The 8 Lessons I’ve Learned From Working Remotely For Most Of My Professional Career

working remotely


Working remotely takes a certain kind of person to make it successful. I’m not saying that because I’ve done it for the majority of my professional career, but because, when I tell people that I’ve worked from home for as long as I have, they’re amazed at how I can do it without problems. You see, most people think that working remotely is too difficult to handle because of distractions. There’s the TV. There’s laundry scattered all around your bedroom. There are dishes piling up in the sink. There’s the familiarity of your apartment and no one pushing you to get your work done; it’s all self-discipline.

In the past, I was naive in thinking that everyone could be successful at working remotely. After all, you get to balance your time and be more efficient — if you do it right. But you need to know some tricks in order to do that. Knowing what programs to use to collaborate with people helps, like cloud storage systems to share files and important documents easily, while also understanding how to communicate without spending all day on Slack.

According to a 2018 report from, 3.9 million Americans, or 2.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce, work remotely at least half of the time, which is up 115 percent since 2005. So, for those who have thought about bouncing from the office and getting themselves in an environment where they’re working remotely, take a look below, because I’m sharing the eight most important lessons from my time doing it. Now get out of your cubicle and find yourself a more comfortable space to get work done.

Set Your Hours

One of the most critical things about working remotely is understanding that, you know, you’re actually going to a job — even if on certain days that means working in your boxers from the couch. That’s why it’s important to set your work hours and try to stick to them as much as possible. Like most things in life, you’ll be most productive when you have a routine and a regular plan, so it’s best to get out of bed and be in front of your computer before 10 a.m. no matter what. This ensures you to be on the same schedule as everyone else and not feel rushed with your work.

But Don’t Feel Guilty About Always Sticking To Them

That said, don’t be afraid to mix in a “cheat day” every once in awhile. Remember, the beauty of working remotely is flexibility, so if there’s a random day in January that happens to be sunny and 60 degrees, you should have no qualms about getting up and going for a run outside before work — even if that means starting after that 10 a.m. threshold. You need to mix things up sometimes, right?

Find The Best Spot For You To Work From

While working remotely, there’s a good chance that most people will just want to stay in the comfort of their own homes and knock stuff out at their kitchen table. If that’s what works best for you, have at it. Personally, I try to mix it up everyday, working from my apartment from about 8 a.m. till 11 a.m. or so, then eat a quick bite and get ready before heading to a coffee shop by 11:45 a.m. This gives me peace of mind so I’m not rushed each morning. Remember, when working remotely, you’re not physically required to be anywhere, just as long as the work gets done.

Communicate With Co-Workers More Efficiently

Go ahead and admit it, guys, there’s a hell of a lot of office drama that happens all the time with your co-workers, with Monday’s typically recapping what happened over the weekend, and Friday’s spent gossiping about what the next couple days away from work has in store. That’s great and all, but it can be cliquey and, more importantly, be cutting into actual work getting done. When you work remote, you find that talking to co-workers is more efficient, with communication coming when it has to, not whenever you feel like it. That’s important for productivity.

Move Around A Little Bit

Working remotely means you can literally be anywhere you want to, guys, so take advantage of that perk by treating yourself whenever necessary. Yes, calculating a monthly budget is important so you don’t live paycheck to paycheck, but when you have the ability to hop on a plane and work from a warm destination during the winter months, or take a pseudo vacation by visiting friends and working from their spot, you should do it. Just as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work.

Keep Your Tabs And Files Organized

Unlike when in an office where you have a desk to store things on, working remotely requires you to be super organized so you’ve got everything in its proper place. That means knowing where your notes are from the meeting yesterday, but also understanding how to access important files and documents electronically, too. Rather than have things scattered all over your computer’s desktop or desk at home, your best bet is to use cloud storage, which allows you to have all the documents and info you need no matter where you are. Yep, even if you’re on the beach and something sudden comes up that you need to respond to, you won’t have stress because everything you need is right there at your fingertips thanks to the cloud.

Put The Phone Down (And Out Of Sight)

If you didn’t know by now, cell phones are really distracting. As someone who has effectively worked remotely for almost a decade now, I’ll tell you something really important: Put yours down, put it in your pocket, and avoid checking it unless you hear a notification. That can be difficult for some people, but when you don’t have a boss or co-worker around to monitor your mobile usage, it can be easy to find yourself skimming social media or reading on your phone for way too long.

Don’t Forget About Work-Life Balance

Burnout and work stress are both real things, guys, and as someone who can admit that I’ve experienced it at previous jobs because of my workaholism, it’s something that you should try to avoid at all costs. When working remotely, it’s easy to fill time with work since you’re literally in your office all the time — assuming you’re working from your apartment or home. But just because you don’t go into an office everyday doesn’t mean you need to take care of yourself any less. This means getting outside during lunch hours, or going for a 20-minute walk between eating lunch and moving to a coffee shop. These tiny breaks may not feel like much, but they go a long way in helping your overall psyche.

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.