There's a lot to love about remote IT work. It takes out the office politics completely and allows you to create your own schedule. It’s quicker to get stuff done without co-workers coming by to say hello whenever they please. If you want to stop by a cafe and work for the afternoon, you can! With remote IT work, you have more freedom to do the things you need during the week while also saving money on commuting, food, and coffee. Basically, working remotely is the solution to our busy modern lifestyles… or is it? The truth is, working from home isn’t for everybody. For a lot of people, they need a separation between work and home in order to be effective at either. However, for those that do choose to work remotely, there are ways to organize your life for a good balance and efficacy.
1. You have to love remote IT work.
If you don’t have a passion for the work, doing it remotely isn’t going to help anything. To be a successful remote worker, you have to be completely committed to what you are doing. Motivation is key when it comes to working from home.
2. Start on time, every day.
One of the easiest lies to tell yourself when you’re working remotely is that it’s okay for you to sleep in because you’ll just work that much later. Of course, the kids come home or your friends go out for happy hour and “later” becomes “not at all” and the next thing you know, you’re behind schedule. Pick a time to begin working and commit to being in front of your computer at that exact time, every day, no excuses.
3. Make a schedule.
Working from home requires structure. Log all your tasks on a calendar with a week-by-week schedule that keeps you on task. As something comes up, find an open spot in that calendar and let your boss or client know exactly when you are getting to it. When you can, schedule any meetings or out-of-home-office close together so you can get them all done in one big chunk of time. Each task you have per week should be prioritized. A good rule of thumb is to get anything you don’t particularly like doing done first-- that way you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.
4. Create the right environment.
If you choose to work remotely, you need to create a separate space in your home from which to work. Design your office space in a way that inspires your creativity. Eliminate outside distractions like TV; it’s too easy to get sucked into whatever’s happening on the tube. It’s also important to get dressed in the morning. Working in your PJs may sound fun, but our perceptions of ourselves change with what we are wearing. If you are in your lounge clothes, your brain is going to be in lounge mode. Take the time in the morning to shower, put on clothes, apply makeup… whatever it is you need to do to feel “dressed.”
5. Take breaks.
When you work from home, it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing. Without co-worker wandering around and stopping to chat, you can zone in on a task and get things done. However, it’s important to take breaks. We aren’t designed to work eight hours nonstop. Taking breaks helps problem solving and creativity. It also prevents burnout so you don’t lose your passion for the work (see #1 up there).
6. Find your “spot” nearby.
There are going to be days when working from home just isn’t, well, working. Maybe the in laws are in town and there’s a bunch of commotion. Maybe a room needs to be fumigated. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to have a spot where you can set up shop and get some work done. For many people, their favorite neighborhood coffee shop fills that role. Others rent out desk space at coworking communities. You may even have a neighbor or friend happy to lend out their office while they’re out. Just be sure it’s a place with good internet and an atmosphere conducive to working, and you’ll be fine.
7. Ask questions... and then ask some more.
When it comes to remote IT work, things get lost in translation. You may think it’s easier to have things laid out in writing, but the truth is when you aren’t verbally communicating you can’t as easily go into the depths of what your boss or client wants. Asking as many questions you can think of up front, then asking, even more, follow up questions will ensure you truly grasp your instructions so you can get your work right the first time.
8. Keep lines of communication open.
Whether your company uses Skype or you’re a Slack devotee, don’t disappear from your company’s chat channels just because your face isn’t around. Your company is a team and a team needs to communicate to work effectively. Use the tools given to you to ask questions and work together, even if you’re not in the same building.
9. Come up with your quick, go-to lunches.
With remote IT work, one of the perks is the money you can save if you skip Starbucks and take-out for making it yourself. However, just because you can save a few bucks making your own lunch doesn’t mean you’ll have time to get your Gordon Ramsay on. You still need to stick to a schedule, so you probably only have 30 minutes to maybe an hour for your lunch break, depending on how you break up your day. You’ll want to enjoy that time actually enjoying your food, not wondering what to make, then taking 45 minutes making it. Come up with 2-3 go-to lunches you can throw together in minutes so you can eat and get back to work. Buy ingredients for these lunches on Sunday and revel in the convenience.
10. Trust your gut.
All of these tips work for someone, but nothing works for everyone. You may find that remote IT work in the comfort of your sleep clothes is best for you. Some people think the noise of the television is like a sound machine that keeps them focused. Listen to your instincts and create an environment that is right for you.At Number8, we embrace the freedom and flexibility when our employees work remotely. With effective communication and the above practices, we are able to keep up with our ever-changing market whether we are in office or out. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!
Traveling across the globe has many obvious perks. You get to experience foreign environments, try different foods, meet new people, and learn about other cultures. Its especially enjoyable when you get to do all of this as part of your job. Traveling for work is enviable to those who don’t get the opportunity. However, recent studies show that there are a significant amount of adverse side effects that come from frequent business travel. Scott Cohen, deputy director of research of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, published a paper called: A Darker Side of Hypermobility. Cohen collected data from the past 15 years of major studies regarding constant travel. Some of his findings revealed that those who are “hypermobile” are at risk of a range of negative physiological, psychological, emotional, and social effects.
Effects of Frequent Business Travel
Frequent flying can lead to chronic jet lag. This in turn can cause a disruption in the gene expression that influences aging and the immune system. The risk of heart attack or stroke is higher in those who suffer from chronic jet lag.
Weakened Immune System
Constant travel means more frequent and more lengthy exposure to germs. Especially during flights when you’re breathing in the recirculated air within the cabin. Jet lag and the stress that comes with travel can also affect the body’s ability to fight off potentially harmful germs.
Business travel usually means less time to focus on eating well. It is more difficult to grocery shop, or cook homemade meals while on the go. So many people resort to eating out or take advantage of hotel buffets. Unsurprisingly this only magnifies the health risk of constant travelers because their bodies aren’t getting necessary nutrients.
Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
It may seem like a no-brainer to stay hydrated during travel. After all, hydration is important all the time, not matter if you’re on a plane. However, it is very easy to forget how necessary water is. Especially if your day is jam packed with meetings, and conferences. Drinking water is probably the last thing on your mind. An easy way to remind yourself to stay hydrated is to carry a water bottle with you. If it's empty you will notice and remember to fill it up. If you always have it with you then it will be hard to ignore.
It might be difficult to avoid alcohol during business trips. A lot of time you’ll take clients to dinner where it's expected to order a drink. While one glass of wine won’t do much damage, it is important to stay conservative in your alcohol consumption during travel. Alcohol is a depressant and it will dehydrate you which will contribute to exhaustion and stress.
Take advantage of hotel gyms as much as possible when you travel. Even twenty or thirty minutes on the treadmill will go along way when it comes to keeping your body happy and healthy.
Stick to a Diet
Eric Ruiz of the Observer, wrote an article about the tips he follows to stay healthy during business travel. He said that no matter where he is, he follows a similar diet of protein and veggies. He said this helps to reduce time and stress spent on deciding meals. It also allows him to stay within a pretty healthy diet and avoid eating anything that could make him sick. Our team members at Number8 often get the opportunity to travel across the world for work. We recognize the importance in taking care of our health during these trips, and we follow all of the above tips to ensure we are always functioning at 100 percent. If you're interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!
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