It takes a lot of dedication to make working remotely a success. You need to be highly motivated and committed to the job, not just the idea of remote working. There are specific skills, tools, and best practices that can help make remote working actually work. Remote working isn’t for everyone. It takes the right kinds of people to build a successful remote team, but doing so can have many advantages. In this post, we will discuss some tips for getting the most out of working remotely
Create a Structure
Having a structure is essential in any effort to be a productive, efficient worker. In many ways, you should treat working remotely as if you’re going to the office. Set a schedule, wake up, shower, and get dressed just like you would if you’re going to the office. Set goals for each day so you can track your success and productivity. Dedicate a space with a good atmosphere to work. A noisy background or poor internet connection can make working remotely very difficult or even impossible.
It’s important to separate work from home, especially when working remotely. If you have kids at home, setting rules and expectations with them will help your workday go smoother and ensure you’re able to focus when you need to focus on work. It’s essential to take breaks and get out of the house too. Just as you go for coffee runs at the office, take a little walk around the block – a little fresh air and exercise can go a long way.
As a remote worker, if you’re disorganized, you will have a hard time. Without a colleague or boss next to you, you’ll need to prioritize your tasks and stay focused. Use a checklist to know what’s on your plate and don’t things fall through the cracks. Keep close tabs on your calendar. You need to build trust as a remote worker, and if you’re missing meetings or are always late, that’s not going to look good.
Communication is essential in any work environment, but strong communication skills are crucial for remote work success. When in doubt, over-communicate. Write effective emails with useful subject lines, and keep them brief. An email gets the message across quickly. Be as transparent as possible in your communication – it will avoid the need to address the message again in the future. Set and manage expectations and find the right communication tools for your team. Be aware of time zones; you might be working with someone on the other side of the world. Communicate time zones clearly and book meetings at reasonable times.
Have a Backup Plan
Remote working puts a tremendous amount of trust in technology. But sometimes, technology fails us. You might wake up one day with no internet connection. Have a backup plan; locate a coffee shop or library, or have the ability to tether from your phone when the internet goes down. The more prepared you are for the unknowns, the better.
Try New Things
If something isn’t working, change it, try something new. Be creative with how you approach working remotely. Maybe the home office is too dull? Spruce it up with a new plant or other decorations. Try working from a cafe from time to time – this can often provide a fresh perspective on the workday and be a good change of pace.
Use the Right Tools for Remote Working
Find the right tools that work for you and your team. There’s an abundance of tools out there to improve communication, collaboration, productivity, and organization. Here are some that might help:
Trello – Trello is a simple tool used for everything from simple to-do lists to entirely managing projects.
Asana – Easily manage your tasks online.
UberConference – UberConference is a light-weight conference call and screen-sharing solution.
Slack – Slack is the latest and greatest in real-time team communication. Its plug-and-play integrations allow you to connect many other tools to it. Slack takes “virtual office” to a whole new level.
Noisli – Noisli helps boost productivity by letting you mix different sounds to create a perfect work environment.
Workfrom – Workfrom is a guide to the best cafes, coffee shops, and bars for getting work done around the world.
We all work a little differently, and every team encounters different challenges and solutions to their problems. Talk to other remote workers for advice, share your advice, and keep trying new things. If you’re passionate enough about your job and focus on strong communication, your remote working experience should go pretty seamlessly.
For more information, tips, and best practices on working remotely, check out Remote: Office Not Required, a book by the Basecamp founders.