9 Must-Have Requirements for Working Remotely
So you've decided to build out a remote working arsenal, complete with everything you need to work wherever life takes you.
The freedom that comes with being wholly untied to a physical location is both liberating and challenging, as it requires you to be resourceful at all times, choosing only the most useful and reliable equipment and productivity tools.
To get the most out of your life as a “Digital Nomad“, here are the top nine must-have requirements for working remotely.
Keep in mind that not all of these items are physical implements or goods you can rush out and buy from your local retail store.
Instead, this list represents the essentials for just about any remote working position, whether that's freelance computer programming, virtual office administration, or something else entirely.
1 – A proper dress code
You may not think that a dress code is even a requirement at all for working remotely, but the truth is that when you have a disciplined approach to your presentation – even when it's just you whom you're presenting yourself to – you're going to perform better.
I'm not suggesting that you don a full suit and tie before sitting down with your coffee and going to work.
However, maintain at least a basic personal hygiene regimen and dress in a way that would make you presentable if you were suddenly approached by a client.
The reason you should have a proper dress code is two-fold: first, it puts you in the mindset for working.
If you're sitting around in your sweatpants and a t-shirt all day, your body is going to naturally think that there aren't any demands to rise to.
There's going to be less motivation to accomplish critical tasks because you're dressed like you're ready to go to bed.
The second reason why you need a necessary dress code when working remotely is that you never know what is going to happen to you in the course of the day.
You could get a Skype video call or a knock at the door, either of them possibly related to your business.
Why not be as prepared as possible for whatever the day brings?
2 – The most comfortable chair you can find
If you're going to be sitting in a chair for 8-10 hours out of the day, then you're going to want to have a chair that supports your back, providers ample comfort for extended sitting sessions, and doesn't impede you from performing at your best.
Many remote workers travel from location to location, so it may not be feasible to invest in a high-quality office chair.
For these people, it's still a good idea to obtain a few select memory foam cushions that can be easily packed and taken along to wherever the ‘office' is going to be.
It's already been established that too much sitting can be potentially hazardous to your health – even deadly, in extreme cases.
To help thwart the necessary evils that can come with sitting down to work for long hours, don't neglect your posture, and spend the extra money to ensure that you're sitting well.
3 – A schedule
One of the most common mistakes made my remote workers is not keeping a routine schedule that is followed every day.
This goes in line with the dress code, as keeping a work schedule helps to give structure and form to your workday.
If there are no bookends to when you start and stop your working, then you'll have no indication that it's time to begin (or to quit).
This is a recipe for disaster, as you'll likely start missing deadlines and falling behind on projects.
To get the most productivity from the resources you have at your disposal, designate a time to begin work, a time to take lunch or tea, and a time to stop working.
These times may shift somewhat as the dynamics of work dictate, but having a general expectation for yourself will go a long way in ensuring that you're keeping on top of your commitments and not suffering from work burnout.
Here's another benefit to keeping a schedule: you can tell your customers when you're available so that they know precisely when they can get in touch with you.
This makes you accountable both to your clients and to yourself.
4 – A high-quality phone headset
Thanks to the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), landline-based telephone connections are fast becoming a thing of the past.
Even still, voice communication remains a necessity in the modern business world.
If you're a remote worker, you're probably going to find yourself on quite a few phone calls throughout the day, whether they be with your boss, customers, suppliers, or business partners.
Investing in a good headset will yield benefits in multiple areas of your work.
First, it will make verbal communication better, as higher quality headsets tend to have better microphones.
When you're heard well on a voice conversation or in a conference call, there will be fewer requests for you to repeat yourself, and productivity will improve.
Also, a great headset will be more comfortable than having to hold your cell physically next to your cheek.
The enhanced comfort will give you more stamina for those long phone calls that drag on well into the afternoon.
5 – A reliable, high-speed internet connection
This should go without saying, but you might be surprised to learn how many remote workers don't consider their internet connection a priority.
It's not until connectivity issues spring up that most remote workers realise that they need to improve the way that they get online.
