I’M A REMOTE WORKER, AND THIS IS WHAT I’VE LEARNT.
You can imagine my joy exactly 10 weeks after landing my new job when the organisation I worked for went remote. I was ecstatic. The idea of working from the comfort of my bed was too good to be true. I was more than ready to join the bandwagon.
All this excitement would soon die down. Once we settled into remote working and the ball was set rolling, it was no longer fun and games. The projects kept coming in and boy did we work our asses off to ensure that we were not only keeping busy but being productive at the same time. During the last quarter of 2020, my organisation decided to close down our physical office, we were officially a remote working non-profit organisation. The first of its kind in East and Central Africa if I do so say myself.
These are the few lessons that I have leant since working from home.
1.WHERE MOTIVATION ENDS, DISCIPLINE PREVAILS.
Coming from a 9–5 job with a supervisor who was and sometimes till is on my neck, working remotely was a relief. I did not have to interact with co-workers on a day to day basis and at the same time, I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The downside of this was that the quality of my work fizzled. Too much of something is poisonous they say and the amount of freedom I had garnered had gotten into my head. It took time and dedication for me to go back to my work. I had to hold my self accountable for the mundane things as my work is in details. I had to relearn discipline and In the pop culture lingo, I had to learn how to show up. This lack of motivation was caused by comfort, hence the quote, where motivation ends, discipline prevails. It's not easy, but I’m taking it a day at a time.
2.BURN OUT IS REAL.
I was introduced to the concept of burn out by Ariana Huffington of the Huffpost who is the primary advocate of rest and sleep. Even after reading on the topic the concept of proper fatigue and to an extreme extent burn out was still foreign for me. It was only after I started working from home that I would be affected personally by this. Burn out is real. Remote working has a number of advantages but the most common one is overworking which is an irony, that is mainly because we spend so much time trying to finish this or that. Even though we are at home, we really do not get to rest and this is exactly what happened to me and my colleagues. We got fatigued and still pushed on and in the end, burn out was inevitable. So take your leave days, for you earned them.
3.DRAW YOUR BOUNDARIES.
I’m pretty sure that I've mentioned on this platform my line of work. I’m an Executive Assistant meaning that a large portion of my work entails dealing or managing my superiors life or chunk of it. Personal Assistants as the name suggests involves a very close-knit type of working relationship. One that might necessitate a late call or two. I have learnt to draw my boundaries and so should you. I only accept calls up to a certain time and at the same time, being a Gen Zer I have tried to push for more texts and fewer calls. Boundaries will either work in your favour or fail you miserable. Have them and uphold them, Remember that there's more to life than that deadline or the unfinished project on your desk.
4.POUR IN YOUR CUP.
Remote working offers a better work-life balance from the traditional 8–5. There is a lot of time that is saved on the commute, please utilise this time well. Pour into your self be it a hobby or a skill sharpen them for you do not know when this will end. Remember everything in life is fleeting.
5.WORK CULTURE CANNOT BE SUBSTITUTED.
My organisation had the best office culture that I had ever experienced. We ate lunch together daily and it is during this period that we did get to bond. We would trade stories about our childhood and engage in interesting debates about life. Remote working takes such minute but important aspects from you. Nothing can substitute this not the gazillion zoom calls that we hold. Human interaction is essential, it aids in growth and the formation of relationships and at the same time alienates loneliness which can creep up real fast for anyone working remotely.
6.ASK FOR HELP.
Unlike in a conventional relationship where I’d tap my colleague and ask for help remote working does not afford me this luxury. I have to call or text a co-worker who is a few miles away. The disadvantage is that they might not see my text or worse still ignore my call. Remote working may bring about an I have to do and know it all feeling. Please ask for help for no man knows it all.
I don't know for how long I will continue to work from home but at the moment I cannot complain. I’m taking it a day at a time for I know it gets better.
Oh and don't forget to say NO when you feel like it, for human beings are known to push limits