Being A Successful Remote Employee

June 25, 2018

Working from home is a great benefit, especially when managing work-life balance. Many employees have the opportunity to work from home at OneDigital, whether it be one day a week or a full-time remote employee. Transitioning to working days at home can be tough and can remove the structure that holds your day together. Before you know it, its 4pm, you’re in your pajamas, have not eaten lunch and have barely taken a moment to look up from your work. We found some fun tips from The Next Web on habits for successful remote employees.

Know Your Goals

Remote work brings freedom, which the best employees need. But freedom itself is not enough – you also need structure to stay aligned with your team and company. It can be easy for remote employees to get off track and fall down rabbit holes. You can quickly build yourself to nowhere by working on the wrong projects. This takes you off course from the rest of your team — and hurts your company.

That is why a goal-first approach to work is essential for remote employees. This approach keeps everyone aligned and focused on building what matters. It also gives you clarity to start each day with purpose. The secret to a productive team is its shared sense of mission amongst all colleagues. This is doubly true for remote teams.

Own Your Schedule

One of the great things about remote work is the freedom to design your own schedule. Are you a night owl who gets more done after sunset? Does a lunchtime workout help you focus each afternoon? Remote work is more self-directed — which means you have the autonomy to make your own workday.

Before you take off for that 12:30 spin class, have an honest conversation with your boss. Put your key goals for achievement on the table. Then, design a schedule that allows you to contribute in a way that suits when you work best and keeps you on track towards achieving these to-dos. This gives you a sense of ownership and keeps your colleagues informed.

Organize Your Workspace

A cluttered workspace and appearance sends strong signals to those whom you communicate with. Colleagues notice piles of laundry and un-brushed hair on video calls. These can distract from tasks at hand by shifting your colleagues’ focus. And they can raise questions about how organized or committed you are.

Veteran remote worker Adam Warner suggests having a designated workspace in your home (your bed does not count). Whether this is a desk next to your kitchen or a whole home office does not matter so much. It is more important to have a specific space where you work and hold meetings. This helps you associate work with a unique spot. It also keeps the rest of your home free to live in — and becomes a signal of reliability for your team to count on.

Engage Your Colleagues

Screens can create disconnect. It is easier to tell your colleague to wait for you over a chat app than it is to walk out on them in person. But your colleagues’ time is no less valuable because they work at home. And you send a clear message when other things are always more urgent than your time with them.

The most productive remote employees avoid distractions. Set aside strategic times each day for email, meetings, projects, etc. This keeps your focus on the task at hand rather than constantly veering off course. Keep your calendar up to date and available to your colleagues. This lets them know what is on your plate and plan their asks of you accordingly. It also allows you to hold yourself accountable.

Plan Your Communication

Remote teams do not have the benefits of break rooms or happy hours. You need other ways to bond with your colleagues. Group chat that happens in real time is a great way to stay in touch with your team throughout the day. But it can also be hard to navigate — especially if you crave feedback and consistent interaction.

It is tough to balance productivity with team banter. Working from home limits distractions and makes employees more productive. But working in isolation can make it hard to feel like a unit or ask for guidance.

Limit Your Distractions

Working from home can bring a unique set of distractions. Dogs start barking when the mailman visits. Kids start screaming when it is naptime. The lack of separation between work and home makes it hard to control certain circumstances. Still, you should be mindful of your own concentration and those of your colleagues when you are in a meeting.

Try to work in a specific space with a door that limits loud noises. If there is noise beyond your control, take initiative to mute yourself if you are on a conference call. And keep pets, partners, children, etc. out of your workspace. Your dog is most likely adorable; his barks during a demo are not.

Resolve Your Conflicts

Remote work does not remove the need for hard conversations. The opposite is often true — not everyone is built to work remotely, and some learn this the hard way on the job. Tough conversations will undoubtedly occur. So finding the right medium for them is a must.

Many of us learn how to be our best while working remotely — there is no substitute for learning by doing. The most crucial step you can take is to commit to a place of mindfulness. Respect your company, colleagues, and assignments equally. Doing so will help all of you succeed.

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