Overcoming the stigma of ‘working from home’

For many PR pros, working from home is becoming less of a perk and more of a norm. If you’re among the many telecommuters struggling to keep up, heed this advice.

Many organizations are embracing remote work options for their employees.

Nearly 60 percent of teleworkers worldwide said they would leave their existing jobs for a similar job if they could work from home. Sixty-eight percent of millennials entering the workforce said an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in a position.

Telecommuting isn’t a walk in the park, though. Workers still face challenges when working outside of a traditional office.

Here are three common telecommuting challenges and how to overcome them:

1. Proving your productivity

Arestia Rosenberg is a freelance creative director, writer and content strategist. As a remote professional, it’s been difficult for her clients to understand her productivity, although she says she feels even more creative when working remotely.

To combat the issue, Rosenberg stays in constant communication with clients—regardless of their time zone.

She adds:

I always make sure to be available every day to my clients, regardless of time zones. I stay in constant contact with clients via email and write about my experiences on Medium and LinkedIn to continue exposure.

2. Staying focused

Matt Aunger, a longtime remote freelancer, recently made the jump into full-time remote work as a marketing engineer for a European startup.

Matt said his biggest challenge is maintaining focus.

“My attention is naturally drawn to new, exciting ideas, and I can often stray down a rabbit hole,” he says. “So, staying focused on the task at hand has been a huge learning curve for me.”

He attributes that shift to being in charge of his own time and being easily distracted.

His solution?

Following the rules of “How to be Idle” by Tom Hodgkinson.

“It completely changed the approach I was taking to life,”Aunger adds. “The most effective idea in the book for me was allocating the minimum amount of time to tasks and setting realistic deadlines.”

3. Ending your day

Petr Pinkas is in customer success at Feedly. His biggest challenge is working too much, especially when he’s working across multiple time zones.

Here’s more:

I find myself working 12 hours sometimes because there is no clock or colleagues around. I’m getting better with the schedule now. I tend to split my workday into blocks to accommodate multiple time zones.

Remote workers can overcome these challenges by using online tools and reinventing their habits. Here’s insight:

  • Proving your productivity: Try incorporating collaborative platforms such as Slack, Trello or Google Drive into your day. Those tools can offer transparency about your work activity.
  • Staying focused: View your day in terms of goals, not hours. To better track your time, use apps such as Harvest and Focus Booster. You can also try starting the day with a 5 Minute Journal entry. Check your list throughout the day to make sure you’re on track.
  • Ending your day: Stick to a schedule that covers the time zones of your clients. Try working in shorter blocks of time, instead of one eight-hour stretch. Use an email scheduling tool such as Boomerang to help you communicate.

What challenges have you faced when working remotely, Ragan readers?

Jacqueline Jensen is the Community Evangelist at Piktochart. A version of this article first appeared on Spin Sucks.

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