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Remote working tips for future IT consultants

Remote working in IT consulting – has that only become possible because of the coronavirus? Not really! Even prior to the pandemic, it was not unusual for IT consultants to work from home occasionally. 
Nevertheless, the past couple of months have also been an exceptional challenge for experienced remote workers. 
If you are currently considering a career in IT consulting, you should definitively keep remote work in mind. According to the latest assessments, it is here to stay. 
Remote work can be viewed with mixed feelings. Whereas it is a curse to some people, it is a blessing to others. On the one hand it provides additional liberties and more individual working hours, while on the other hand it can lead to a lonely and monotonous working day. 
We have asked our colleagues – from “coronavirus newbies” to Partners who have much experience in remote working – about their opinions on this topic and have composed a list of their best tips for future IT consultants. 

The essentials for remote working – the right setup

Even those consultants who absolutely love traveling have to admit that slides for the next meeting with a client can be prepared more easily when sitting at a well-organized desk than slumped on the back seat of a taxi. Therefore, we have summarized the essentials for working from home here:

The minimum requirements: 

  • a fast and stable internet connection
  • choose a fixed place as your “office” (we don’t recommend the kitchen table, sofa, or bed as long-term solutions)
  • an external keyboard and mouse for your laptop or tablet
  • daylight (or daylight lamps)

For more advanced remote workers: 

  • a second (or, if necessary, a third) monitor can really boost your productivity!
  • a headset for video conferences (your roommates will be grateful), ideally with a noise-canceling microphone for whenever workmen come into your apartment during a client meeting

For absolute pros:

  • a blue light filter for your laptop or blue light blocking glasses (your eyes and sleep rhythm will benefit from them)

And what about your self-discipline?

When Karl Lagerfeld stated that “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants”, he certainly didn’t reckon with the pandemic. After a year of remote working, the new fashion of shirt & sweatpants has caught on almost everywhere. However, these tips can help you not to lose control of your daily working life at home despite its occasional challenges. 

Establish routines:
people are creatures of habit and feel comfortable when following routine practices. For example, instead of checking your e-mails immediately upon getting out of bed, it is better to first eat your breakfast leisurely or to take your dog for a walk. Such routines can be learned if you make a conscious effort. According to the 21-day theory, routines can be established within less than two quarantines.

Clear separation between work and private life:
if you are using your living room as a project office, family restaurant, and home cinema, it can be difficult to separate work and leisure time.  In this case, it can help to draw a clear line between the two. Reserve time slots for private activities and block them in your calendar. 

Use the time that you are saving by staying at home effectively:
as traveling is impossible at the moment, consultants don’t have to get up at 4 am on Monday mornings in order to travel somewhere. Instead, they can use the time they are currently saving for their benefit. Our colleagues recommend that you participate in advanced training courses on platforms such as LinkedIn Learning or arrange a coffee date with a team member that you have not yet met.

Physical exercise – more than just esports

If you only have to walk 10 meters to get to your place of work every day, working from home can result in a lack of exercise. As a fit body is just as important for productive work as a sharp mind, it is crucial that you avoid inactivity. Fitness trackers and daily walks can be of great help. A meeting was canceled? How about doing another 15 minutes of yoga or a few physical exercises? But please don’t forget to open a window afterwards to let in some fresh air! 
In addition, to prevent back pain caused by sitting for long periods, it is a good idea to have a height-adjustable desk or to get a desk extension that allows you to work while standing. And those who want to exercise while working can place a treadmill underneath their desk. There is no excuse!

As shown above, remote working has both many advantages and disadvantages for IT consultants. In the end, it’s up to you to make the most of it. We hope our tips – which have been tested in terms of ease of practical application  – can help you achieve your best results during this period of remote working. 

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Carolin Westerberg