Remote Work: A Responsibility Freedom

Posted by Kie Bhayangkari, May 2021

In many sector Covid-19 gives impacts for world business, especially in Tourism and  Food And Beverage industry. Here in Japan, especially in Tokyo where I living right now, usually restaurants or bars will open until midnight or even until morning, but due to Covid-19 they have to close by 8 pm. The worst impact are hitting tourism industry. According to UNWTO (United Nation World Tourism Organization), during the pandemic, export revenues from tourism could fall by $910 billion to $1.2 trillion in 2020. This will have a wider impact and could reduce global GDP by 1.5% to 2.8%. Honestly, my previous job was very closely related with tourism too, I am one of the small amount of lucky people who could find new opportunity and changes my job before all the conditions was greeting worse.


Put aside the bad impact, the pandemic force us to learn to develop. Companies that emerging from the crisis realized that the workforce needs new capabilities to face the digital and environmental future. As the information I gathered from my daily morning news, company like Fujitsu announced that they are considering a plan about permanent remote work, Yahoo Japan start to hire remote work contract marketing strategies instead of full-time employers and many other companies following the trend with flexible office hours or 3:2 remote work system.


In this case I want to point up about how today working is so innovative and visionary. Right now, as long as you have internet in your hand, you do not have to essentially commuting for marketing you products or held a meeting with your clients. It give a new perspective of work freedom, technology means we can work everywhere. When I did the remote work, I could reduce the stress of commuting and save my lunch break money, it was almost too good to be true. Until I realized with a freedom comes a big responsibility.


After a happy life of the first few days of remote work, I find that I cannot control the on-off working mode in my own home. I could not concentrate and focus on my work task due to my environment are "feels like home". Afterwards I could not finish my project faster because I wasn't able to easily discussing about small things  with my colleagues. Then I realized that I need to set up several things to make my remote work have a same performance with my office work.

  1. Draw an assertive separation: I need to firm to myself to draw the border between my "office" and my home. This is applies for time management too, between the time that I still at home and when I already in my "office" at home.
  2. Cleaning the "Office": In an office, you leave at night and there is usually a cleaning crew that freshens things up for the next day. When you work from home, you are the cleaning crew. This is applied for the maintenance of working material too, such as phone, laptop,  and external hard drive to make my remote work easier. 
  3. Being a Proactive Communicator: I realized that when I am away from the office and not constantly face-to-face with coworkers and managers, it is essential that I need to be a proactive communicator. If I need help or even want something, I have to take the first step and speak up to get the ball rolling.
  4. Managing Household Expectations: Just like in an office, I have to be responsible for managing interruptions. When I working from home, others can develop an expectation for me to be doing home stuff instead of work stuff. Set expectations early on to avoid struggles down the road is the important thing I did.

While working from home means more control and freedom during the workday, it doesn't create an environment of limited or little responsibility. Just as working in an office has its problems, so does remote work. However, working at home also opens up new opportunities that we cannot do in the office. Hopefully the tips above can help those of you who are currently working at home.