What You Should Know About Remote Work

Written by on Aug 31 2016

I’ve been a remote worker for every day of my professional career. I used to think that I couldn’t function any other way — I’m a bit of an introvert, and I’ve had issues with my sleep schedule for ages. Remote work should fit like a glove, shouldn’t it?

The short answer to that is no. If you’ve never worked remotely, it’s probably different from what you imagine. Not fantastic, but not terrible either. Just definitely different.

You Need to Fight Loneliness

In due time, the loneliness of working from home will crawl under your skin and slowly eat away at your well-being. This happens even if you’re an introvert by nature. The best antidote? Leave home and work from somewhere else — a co-working space, a cafe, a library, anywhere. Leave home as often as possible.

I’d also suggest you attend conferences & local meet-ups when you have the chance. We’re built to be around people, to be inspired by them, and imitate them. People who work from an office are influenced by others due to sheer proximity. If you decide to stick it out by yourself, you miss out on a great way to expand your mindset: emulation.

Discipline is hard

As far as I’m concerned, being disciplined is the hardest part of remote work. You might think that as long as the work is engaging you’ll remain engaged. I’m afraid the reality is not so accommodating.

As a remote worker, you’re responsible for your own daily schedule. A challenging task can be engaging, but it can also scare you into procrastination. Absent some looming deadline there’s nobody around to stop you from watching cat videos for three hours in a row. But procrastination doesn’t make anything go away — except for your own time, that is.

Try as much as you can to have a schedule and stick to it; be an absolute stickler when it comes to having a curfew hour. When that hour comes, put aside anything that even resembles work. Spend the rest of the day with your friends, your loved ones or just yourself.

Discipline across many timezones is even harder

If you work across big timezone gaps like I do, try to have a constant selection of small items you can work on. You’ll constantly need help from someone who isn’t around. Fiddling your thumbs while you wait doesn’t do anyone any good; all it leads to is more late hours.

Clients who are many hours ahead or behind you are the hardest to work with. As a general rule of thumb, the farther away across the globe someone is, the better you need to communicate. When you’re stuck waiting on a client, tell them so quickly and clearly. Also be crystal clear with them about when you start and finish work so you don’t end up constantly working after hours for them.

People will frequently forget or misjudge time zone gaps, especially if they’re new to remote work. Be patient with them. Be prepared to repeat yourself. Remember that no one’s deliberately ignoring you. Our attention as humans is just naturally directed towards what’s next to us.

The advice behind all this advice

What I’m getting to is that remote work can be wonderful or awful; which of those you end up with is largely in your hands. Don’t expect to get a free ride. Stay mindful, stay determined, and you’ll do just fine.


Hi I'm Eugen,

I wrote the article you're reading... I spend my days in the eclectic city of Bucharest, Romania. I enjoy talking things through, and solving hard problems with a gentle touch. I love films, friendships, and tennis and I have an insatiable sweet tooth.

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