For most, remote work may be the best thing to ever happen to the corporate world. It allows for schedule flexibility and easier communication. However, remote work also requires diligence from the employee.
66% of companies allow remote work, and 1 in 5 employees are fully remote. These numbers will only continue to grow as more and more organizations realize the benefits of cloud computing and happier employees!
I myself have worked remotely for almost a decade now. Over those years, I have learned what works and what doesn’t in a remote corporate environment, and I have compiled a list of my five favorite tips to make sure that remote working benefits you and your employer, no matter what industry you’re in!
1. Utilize Your Calendar, and Share it With Co-Workers
Whether you’re in the office or at home, chances are Outlook is open all day. Email becomes your main communication method when you’re not in the same space as your co-workers and clients. Since you’ve already got Outlook open, why not utilize the calendar?
I always schedule everything I can in my Outlook calendar. From personal appointments to weekly conference calls, it’s all in my Outlook calendar. If my son has a karate tournament, even if it’s outside regular work hours, I add it to the calendar just to prevent myself from working late that day, and the reminders pop up in Office 365 to keep me on time in all parts of life.
You need to share your calendar with everyone on your immediate team, so they know where you are and what you’re working on. Don’t want someone to see the details of your private doctor appointment? Simply mark as “Private” when creating the appointment!
To share your calendar, simply open your calendar and select “Share Calendar” from the top ribbon in Outlook. From there, you can type in the email address of anyone in your organization, and set their viewing abilities appropriately.
Working remotely can be isolating. It’s easy to miss out on smaller bits of news without the office water cooler to hang around. Managers and supervisors need to remember this, and act accordingly. Communication is always key, but over communication is the key to remote work success!
Sure, email is the standard method of communication for most business, but to stay in a positive and work-oriented mind set, employees need a more immediate method for those casual conversations. Your organization needs a messaging platform, like Microsoft Teams or Slack.
Having an instant messenger-type of platform allows for quick conversations between employees or internal groups. With mobile-friendly apps and the ability to transfer files or even video conference, Teams is a full-fledged productivity tool that increases employee morale and allows for more day-to-day knowledge to be shared quickly.
3. Have a Workday Routine
You have no commute, and besides video conferencing, you can get away wearing your old t-shirt, but this doesn’t mean you should. Have a normal workday routine; set an alarm, wear designated work clothes, and treat your days like you would working at company headquarters.
A huge part of personal success with remote work is the ability of the employee to manage their responsibilities without being micromanaged. Some can thrive with the hands-off trust, but others may need to be stricter with themselves. Find what works for you, and try to stick with it!
My morning routine never changes. It looks like this:
- Have coffee
- Get my son ready for school
- Walk to school
- Shower, wear designated work clothes
- Check in with my boss and begin the day
A normal routine is crucial to making remote work beneficial to you and your employer. Without it, you may fall behind or end up feeling isolated and lethargic.
4. Know What's Expected of You from Your Superiors,
Do you have weekly check-ins? Daily? What needs to be done in a normal work day for your job to be considered complete? These need to be clearly outlined between you and your supervisor.
Things can get lost in the daily chaos of work, and without clear guidelines on your work, you may be unknowingly under performing. On the opposite side, redundant work or work that is already completed through automation can cause unnecessary stress on you if you don’t know the systems that are already in place.
Again, communication is the key to successful remote work. You have to know what your boss expects, and your boss has to know that you are handling everything that is thrown at you. If you’re having trouble or encounter something frustrating, speak up!
5. Have a Designated Work Space, and Know When to
When we purchased our home, I specifically looked for one with an extra bedroom. This space has become my office. I enter it and close the door every morning, and when I shut the door in the evening, I know that my work is done.
Not having a designated space or designated work hours (by you or your employer) can lead to an uneven work-life balance. This will inevitably lead to frustration and impact your work and home life. There can be equilibrium, you just have to push for it!
Remote work sounds great. Sweatpants, no commute, and no office interruptions. But, it’s not for everyone. Without hard boundaries on both yourself and your connection to work, it can take over your free time and feel like you’re stuck at work all day, every day.
Practice these five tips and talk to your employer about your specific situation to see how you can maximize your potential with remote work!
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