In an era where digital communication is often more common than face-to-face, companies have adapted to keep up with the trend. Emailing, video conference calls and instant messaging channels are the new normal, which has  flexible schedules and remote work possible. However just because something is possible, doesn’t mean it’s probable. It’s up to remote workers to make remote work WORK.

According to a study from 2018, 68 percent of millennial job seekers are likely to have an increased interest in employers remote work options. Another recent report by International Workplace Group found that when people were faced with two similar employment offers, 80 percent said they would turn down the position that didn’t offer flexible work options. Today half of employees around the world are working outside of their main office headquarters at least 2.5 times a week.

Double Forte was an early adaptor to the WFH flexibility (day 2 in 2002) and we have navigated over the years and different technological changes to a few best practices that work for our colleagues, clients, and industry. What we’ve found is that regardless of the policy, the technology, even our willingness to have staff work in untraditional schedules, locations or regularity, it’s up to the staff member to make it work. Bottom line, in order to be a successful remote worker, you have to be a disciplined remote worker. And when you’re not, expect to be pulled back into a traditional setting.

So, if you are looking into an employment opportunity with a flexible working environment, here are six things to keep in mind:

6 Key Self-Management Traits

  • Communication – you won’t always be able to lean over and let someone know what you’re doing, so it’s up to you to keep your team updated on what you’re doing. You can find more specifics about how to keep everyone in the know here. We like Slack for interoffice comms.
  • Self-direction – working independently can be very distracting for many people (Squirrel!); creating a to-do list at the beginning of every day will help guide you through your day-to-day tasks efficiently.
  • Trustworthiness – your colleagues and employers need to be able to trust that you’re actually working remotely. If you’re going offline to grab coffee with a friend, be honest and let your team know.
  • Flexibility – working remotely has to work for your team and your clients. Work your schedule around them, or you’ll be giving up the privilege of remote work.
  • Taking initiative – stepping in and taking initiative on projects is crucial; just because you’re out of sight doesn’t mean you should be out of mind.

Many employers have adapted to our needs for more flexible schedules, so as professionals it’s up to us to optimize the extra freedom so that we can keep a sustainable and successful work-life schedule for ourselves and our employers.

Whether you are currently working, actively searching for a job or still enrolled at a university, self-management is essential. Practicing these six traits and habits will help strengthen your role in any team and your potential for growth while progressing into a career.

By Erika Paulus, Intern