A Day in the Life of a Remote Worker

In 2020, it’s quite common to work from home occasionally, but working remotely is a world all of its own. There are three main work arrangements that workers may find themselves in:

  1. Working in an office with other co-workers at all times.
  2. Working in an office some days, but from home on others.
  3. Working away from the office at all times.

Beyond the three personal working arrangements, there are three different scenarios for which teams can be deployed:

  1. Working together in centrilozed co-located work environments.
  2. Working independently with no central location or common office.
  3. A hybrid of mostly co-located workers with some remote workers.

Based on my experience over the last three years, I will argue that while it carries many advantages, working remotely on a team of co-located individuals is the most difficult scenario of all. While there are many personal liberties in working remotely, there are many things that are missed by remote workers: spontaneous coffee chats, shared meals, ad hoc meetings, happy hours, and most importantly, bagels in the break room.

“working remotely on a team of co-located individuals is the most difficult scenario of all…”

Being remote among a team of co-located colleagues means suffering through the latency and technical challenges of video calls from giant conference rooms, and never really knowing how your ideas are being received while delivering presentations from 1,000’s of miles away. Being remote when everyone else is together means that you have to trust others and have confidence in yourself every time you connect and communicate. Being remote takes courage and resolve. But those things aside, it also has its perks.

As a remote worker, you can show proof through the results of my work and not just the hours spent in the office. As a remote worker, how you structure your day is completely up to you. Whether that means Tuesdays in coffee shops, or Wednesday lunch by the pool, as long as the work gets done, the flexibility keeps work interesting.

While today’s current events may offer you a first chance at working from home, I thought you may enjoy taking a look at a day in the life of a remote worker to see if it’s all you thought it was cracked up to be. So, without further adieu, here’s a typical day from my home office:

(All Times below are Central Time, my team is based in Eastern Time)

5:37 AM – Wake up, groggy, reaching for cellphone to check the time. Get out of bed and head into the kitchen where I grind coffee beans and fill the coffeemaker with water.

5:45 AM – Open laptop and read e-mail, prioritizing anything urgent for the day. Scroll through LinkedIn and industry news.

6:00 AM – Shower and get ready for the day

6:20 AM – Continue reviewing e-mail and news. Identify Most Important Task (MIT) for the day in Bullet Journal

6:45 AM – Wake up one year-old, play and read books, and get him ready for school

7:30 AM – Help mommy and son to car to depart for school and work

7:45 AM – Timebox the day in Outlook and get working

8:00 AM – Check in with a few colleagues on Teams to just say “hi”

8:07 AM – Tackle Bullet Journal tasks

9:00 AM – Attend first conference call, fully focused on deciphering cross-talk, identifying faint voices from the back of the room and trying to smile remembering I’m on camera the whole time, with my face likely plastered on a 60″ LCD screen.

9:14 AM – Engage mute button while dog barks incessantly as a neighbor dog walks down the sidewalk in front of the house.

10:00 AM – Select Flow State playlist and dig into deep work.

10:02 AM – Doorbell rings. Dog barks excitedly.

10:03 AM – Explain to the visitor at the door that I’m not interested in switching lawn care providers at this time.

10:04 AM – Replace noise cancelling headphones and get back to deep work.

1:37 PM – Realize I have been working non-stop for 3.5 hours and that 1) I need to pee and 2) I am starving

1:44 PM – Reheat last night’s leftovers in the microwave for 90 seconds and enjoy my quiet lunch break

1:53 PM – Return to my office after a long break to get back to work.

2:00 PM – Join Teams video call with smaller group, which is nice because I can actively participate in the conversation.

3:01 PM – Send memes about how it’s only Wednesday to select colleague or two to mimic some sort of social interaction.

3:07 PM – Tackle another chunk of deep work

3:45 PM – Submit the day’s MIT (Most Important Task) work to leader for review

3:48 PM – Review next day’s schedule and update Bullet Journal accordingly

4:15 PM – Leave house to pick up the little one at school

5:00 PM – Return home and entertain the little guy until dinner with mommy

6:00 PM – Dinnertime

6:20 PM – Video call with Grammy + Pappy, followed by lots of LEGO Duplo play

7:30 PM – Bathtime

7:45 PM – Read books and continue playing with little one

8:30 PM – Bedtime for the little one

9:00 PM – Catch up on late afternoon/evening email/Teams messages, if necessary

9:30 PM – Lights out

Keep in mind, not every day is the same. That’s the great thing about working remotely. With the opportunity to work somewhere new each day, or venture out for lunch or to sneak in an errand, you have the full control to make your day work so you can do your best work.

Working remotely isn’t for everyone. To be successful, you really need to have the drive, self-direction, and energy to propel yourself each day.

Do you work remotely, or from home occasionally? What does your day look like? What are your secrets to success?

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