A Guide to Working Remotely

Working remotely isn’t a new concept. People in all kinds of career fields have been doing it for years. But most people are accustomed to one day of work at home, once in a while or never actually working from home. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many companies like Google, Microsoft, Twitter and so forth are working to support employees in working from home.

The list below will help guide individuals who are working together in different divisions and enable teams to act cohesively and support each other, including serving their external clients, regardless of the time zone.

1. Embrace the initial time suck.

Instead of trying to immediately mirror your office work tempo and practices, simply embrace that things are a bit off balance and you might as well allow yourself a little indulgence and enjoy being at home instead of being in the office. 

But, do not create unproductive patterns. Don’t assume that this remote break will be short-lived. You want your brain to focus in a productive way instead of getting sucked into a space with millions of distractions at home.

2. Remember that working from home is a continuously developing situation for most companies.

There will probably be several things companies learn and continue to leverage in the future regarding working remotely and the policies meant to support it. 

On one hand, companies could potentially realize that there are opportunities to save money on office space since much of their staff’s work can be done from home. On the other hand, if your company experiences a drop in productivity and effectiveness, it could shut the door to more flexible working policies. 

3. Figure out your working style.

At the start of your remote work journey, it’s a great idea to figure out the environment that you need in order to work successfully. For example, do you like being surrounded by white noise? Leaving your TV on may be the best choice for you. Work well in silence? It might be time to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones. 

Other things to consider are whether you’re more productive in the morning or in the evening and whether you’re motivated by taking small breaks throughout the day or longer midday intervals. This is the beauty of remote work – getting to work during your best hours, whatever they may be.

4. Take time for self-care.

When the line between “work” and “home” starts to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period of time (see next point). While that can sometimes be necessary when closing a major deal or finalizing an important presentation, give yourself time for you. Commit to your fitness routine and make sure that you’re creating blocks in your schedule to eat healthy, nutritious meals so that you can be focused and productive when you need to be.

The benefits of remote work can stretch into your life outside of work as well. With increased flexibility, you can take time to make sure you’re not missing life’s important moments. As a remote worker, you can take care of your kids without worrying about leaving the office during standard business hours, and you can decide to work from any location around the world.

‍5. Know when to “log off”

This can be one of the most challenging aspects for remote work beginners, as the world is becoming increasingly connected. Though you may receive emails and chat notifications at any hour (especially if you’re working in a different time zone than your coworkers), it’s important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night.

The best part of working remotely is having the flexibility to work when you are most productive, so be careful about setting the standard that you are available 24/7.

6. Proactively reach out to coworkers, leaders and clients. 

Don’t rely on them to connect with you. It can be easy to get pulled into the bliss or misery of isolation, depending on your social preferences. But the reality is, when working remotely, people need to be shown you are thinking of them.

If you don’t have a cause for regular engagement with key people then you should schedule reminders to reach out with an email or call.

7. Update on progress more than usual. 

Since this is a new experience for everyone, you should be on the side of over-communicating.  Make sure to advocate for yourself and clearly state the progress you’ve made during the day, which goals you’ve surpassed and which projects you’ve led. When you’re not in the office, it can be difficult for your manager to keep your work top-of-mind, so don’t be afraid to bring important milestones up on your own.

8. Invest in reliable tech.

Any remote worker will tell you that access to consistent WiFi is integral to their success, but there’s more to a successful setup than an internet connection. Along with having the ability to take video calls without losing connection, you should consider what tools and tech you’ll need to do your job well.

For example, many remote workers invest in a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones so that they can take their work anywhere – regardless of background noise levels. Others find that wireless keyboards and mouses, or even a second screen, are integral to their efficiency.

Now that you’re working remotely, life will look a little bit different (and a little more awesome). However, if you rely on the eight tips that we’ve listed above, the transition from to the freedom of a flexible work style will be smooth and successful.

Eleni Nicolaidis

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