Remote work is the subject of much conversation in the professional world. What once was a slowly emerging trend has evolved into the topic of the future of employment due to COVID-19. So, if you’re making a career transition because you work remotely, you aren’t in the minority. Making remote work a reality, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as easy. Use these tips to help guide you through the murky water of a career transition and into virtual employment.
Is It the Right Time to Make a Career Transition to Remote Work?
Before you decide whether full-time remote work is the ideal choice for your career, think about your current employment situation. Even though the allure of telecommuting is strong, it’s not the right choice for every person in every situation. Here are some questions to consider before making a career transition to work remotely:
- Am I close to being fully vested in a pension plan or 401(k)?
- Can I take a pay cut in order to work from home?
- Do I have enough money to sustain myself should I need a few months to transition from my current job to remote work?
- Am I expecting to add a new child to the family soon?
- Can I have a job that doesn’t have as generous of benefits as my current position?
- Do I have the drive and discipline to succeed in a remote setting?
You may have to come up with some extra questions on your own. But answering these questions will certainly help to point you in the right direction. Remember that no right or wrong answer exists to these questions. The idea is to dive down and truly consider why you want to do remote work and if it’s a genuinely intelligent choice for both your personal life and your career.
Things You May Not Have Considered About Remote Work
Remote work may seem glamorous in nearly every facet. But if you’re making a career transition because you want to work remotely, potential pitfalls may mask reality. That’s not to say virtual work is a potential minefield or it isn’t amazing. Because in many ways, it’s a liberating and joyous experience.
Stuff You Should Know About Working Remotely
There may be several aspects of remote work that are unknown to you. Here are some things you may not have considered about telecommuting that are important to your career transition.
- Not everyone is cut out for remote work. Some people lack discipline; others can’t handle the distractions. But that’s alright. Trial periods and a remote master plan can help you decide if you’re destined to become a great remote worker.
- You will feel lonely or isolated at some point. It’s not a matter of if it will happen—it’s when it will happen. Fortunately, you can use techniques to stave off loneliness, but you should have the awareness that this may happen, even with family members around.
- Productivity can suffer or increase. The truth is that many remote employers have different expectations of how much work you should be able to complete from home. Gaining perspective into your potential employer’s expectations are essential.
- Training is on your shoulders. In traditional jobs, many employers provide paid training. In the remote world, this is rare. Prepare yourself for learning skills on your own to boost your skill set.
- You have to wear many hats. In fact, you might have to wear all the hats. When your computer goes down, you have to turn into an IT technician. When you need to talk to a client about a deal, you become a customer service agent. The idea is to become self-sufficient and a self-starter.
You may also encounter problems or concerns of your own as you journey into virtual work. The key is to know just what you might be facing and how to overcome obstacles to truly become a productive remote worker.
What Do You Want Out of Remote Work
Answering the question of why you want to work remotely could drive you toward telecommuting, or it may solve the issue immediately. If you can’t come up with a few solid reasons for working at home, you may have just been caught up in the recent popularity of remote jobs. If you can put some thought into why you want to work remotely and come up with answers, you’ll have a treasure trove of motivation to succeed.
Watch out if your reasons for working remotely consist of things like this:
- You want to work in pajamas all day
- You want to get up around noon
- The introvert in you doesn’t want to interact with others
- You can’t stand Drew from accounting constantly showing you pictures of his kids
Sure, these are perks of working remotely. But if they’re your main reasons for working from home, you’re in for a rude awakening when you finally go remote.
Conversely, you should come up with some concrete reasoning behind why you want to work at home. Some of the more popular reasons—including ones that could relate to you—are as follows:
- Better work-life balance to take care of kids or elderly family members
- Improved work-life balance for better self-care and less stress
- You can save money on commuting (and cut employer overhead)
- You can live closer to family
- More opportunity for professional self-improvement
If you have one or more of these reasons on your list, then making a career transition to work remotely is easily within the realm of possibility.
How to Find a Remote Job
Once you’ve decided that remote work is a beneficial advancement to your work and personal lives, the next step is to find a remote job. While weeding out scams and low-paying positions were tough in the past, job boards have made it more possible than ever to find excellent job options.
While you have numerous options and tools at your disposal, the Virtual Vocations job board features over 20,000 job listings in dozens of high-demand, top-paying industries. In addition to the sheer number of listings, you can also sort them to narrow down your search. These filters include geographic location, career level, hours, education level, and more.
You might also use your network or family to find remote job leads. You never know when your cousin’s roommate knows a guy who works at a remote company that’s currently hiring. Trying every available avenue to find a remote job is a surefire way to get what you want.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky, Hall of Fame ice hockey player
Learning How to Use Remote Tools
To bolster your resume and help make a career transition to remote work more feasible, you should learn how to use every remote tool at your disposal. Project management apps and team collaboration tools should become second nature. The same goes for video-conferencing apps, time management apps, and other office-related software.
As a starting point, you should consider learning a few of these remote tools:
- Microsoft Teams
- Cisco WebEx
Hopefully, you’re at least slightly familiar with some of these programs. If not, many companies offer free tutorials and how-to guides on their website. Keep in mind that every company uses a different mix of tools to complete tasks and projects. As long as you’re open to learning and use your free time to hone your skills, making a career transition to remote work will be just fine in the technical space.
Home Office Considerations
When you decided to begin your voyage from the cubicle to a home office, you probably didn’t consider what exactly you needed for a successful home office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have been forced to create makeshift offices anywhere they had some extra room. But if you’re making a career transition to work remotely and know well ahead of time, you can take into account a few home office considerations.
If possible, create your best home office in a dedicated room. Make sure to have a desk that gives you enough room to maneuver, as well as see your computer monitor at eye level. This may require a lift for your computer or a bit of feng shui, but the more organized and useful your desk is, the better your productivity.
You may also want to add a plant to your office as well. Having a plant in your home office has been linked to improved productivity, cleaner air, and a boost in creativity. Picking a low-maintenance plant such as a spider plant or a cactus can take the guesswork out of the situation if you don’t have a green thumb.
The proverbial icing on the cake is an ergonomic desk chair. You don’t have to spend $1,000 to get the back support you need for long periods of sitting. But a minor splurge will keep your posture and comfort at higher levels.
Dealing With Distraction at Your Remote Job
The location of your home office plays a pivotal role in your level of distraction. Even if bright light and windows provide a productive atmosphere, it’s a zero-sum-total if you’re instantly distracted by anything outside. Therefore, the proper placement of your office to minimize distraction and improve productivity is essential.
In addition, you need to have a strict schedule to help eliminate distractions. If your kids or spouse are at home, lay down some ground rules as to when they can bother you. These rules should apply to any other distractions so you aren’t tempted to leave the office during your “office hours.”
Regardless of your reasons for making a career transition to work remotely, the decision to follow through can make a world of difference. From self-improvement to happiness to more family time, virtual work can enhance every aspect of your life. If you’re willing to take the plunge, remote life might just be the career change you’ve been searching for.
iStock Image: lechatnoir
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