What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You about Remote Working

Remote Working Home Office

We can’t lie. We all use Wiki­pedia… some­times even when we shouldn’t. It can be an inte­res­ting read (even if it can more than occa­sio­nally be less than accu­rate). It can provide links to repu­table sources (that were probably quoted out of context). It can give you a (partial) view of the subject that you are researching.

On Wiki­pedia, remote working is listed as tele­com­mu­ting. When you go there, you’ll notice that at least they are upfront in stating that the infor­ma­tion on the page doesn’t neces­s­a­rily repre­sent a world­wide perspec­tive. It even tells you where you can go to add your opinion on remote working.

The infor­ma­tion presented covers a wide variety of infor­ma­tion such as the defi­ni­tion of the word, charac­te­ristics of remote workers (or, in this case, tele­com­muters), work theo­ries, the poten­tial bene­fits, the poten­tial draw­backs, current trends among remote working, and related terms. So, as you can see – you’ll certainly learn quite a bit of basic infor­ma­tion about remote working.

However, there is a lot that Wiki­pedia can’t tell you about remote working so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you the complete picture. Why? We are doing this because we want you to be successful as a remote worker.

It Doesn’t Take Complicated Technology

The Wiki­pedia article states that since the rise of tech­no­logy (and the ease at which many of us are able to attain any tech­no­lo­gical wonder), that more people are able to work remo­tely instead of working from a tradi­tional office. This is certainly true. However, the article also mentions several more compli­cated options for tech­no­logy such as using a LAN or a VPN. Sure, those are certainly options, but it doesn’t take compli­cated tech­no­logy to work from a remote location.

Although the tech­no­lo­gical neces­si­ties will vary from employer to employer, there are only a few basics that you truly need to at least embrace the possibly of remote working:

  • You need a reliable Internet connec­tion. Get the best connec­tion that you can afford. If you are going to work on a remote basis, you need your own Internet. Going to the library or always working from a café won’t cut it. How fast of a connec­tion you will need prima­rily depends on two factors: what you will do and the speeds available in your area.
  • You need a computer of some type. It doesn’t really matter if you use a laptop or a desktop. It just needs to be fast enough to faci­li­tate your work.
  • You need the right tech­no­logy to work with others at a distance. The great news here is that many are available for down­load and are either free or cost very little for you to use. If you will be a full time employee for a corpo­ra­tion, discuss whether they are willing to reim­burse you for any money you must invest in obtai­ning the programs they need you to use. Programs like Mikogo are easy to install and use, and even come with a free accountwith all the basics included. It makes commu­ni­ca­ting with a team fast and easy.

Characteristics of a Remote Worker

The Wiki­pedia article also discusses the charac­te­ristics of a remote worker. Regard­less of how well you match the charac­te­ristics of the ideal remote worker, you should know that working from an alter­nate loca­tion is not for ever­yone. We would all like to think that we can self-manage, but that’s much harder than you think. There’s abso­lutely no shame involved in admit­ting that you need to physi­cally be inside of an office in order to be productive.

That’s the other draw­back: produc­tion. This is parti­cu­larly important if you have a tradi­tional employer. You will have to work at least twice as hard as your office-bound cowor­kers in order to show that you are truly being produc­tive. Of course, for many people that is a price that they are certainly willing to pay for the chance to work outside of the office.

Remote Working Isn’t Always Glamorous

It doesn’t really matter if you start off loving the idea and imple­men­ta­tion of remote working. It doesn’t really matter if you match every charac­te­ristic of the ideal remote worker. Here’s the truth: there will be days where you no longer enjoy it. You’ll get distracted. You’ll wish you still worked in an office. You’ll wonder what adult inter­ac­tion is and why so many workers seem to enjoy it. You may find yourself feeling envious of part­ners or friends who complain about some small bit of office drama.

Office Party

It’s important that you do not work yourself into a rut. You must learn how to properly balance your work with your life. Yes, you do have to work a little bit more to leave the impres­sion that you want. However, you also need to make sure that you get out of the house and do some­thing that is not related to finding a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi.

Online Communication Can Be Hard

Making sure that you’re on the same page with your colle­agues or super­visor isn’t the same as sending a quick email to your mother. Your mother loves you and she will most likely not read into what you’ve said or add a tone to your email that is less than flat­te­ring. Colle­agues, clients, and employers are all human. They don’t neces­s­a­rily care that you were up all night due to a never-ending cough . They have a project that was entrusted to you – and they want results. Since they are human, they also have bad days. A fight with a spouse or other beloved person can have someone reading into comm­ents and thin­king, “What’s that supposed to mean?!” when you really didn’t mean anything nega­tive. So, it’s important that you write emails that are highly profes­sional, clear, and concise.

Also, when in doubt you should do one of two things: pick up the phone and call the other person (or people). Clari­fying some­thing through a quick phone conver­sa­tion can save you (and the other side) a lot of poten­tial issues. Your other option is to sche­dule a quick online meeting. Getting toge­ther online where you can all discuss and plan the project can also elimi­nate poten­tial misun­derstan­dings that can happen through email.

Wiki­pedia is great. However, it simply can’t account for anything more than the basics that many remote workers expe­ri­ence to some degree. So, keep in mind that being a remote worker is more than a broad list found on the Internet. Take that infor­ma­tion to hear, but also talk to those with expe­ri­ence as a remote worker.

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