Don't let this happen to you.
Instead, shop around for the most dependable internet service provider in your area, and don't flinch at higher prices if they get you better service.
Your business will thrive in the long run, as you'll be spending less time chasing down connection problems and wasting hours of your time doing basic internet troubleshooting tasks.
Also, don't think that you need to have the absolute fastest internet speeds available.
For most remote workers who operate independently, internet speeds of 1-5 megabits-per-second (Mbps) are more than sufficient.
Focus on spending your money for the reliability of the connection, not necessarily the speed.
Lastly, try not to use public wifi hotspots or tethering hardware unless it's necessary, as these methods of getting online can make you vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
6 – Good stationery
Don't settle for cheap paper, envelopes, and mailing labels.
The quality of the stationery you use says a lot about the quality of your business as a whole, which is why it's smart to use high-weight, high-contrast paper supplies whenever possible.
This is a real expense that delivers an immediate return because higher quality paper products last longer and can sometimes be reused.
Think about where you use manila folders, letter-sized paper, posters, postcards, memos, and other kinds of physical media.
For the best results, opt for high-gloss materials for sales and marketing purposes, and use high-weight, matte-style paper for routine business communication.
Your use of professional stationery will go a long way in bolstering a good impression among those you interact with.
7 – A dedicated filing and records system
If you don't have critical business documents available for quick reference in a physical format, you're leaving yourself prone to mismanagement and disorganisation.
A common myth is that the virtual office of today needs to be completely paperless with absolutely zero hard copies of anything.
This isn't very smart, as it means that every crucial business document lives either on your computer or on a server somewhere off-site.
What happens when your computer gets lost, breaks down, or is stolen? What about a power outage?
Prepare yourself for anything by at least having physical backups of all of your most important documents available to you in a dedicated filing system that can be easily accessed if needed.
This may require an investment in a filing cabinet, hanging folders, and folder labels.
Setting all of this up may seem like a redundant headache at first, but you'll thank yourself later when you have just what you need at your fingertips.
8 – A top-of-the-line rechargeable power supply
You won't know that you need a top rechargeable power bank until you find yourself needing to be on an urgent conference call, and your cell phone is only at 3% of its battery capacity.
Don't get caught not having ample mobile power.
This problem is quickly dealt with when you have a high-quality, reliable power supply that can be tapped at a moment's notice.
Even though you may spend most of your working hours at a home office where electric power is plentiful, your business will invariably have you travelling to other locations, and you want to stay connected as you change planes, trains, and automobiles.
A good rechargeable power bank will provide a high return-on-investment over time, as it can be used to recharge not just your cellular phone, but your Bluetooth headset, MP3 player, smartwatch, or other personal electronics.
9 – Boundaries
Setting boundaries within your working environment are one of the most often overlooked aspects of working remotely.
When you allow your personal life to overflow into your workspace, you create a wealth of distractions that can seriously detract from your overall productivity and performance.
To stop this from happening, do what you can to sequester yourself from anything non-work-related.
This may mean closing the door in your home office, using a ‘do not disturb' sign outside your door, or telling those you live with that you'll be unavailable to them while you're working.
Without smart boundaries in place to keep you focused, it's just going to be a matter of time before temptations begin to pull you away from your work commitments.
Be disciplined about this, and set a high standard for your professional self.
There's a lot to be gained when you prioritise performance and productivity as part of your remote working philosophy.
The most effective remote workers know this, and they maintain strict adherence to the guidelines they set for themselves.
To ensure that you have the highest possible chances of success in your working remotely endeavours, make sure that you have each of these nine necessities.
Lastly, it may help to conduct an audit of these productivity tools every few months or so, to make sure that you're staying current.
Author Bio: Kevin Conner is the founder and CEO of Vast Bridges, a customer acquisition and lead generation company in the home services arena. Since 2011, more than 10 million consumers and businesses have used Vast Bridges' web properties like broadbandsearch.net to search for internet and television service.