommuted at least half the time in 2013. A bigger proportion don’t travel much, but seek a greater work-life balance than they might find at a full-time job.
Canadian businesses are getting more and more excited about the possibilities of remote workers, due to increasing evidence that a flexible workforce has many benefits.
Companies have been experimenting with remote work arrangements, spurred by reduced commuting times for staff, improved carbon footprints, real-estate savings, increased productivity, and better employee retention rates. A study by WorkShift suggests that 4.3 million Canadians with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home part-time could have a bottom-line impact of $53 billion per year in savings.
But working remotely is not a fairy tale, and it’s not effective for everyone. You have to be able to tolerate challenges — loneliness, motivation, boredom — that comes from working alone in an anonymous environment, without a team supporting and pushing you to improve. For some people, telecommuting means working much longer hours at home than they would in a traditional workplace, and this results in high stress levels and burning out.
How to Work Better On the Go
Working remotely, at home, in a hotel room, or at a coffee shop is sometimes necessary whether you prefer it or not. After all, workers today are always on the move.
If you need to work far from your office, here are the 4 points you have to address in order to create a mobile workplace that works for you.
The first big problem for many professionals is staying productive when working on the go.
To solve this, you can time your work sessions, using the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo.
Using a timer, you’ll have to focus on your tasks — eliminating all distractions — on intervals of 25 minutes, separated by short breaks, usually of 5 minutes.
In addition, always be prepared for the WiFi to let you down by creating offline safety nets. You might not be able to send your work, but you can prep it to the best of your ability. If you don’t require Internet, you might even want to turn your WiFi off, reducing the temptation to browse Facebook.
I like to say that half of the work is already done if you have organized and precise tasks.
To keep your productivity high (and finish work faster), set clear goals and keep your workflow in sync across computers.
Oh, and always back up your data! Use an external hard drive or a cloud storage solution to stash your files and prevent lost of works.
If your team works remotely, it’s possible that your colleagues are living in different countries and/or working at different times. If you are in another time zone, use the World Clock Google Calendar widget to schedule meetings without confusion.
A study by UCLA found that up to 93% of communication effectiveness comes from nonverbal cues. It’s fundamental to be able to read people’s faces and body language during meetings. To connect with the rest of the team, opt for video calls over chat or voice calls whenever possible.
You can’t have too much stuff with you when working on the go. To keep it light, try an ultra-portable tablet instead of your laptop.
Another big problem with working remotely is finding a consistent high-speed Internet connection. For reliable web and printing facilities, you can set your mobile office in a coworking space.
Like all things working remotely takes practice. Experiment, shake things up, and see what works best for you. The ability to accomplish tasks anywhere is what makes being a digital nomad so enticing.
If you are a digital nomad, give Control a try. Our mobile application will help you keep track of your business transactions wherever, whenever you need it.