Remote work has been gaining popularity since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, and many people have come to witness firsthand the benefits it offers. To be sure, there have been some complaints too, notably those related to poor time-management.
Needless to say, once you realize that remote work is all about self-discipline, you’ll be able to enjoy its full potential. Plus, you can work from home – enjoying your independence and avoiding the factors related to some jobs.
On the other hand, there has also been an increase in digital nomads. These people who travel the world and work from whenever have shown the world that the ideal lifestyle isn’t unreachable. After all, the greatest benefit of remote work is the access to the global market. Why not choose your projects, for once, and enjoy your life outside of work?
However, remote workers need to be highly disciplined and good planners, especially if they plan to work and travel. Not many people are engaged in long-term work for a single employer. In fact, the great majority of remote workers rely on recurring clients for stable income.
Beginners yet have to acquire recurring clients, obviously. That’s why they should learn how to market their skills and appreciate the art of negotiation. Even if you are a pro negotiator but have never worked remotely before, you’ll need to learn the ropes of online communication, which is considerably more difficult because the first impression is based on your written skills.
Let’s see how everyone can work from home (or from anywhere else) long-term while providing sufficient income and living the desired lifestyle.
1. Getting Started: Finding Jobs
As mentioned above, employers come from all corners of the globe, meaning the competition can be fierce. For example, when you’re applying for a job in the neighborhood, usually you have to compete against the locals. When it comes to remote work, competition is far fiercer.
Now, it’s important to distinguish between different types of employers. Some of them look for cheap workforce from poorer countries while others are more than willing to pay high wages to professionals. You should look for the latter.
Because there’s a huge influx of workers from poorer countries who can make more money online than in their respective countries, the rates tend to keep getting lower. However, there will always be serious businesses looking for quality work. After all, they know that it is cheaper to pay skilled workers who will stay with them long-term than to waste money on unqualified workforce who never get the job done.
Depending on your expertise, you can look up specialized jobs on various platforms. If you still need to complete your education, general platforms will help you get started. However, if you’re a weathered professional, global marketplaces like Freelancer and Upwork may not be for you. Rather, look for specialized platforms with highly specialized offers.
2. Discipline and Time-Management
Self-discipline and time-management are the skills everyone needs, but for remote workers, it is essential. While some people can afford to take time to learn their limits, remote workers need to be professional and highly efficient from day one.
The majority of people who have just started working from home complain of poor concentration. It is only understandable, especially if you have three small kids running around the house. However, common sense dictates that your workplace should be dedicated. If you are planning to work from the kitchen, you won’t get far.
Make a home office that’s off limits to the rest of your family during your working hours. It can be any isolated spot in the house. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get in the right mindset. The moment you enter your improvised office, you’ll enter the work mode.
This is the first step to mastering discipline. Remote work doesn’t differ that much from office work, after all. Tasks still need to be done, and deadlines need to be respected.
The next step to learn is to not waste time browsing your social media newsfeed, checking incoming emails through your email client every two seconds and browsing the internet because you’ve got your freedom. Prioritize tasks, allocate sufficient time for each of them, and schedule regular breaks. It takes only a couple of days to get the hang of things, so you only need to get started.
3. Learn to Say No
Many people fear losing their jobs. That’s why they keep quiet even when they’re not satisfied. The good news is that when you’re working remotely, you have the benefit of finding a better option any minute, so you need to change your “scaredy-cat” mindset ASAP.
Because some employers hope to underpay their contractors, they’ll be looking for a cheap workforce. We know, it can be hard to resist your first few jobs – regardless of the pay. Still, once you get the hang of the platforms, rates, offers and competition, you will certainly be able to find an offer that best suits you.
So, learn to say no. Even if you need money urgently, still you shouldn’t go below your rate. Research average rates for the type of work you do and set the minimum you won’t go below. Be realistic when doing it; the best way to go about this is by comparing the rates of your competitors.
4. Keep Learning
When competing against applicants from the whole world, it is crucial to remain competitive, even more than in the traditional office setting. You should remember that skilled professionals will always be in demand.
You should also learn that remote workers absolutely must broaden their scope of interest and become tech-savvy (if they already aren’t). Begin with familiarizing yourself with the most popular online tools and apps for remote workers, notably task management and communication tools (presently, popular choices include Trello, Asana, Skype and Line, but keep in mind that the list changes all the time with new options).
Further out, online education is nowadays common practice. Many universities and schools offer online continual education available to applicants from around the globe. This is one of the greatest benefits of the “virtual era” and one of the best chances for remote workers to get ahead of the competition.
Remote workers have more time than office workers. No matter how much you work, you still won’t waste time commuting, getting daily tasks done after work, running to pick up your kids from school, and fitting any upcoming task in between your busy work schedule.
This means that you can well-allocate some time for learning. Pick a course or program that will help you acquire useful skills or polish the existing ones. An immediately obvious benefit is that when you’re in your work mode, you can easily switch to the study mode, seeing as you don’t need to interrupt your concentration – you only need to switch to another tab.
Remote work can be both highly beneficial and highly enjoyable, but remember to experiment. Because the global market has something to offer to everyone, people just starting out often find themselves overwhelmed by the offer and blunder around.
Feel the pulse of the market before setting on a single approach. Do you want to work for one employer long-term? Are you interested in fixed working hours? Are you interested in a full-time job or two part-time jobs? Are you better suited to gig work?
Remote work offers all of these options, meaning that you should be able to customize your work just as you want it long-term. If uncertain which would suit you best, try different options. One of the greatest benefits of remote work is that you can change your mind – anytime!