Advice for Newcomers to Remote Work: Lessons Learned

Advice for Newcomers to Remote Work: Lessons Learned

“What did you do today?” asked my aunt. “Take a nap? Watch TV?”

“You know, I work a real job, Auntie? They pay me and everything.”

Making some of my family and friends understand what I actually do from home is tough. If it is a family member I don’t really like, I sometimes respond, “I work — probably harder than you.” In all seriousness, over time, you learn to roll with it. In 2020, more people are accustomed to the concept of remote work than ever before, so the conversations have become easier, even with family and friends.

With the latest coronavirus strain (COVID-19) becoming widespread, many companies and people are looking at remote work options. I am not sure if the world is ready, but it is a part of our new reality. Those of us within the WordPress community can lead the charge by sharing our experiences and advice.

I am in my twelfth year of working from home. It is hard to believe that there was ever a time when I went into an office or commuted to a watermelon field in the middle of an Alabama summer. I was the first person in my family to work from home. Now I have siblings who do much of their work remotely, a nephew who is using the internet to jump-start his career before leaving high school, and a cousin who is “exploring some options” (he really just doesn’t like wearing shoes). Still, the overwhelming majority of the people I know are required to work in a physical location. For many, working from home is not an option. However, others are now facing a wild swing in how they will work for the next few weeks, months, and perhaps beyond.

What follows is my advice for newcomers to remote work. I have spent nearly my entire professional career behind a laptop at home and have had to learn some important lessons the hard way.

Before diving in, my top tip is to get a comfortable chair and work from the front porch if possible. Enjoy nature. Watch the birds. Breathe fresh air. Don’t trade one stuffy office for another.

Organization and Structure

I have worked remotely ever since I returned home from a teaching stint in South Korea. I had spent a over a year teaching English as a second language, mostly to kids who would have rather been out playing. Teaching is tough work. You enjoy imparting knowledge upon young minds. However, you must be part caregiver; part administrator; and part judge, jury, and detention-giver for the kid cussing you out in a foreign language (tip: always learn the bad words when teaching in another country). At the end of the day, you are exhausted, but you get up the next morning because you’re passionate about what you are doing.

For me, one of the best parts of going to the office was the structure. To that point, I had spent my entire life within rigidly-defined systems. From age 5 to 23, I was in school. Nearly everything I did or anywhere I went was decided by someone else, whether that was my parents, teachers, coaches, or boss at a

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This article was written by Justin Tadlock and originally published on WordPress Tavern.

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