infoTECH Feature

August 08, 2017

How to Excel as a Remote IT Worker

As remote working becomes more practical, a lot of IT professionals are discovering that it’s lucrative to travel around and visit clients on-site. However, if you’re going to do this, you have to make sure it’s worthwhile for you.

The Rise of Remote IT Work

Remote work setups are becoming popular in just about every industry imaginable. Naturally, technology roles are frequently handled in remote capacities. According to one study, 57 percent of employees in computer/information systems spent at least some of their time working remotely in 2016. The amount of time these workers spend working remotely this year is expected to rise dramatically.

While advancements in technology have made remote IT work more practical, it goes far beyond convenience. There’s considerable value in it for all parties involved.

“Remote work isn’t just convenient for both employers and employees, but studies have shown that it’s also more effective,” notes Shannon Vize, a digital strategist for Mondo. “According to Gallup’s report, employees across various industries who spent 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely had the highest rates of engagement. As execs become more comfortable with the idea that work is fluid and can happen anywhere at any time, they come to realize that simply having a body to fill a seat for the sake of doing so is no longer worth the expense, nor is it effective in accomplishing goals.”

6 Tips for Being a Successful Remote Worker

The increasing popularity of remote work in the tech industries is great, but what does it look like for remote workers who are on the road all of the time? How do you remain productive, efficient, and profitable when you’re always on the move? Here are a few handy tips:

1. Purchase the Right Vehicle

While you may occasionally fly, chances are that most of your clients are regional. This means you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car. And whether you work for yourself and have to pay for all of your expenses, or your employer reimburses you per mile, you can save a tremendous amount of money by owning a fuel-efficient vehicle.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the three cars with the best gas mileage this year are: the Hyundai Ioniq (57 city, 59 highway), the Toyota Prius Prime (55 city, 53 highway), and the Toyota Prius (58 city, 53 highway).

Can’t afford a new vehicle? So long as you can get a competitive car loan, you could come out on top by financing a fuel-efficient vehicle and enjoying the savings.

2. Create a Schedule

You need a schedule when you’re on the road. If you’re simply waking up, heading to the project site in the morning, and then returning to the hotel in the evening, you’re going to burn out fast.

Try to bring some normalcy, balance, and consistency to your schedule. For example, you might wake up, exercise in the hotel gym, grab breakfast, spend some time showering and getting ready, go to work, read a book at lunch, go for a jog after work, enjoy dinner and a drink, watch TV, and go to bed. A routine like this will help you feel balanced, no matter where you are.

3. Know How to Pack

The last thing you want is to be weighed down while you’re on the road. The more stuff you bring with you, the more cumbersome the travel process becomes. Ideally, you should have one small suitcase and a briefcase for work. Fitting everything into two bags will allow you to worry less about keeping up with stuff and focus more on what you’re supposed to be doing.

Living out of a suitcase can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be painful. One of the biggest keys is to make sure everything you pack goes together. In other words, each piece should be interchangeable. This saves space and gives you more choices.

4. Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

If you’re on the road a lot, you probably spend a lot of time in hotels. (Airbnb rentals are popular in some instances, but you can’t beat the amenities that hotels provide). One of the smartest things you can do is sign up for loyalty programs so that you get rewarded for your stays. You can do some research on the best hotel rewards programs, but the top ones are widely considered to be Wyndham Rewards, Choice Privileges, and Marriot Rewards.

5. Use the Right Apps for Staying in Touch

One of the biggest pain points of remote work is communication. How well you stay in touch with your employer and/or business partners while out of the office will determine the extent of your success.

“Consistent communication is crucial to leading a remote team effectively. Creating a clear communication schedule and setting aside face-to-face time via video calls help keep the team connected, collaborating, and on schedule,” Vize believes. “Additionally, trust and remote work go hand in hand.”

If you want to maintain trust and optimize efficiency, be sure you’re using the right apps for staying in touch. Some of the top apps include Evernote (News - Alert), Slack, and Yammer.

6. Give Yourself a Break

The final tip is to just give yourself a break every now and then. You need to be home occasionally and should never spend more than a few weeks on the road at a time without taking a little time for yourself. A failure to recognize the importance of rest will come back to bite you.

Go the Extra Mile

Whether you work for yourself and have your own clients or you’re employed by a large company and travel to see customers, you have to make your time on the road worth it. Sulking about the fact that you’re away from family or wishing you were back home in the office won’t do you any good. Your goal should be to provide your clients with as much value as you possibly can. The personal touch you provide by visiting in person will only elevate your status and provide you with more opportunities. Don’t miss this chance. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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