Everybody makes mistakes, including remote workers. The problem isn’t making the mistake, however. The problem is not learning from them. We’re here to save you some time. We’ve seen just about every remote employee mistake in the book (as well as just about every success), which means we know what to avoid when it comes to working from home.
Taking the time to correct these mishaps before they even occur will save you a lot of headaches in the future. From letting your desktop become a mess to keeping remote colleagues out of the loop, here are the most common mistakes that you’re going to want to avoid at all costs.
If you can keep these seven mistakes from happening? You’re smooth sailing ahead.
1. Flying Solo
You are going to be the most independent you’ve ever been as a remote worker, but that doesn’t mean that you’re flying solo. Just because you’re not in an office surrounded by colleagues and team members doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
As a remote employee, making sure that you’re on the same page as the rest of your team is a responsibility that should not be forgotten. You want your colleagues to know what you’re doing, and you should want to know what they’re doing, especially if your jobs overlap or rely on each other in some way.
Don’t fly solo. Be a team player.
2. Not Having a Backup WiFi Plan
Working from home is awesome, until your wifi stops working. A power outage or modem problem, unfortunately, doesn’t excuse a remote employee from working. Having a backup plan is essential.
Whether it’s knowing how to link up a hotspot from your phone to your computer or having a go-to cafe that you can use to mooch some wifi off of while sipping down caffeine, you want to have a plan or two should your home internet decide to bail on you.
3. Letting Your Inbox Fill Up
We are hard advocates of keeping a clean inbox. Seriously, take a look at our most recent article about organizing your inbox. We’re not kidding. And neither should you.
A clean inbox is the key to a productive workday, so making sure that yours is never too full is something you should strive for. Don’t worry, all those read and replied-to emails are still going to be accessible to you, they’ll just be in archival folders rather than cluttering up your inbox.
4. Starting Your Day Unprepared
You don’t walk into an office for the day with no plans and no itinerary. Remote working is the same. If you need to keep a handwritten or typed list to remind you of the dozens of things you need to do, then do it. Don’t waste time every morning playing catch-up and trying to remember what’s on your plate for the day. You should know it.
5. Always Being Connected
One of the biggest downfalls of remote workers is burnout. Don’t let it happen to you.
Not sure how to keep from burning out? It’s actually quite simple: learn to disconnect. Nope, we’re not kidding. As important as it is for you to be in sync and in communication with your colleagues and employers during the workday, it’s just as important for you to know how to turn off and recharge yourself once that work day is over.
If you’re in need of tips on how to do this, we’ve got you covered: The 2 Biggest Ways to Avoid Burning Out as a Remote Worker.
6. Focusing on Personal Benefits
It’s true that you have a lot of personal benefits when you’re a remote employee, including the ultimate luxury of working from home. However, as great as the personal benefits are, they shouldn’t become a priority over your professionalism.
As a remote worker, you still need to be available during the business day (if your job requires it), not taking video calls in pajamas, and making sure that home distractions aren’t keeping you from getting your work done. Remote workers are more productive than in-office workers, but we’re guessing that factoid is only applicable to those who keep professionalism at the forefront.
7. Allowing Your Desktop to Get Messy
Like your inbox, your desktop should be a place of organization. A zen spot, if you will. A messy desktop is not a good sign, and you should never let yours get out of control. Implementing a folder organization system is the way to go with your computer. You have a lot going on as a remote worker, and you want to be sure you can easily find whatever you need, whenever you need it.
Do you find yourself making any frequent mistakes as a remote employee? How do you fix them? Share your story with us on Twitter!
This article was originally published on Remote.com