There are lots of advantages to working remotely or flexibly and people that do this have stated that it has changed their lives. However, working in these ways does have its challenges and those considering this route need to ensure that they are doing it well. Here we consider what a remote, mobile or flexible worker needs to do to perform their role effectively and efficiently.
Define your workspace
If possible, set aside a specific area that is dedicated to just your work. Even if it is just a desk in the corner of a room in your house, by having a set space where all your work documents can remain will help you work more effectively than if you are having to pack away your papers when you are not working. It will help motivate you since you will know that when you are at your desk you are there to work and you will be less distracted by other things happening around you. Try where possible to reduce distractions that you would not have in an office. Don’t have the television or radio on and try and avoid browsing the internet for non-work matters. Ignore phone calls unless they are work related. If you are working from home there are likely to be chores that need doing but ignore these until you take a scheduled break.
Get your tools
A big difference when you are not employed but working freelance or remotely can be that you have to provide your own equipment (computer or laptop, mobile, internet connection as well as relevant stationary). Making sure you have all of this ready and at your disposal means that you will appear professional but also can work effectively even though you are not office-based.
Set a schedule
Working remotely and flexibly means that you need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined. Setting a schedule (both a general weekly plan as well as a daily one) can help you ensure that you are sticking to your deadlines and working effectively. Particularly where you are working on multiple projects or with different clients, it is important to prioritise and schedule to ensure work is done in a logical order. Make sure you schedule breaks into your day since it can be easy to become engrossed in some work and lose track of time. Stopping regularly (every couple of hours for about 15 minutes) helps keep you focused and energised. Think about when you work best and organise your work accordingly. It may be that you do any complicated work in the morning when you are freshest and leave the less mentally challenging work to later in the day when you may be less alert. If you have family commitments your best hours may be early morning and late evening. Structure your day in a way that allows you to work at your best. It is also best to determine when your day will start and end (even if it is not a typical 9-5 day). By sticking to set times will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Don’t fly solo all the time
It is important to keep up contact with colleagues or others in the same field. Those that isolate themselves completely will generally not work to the best of their abilities. It is natural to bounce your ideas off others and learn from their experiences. Scott-Moncrieff actively encourages their freelance lawyers to visit our offices or meet other freelancers at regular meetings or social events and parties. Arrange to catch up with colleagues over the phone- this can be helpful where someone is missing the general chatter that you would get in an office environment.
How Scott-Moncrieff can assist you