21 Tried-and-True Tips For Remote Working
Going remote, whether that means the whole team or just bringing on a new remote member, requires buy-in from the entire company. It doesn’t just happen, it needs to be a considered choice, and everyone needs to work to constantly improve the processes that make remote work work.
Here are 21 of the best tips we have for companies, managers, and remote workers that have helped us build an awesome remote team, work effectively, and stay 100% productive no matter where our team members are.
1. Communicate Deliberately
Contrary to popular belief, remote workers have to be better at communication than their office brethren. Communication plays a vital role in work, and when team members are apart, it’s vital to put communication front and center.
Without being able to tap the person at the desk next to you on the shoulder, you need to be clear in your chosen communication channel if you need something or are stuck. If you don’t then people can lose track of where the company is, where projects are, and lose their own focus.
2. Talk to your team
When communicating, don’t just type, talk. Sometimes you need face to face communication to get ideas across quickly. Having a five-minute chat over video can circumvent hours of back and forth over Slack trying to answer questions. If you have a main office and only some of the team members are remote, you can also set up a “portal,” an always-on video connection that remote workers can tune into anytime to contact the rest of the team.
3. Find the team’s golden hour
With team members spread all over the world, getting everyone online and around at the same time can be a challenge. And that’s before trying to remember who is +4 UTC and who is -5 UTC (plus factoring in daylight savings). However, it still makes sense to find the time when the majority of the team is available, so that you can schedule all-hands meetings or other important events during that time.
4. Communicate about nothing
When you’re in an office, most conversation involves talking about nothing. Sports, TV, movies, anything but work. This is just a natural part of human behavior. But when you’re remote, it can feel like you shouldn’t bother with any communication that isn’t work-related and vital.
While it’s true you shouldn’t become one of those people creating Slack noise, you still want to create a team mentality online, and that includes just chatting about nothing. Creating a #random channel for exactly that, random stuff, means everyone knows where to put their hot take on last night’s GoT.
5. Create a portal
You can take the video chat idea one step further and set up a constant live feed for people to join. If the entire team is remote, then team members can pop in and out as they wish. If you have an HQ, then setting it up to constantly stream the office can help remote workers see what’s going on, and quickly chat with anyone they need to.
6. Ask For Quiet Time
So far, all these tips have been about talking to colleagues. But sometimes you need quiet time to really get on with work. In an office environment, you might shut a door, or just put your headphones in and it would be obvious to the rest of the team that you need focus. But when you’re remote, as Gregory Ciotti of Help Scout notes, nobody knows the best time to interrupt you.
Don’t be afraid to protect your time, as others won’t.
7. Set up your work space
When your home is your office, it can be whatever you want it to be. But it needs to be a place of work. Setting your work space apart from your home space allows you to better delineate the two, and lets your brain know when it needs to be in work mode or home mode.
If you’ve got the room, then setting up your own office is ideal, but even if not, take a corner of a room just for work, where you go to do that and only that. Then the rest of the home is for rest.
8. Take Breaks
Breaks come naturally in an office environment. Coffee breaks and lunch allow for some respite and time away from the desk and screen. At home though, if you’re in the flow, you can easily sit at the same desk from morning to night. You’ll get up to grab a coffee from the kitchen for five minutes, but without putting thought into it, you might not even leave the house. But taking breaks form the screen is important for both your productivity and your health.