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Four Lessons I've Learned from Working Remotely

Kari Hamilton

My office is at my house, my car, whatever hotel room I’m currently staying in, an airport or my personal favorite, the hotel pool!!

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When I started my public relations career as an intern at this very company, I would’ve never dreamed that I wouldn’t be working in a traditional office setting after graduation. In fact, my life was very scheduled. I was going to graduate and land a job in a traditional office surrounded by the greatest coworkers. Two years later, I do have the greatest coworkers, but I don’t see them every day and my office is anything but traditional. My life took a different path. I married the man of my dreams and we ventured off to follow his railroad career to Kansas City. When Razonia called and asked if I wanted to head up her social media accounts from the Midwest, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s been great, but there’s been a learning curve. Here’s what I’ve learned in the past two months.

  • Approach Remote Work Like You are Going to an Actual Office: It’s tempting to grab your laptop and a cup of coffee and curl up in bed and try to work. This is a trap. I promise. You are NOT going to get anything accomplished. Get up, get dressed and find somewhere you can be productive. My home office works for me, but if there are too many distractions at home, grab your laptop and head to a quiet location!
  • Understand Your Temptations: I’ll be honest. I have two big temptations. The first is my cell phone and the second is procrastination. Yep. This is a DEADLY combination. When you are in an office setting, there is accountability keeping you on track. Nobody wants their boss walking in on them sending some silly Snapchat. When you work remotely, those factors aren’t there. Learn to set limits and practice self-discipline…you still have a job to do.
  • Communicate. Communicate. Communicate: By now, we’ve all figured you that aren’t working in the office, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to not know what is going on in the office. Remember, your boss has multiple other employees and numerous clients they are trying to manage. He or she is also a human and may not remember to fill you in on everything that is going on in the office. It is your job to check in with either your boss or your coworkers periodically to make sure you are up to speed on everything that is going on.
  • Be Upfront and Honest: It doesn’t matter how awesome you are or how many superpowers you have, you will run into situations where you cannot handle everything on your plate. In an office environment, it’s easy to run over to your coworker’s office or cubby and ask for some help finishing up a project. The biggest problem I had when I started this position was asking for help. I didn’t always know what everyone else had on their plates and I didn’t want to be a burden by asking for help. I got in over my head. The quality of my work suffered. The client was the one ultimately hurt. When I finally admitted that I needed help, my coworkers were happy to help and the operation ran more smoothly.

I get, “I wish had your job” daily. And yes, my job is great! However, it’s not always content creation by the pool. There are days I hardly get the chance to look up from laptop even though I’m on my way across beautiful country I’ve never seen, but by learning these four lessons, I’ve really learned to maximize my time and enjoy the ride.