The global ‘remote’ and ‘work from home’ community is growing exponentially.
Even when the current crisis has passed, our way of working is going to change. There will be more flexibility and technology accessible to employees giving them further opportunities to work from home.
Three of the biggest bonuses for working from home is having fewer distractions, less stress from commuting and less impact from office politics.
However, working remotely can come with some potential hiccups. Especially if this is new to everyone.
Here are some tips to ensure remote work will run smoothly.
Understand the Expectations
Get a clear set of guidelines from your manager or team leader on what they expect. Don’t assume you know what a typical workday will look like.
Ask what they will need from you and get the specifics. Some things to think about:-
- When should you be online?
- Are you allowed to log off – put up ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs on your chat
- How will you communicate with everyone?
- What type of communication is expected for different circumstances?
- How many times do I have to report in during the day/week?
Keep to a schedule
Even if an employer is more interested in results than schedules, it’s a good idea to be consistent, particularly in the beginning. It will also help you with productivity.
Work is a habit, just like everything else. Start working at the same time every day. Your colleagues will know when you are available and more likely to reach out at the appropriate time. It also helps set boundaries where you won’t be messaged outside of work time.
Commit to one-on-ones
When working from home, these regular catch-ups with your supervisor are essential. They may represent the only time that you directly get to talk with your boss. Use them as an evaluation of your work and check in about ongoing projects. Come with a list of recent wins you have achieved, questions about current and future plans and ideas for further discussion.
Don’t let them forget who you are or how valuable you are to the team.
Understand the different modes of communication and their role
Your team leader will most likely give you an indication of when and where you will use different types of communication. Email, Slack, Zoom, instant chat! They should all have a designated time and place to be used. If people are using all of them without clear guidelines, conversations get missed, and work becomes challenging at best.
Be clear about what you need and want with your team. If you are having difficulties, especially with technology or processes, let your boss know. Give them feedback. Things won’t change unless you are willing to speak up.
Be concise with your communication
Most of your communication is going to be done by writing. You won’t have informal opportunities to disseminate information like in a centralised office.
Be concise with all your writing, expel the fluff. If you have specific questions to be answered, make sure they are clear and numbered. Make an explicit request they are responded to accordingly. Don’t make your co-workers wade through a wall of words just to get to one question.
The clearer your message, the less room there is for misinterpretations, assumptions, and other disastrous missteps.
Do what you say you are going to do. Be reliable. Make sure that your colleagues know that they can count on you to who up and be working on the project.
Set a Good Example
Show people you have a balanced life and you’re capable of switching off.
Unplug and don’t answer emails at inappropriate times. Also, honor your colleagues do not disturb messages and contact them at respectable and appropriate times for non-urgent issues. You will encourage them to extend the same courtesy to you.
Let us know what you think, or if you have any questions about how to be a successful remote worker.