I’ve been a remote worker for much of the past decade. Here’s my shortlist of five tips for anyone making the transition now. Please share your best remote work tips in the comments!
Build your spot
I’ve never been able to focus when sitting on the couch with my laptop. I’ve always benefitted from a dedicated workspace in my home. Coincidentally, I just moved yesterday and am building my new spot as I write this post surrounded by boxes. For my spot to work, I need to be able to seclude myself when necessary for calls and presentations but also be able to see/hear things going on around me so as to not feel entirely isolated.
Take a walk
I schedule time to walk/run every day. During heavy work periods, I may not leave the house for days at a time. These walks keep me fresh and avoid extra feelings of isolation. Depending on the weather, I try to walk around lunchtime. Living in Florida often means holding off until the sun sets and the temperature cools. I listen to podcasts as I go, but I try to avoid work-related topics.
Establish direct communication
I’ve already mentioned feeling isolated. It’s a real problem for me as a remote worker. I lean heavily on Slack to overcome this challenge and keep up with what’s happening at the office. Slack is also my “water cooler” for side conversations. I started channels about everyday topics like movies and sports so my communication with coworkers isn’t just about work. Rather than get lost in email threads, I message people directly or start a group chat in order to get to decisions more quickly.
Get on camera
I’m on camera for every meeting, even if the people with whom I’m meeting are not. Over time, more and more people have taken notice and turned on their cameras or activated a camera in the conference room to show the entire group. Voice doesn’t tell the whole story. Visuals add context and personality. A camera helps me talk to the person, not the employee.
My biggest problem when I first started working remotely was that I didn’t stop working. I hadn’t taken the time to create a new workflow, so my work time bled into my personal time. This caused problems on both sides. Now, I work based on a set schedule. I don’t start and end at the same time every day like I may in an office, but I hold to my calendar for work and personal activities.
The biggest influence on my ability to be successful as a remote worker has always been the organization – how the people I work with adapt and make the effort to include me in their day to day. I’ll explore ways you can influence your peers to better enable your remote work experience in a future post.