Work Remotely: Managing Responsibilities Away From the Office

Work Remotely: Managing Responsibilities Away From the Office
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More than ever, people are working when, where, and how they want. Thanks to advances in software and an evolving work environment, many can generally work remotely without missing a beat.

A 2015 Gallup® poll found that the number of remote employees in the U.S. has risen, with 37% percent of respondents — up from 30% in 2008 and 9% in 1995 — stating they have telecommuted. While distance is not always an obstacle to success, there are things to bear in mind before going remote — even if it’s for only one day a week.

Getting Started

Working remotely has its potential advantages including increased employee autonomy and productivity, and improved work-life balance. According to a study by TINYpulse®, 91 percent of remote workers surveyed say they get more work accomplished remotely than in an office. And the flexibility of telecommuting can be a great option for parents, caregivers, students, and other employees who require a work-life balance outside of the traditional 9-to-5 job.

Before going remote, you and your employer need to discuss whether your job can be performed remotely, and if it can, there needs to be an agreement on a concrete description of your job expectations. Through regular check-ins, you can measure your performance against established goals and adjust your original plan if needed.

It is also a good idea to establish a remote schedule in advance and stick to it, rather than changing it often and without advance notice. You’ll want your coworkers and management to know they can depend on you regardless of where you work, and having a set plan can be helpful to you and those around you. Even with a consistent schedule and regular check-ins, however, remember that as the needs of the business change, so might the flexibility.

Staying Connected

Self-direction and accountability are critical to your success if you are working from home. “When you work remotely you must be more self-accountable and reliable to deliver on the work that you have agreed to do since there won't be a manager constantly looking over your shoulder,” says Jacob Morgan, Futurist and Author of The Employee Experience Advantage. “You need to be comfortable with not having other employees working around you which means being able to push yourself.”

Most remote workers enjoy having the autonomy to decide when and where they work, but there’s a fine line between independence and isolation. Communicate regularly with your co-workers when you’re remote so you aren’t left feeling disengaged and out of the loop.

Working Remotely Isn’t for Everyone

Remote work is dynamic, and you should expect an adjustment period when you get started. If you aren’t sure at the outset that working remotely is for you, you may want to explore it on a temporary basis first. Many people find that they work better in collaborative or structured office environments.

“It's bit more of an entrepreneurial mindset which means employees need to push and drive themselves a bit more than they are perhaps used to. Although working remotely is great, it also means more responsibility for the employee,” says Morgan

Additionally, for new college graduates, it may be tempting to apply for remote opportunities, but Morgan suggests gaining experience in an office setting first. “When starting out, I think it’s always great to have that face time, and then you can negotiate some kind of flexibility if the opportunity arises,” says Morgan.

Whether you’re working from home regularly or only occasionally, communication and motivation are the keys to successfully managing work responsibilities remotely.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation. Regions neither endorses nor guarantees any websites or companies referenced in this article that are not owned by Regions.