You’ve landed a remote job and are ready to enjoy the work-from-home perks you’ve been hearing from your friends. But to actually enjoy these perks, you need to efficiently work in a virtual environment.
This can be a bit complex, especially for employees who have grown accustomed to the daily hustle and bustle of a traditional office. If you’re someone who is a first-time remote worker, it might be even more difficult.
Remote work can be overwhelming in the beginning. But if you are disciplined and organized, you will quickly settle into the virtual world. And that’s something I’ve learnt from my personal experience.
I started working remotely 3 years ago and it has been a long ride. At first, it was almost like I couldn’t grasp anything that was happening. But eventually, it all came together. And lessons have been learnt from my early days. Now I want to make sure that you learn them beforehand.
When you have the flexibility to choose when to work and how to work, things can get very chaotic, very easily. With your Netflix queue, a warm comfortable bed, and your family in the next room, distractions come easy. To overcome them and stay focused, you need to define guidelines for everything.
You must always set your working hours and work only during those hours, not before and not after. Assign your tasks to your hours and keep track of time when working on them.
Use tools like Tomato Timer to efficiently track your productivity and help you stay on track.
Apply the same discipline when taking breaks. Decide how many breaks you would require to avoid burnout. For instance, I take a 20 min break after every 2.5 hours. Although this isn’t a hard rule, yet you need to set your own breaks and work accordingly.
Another way of smoothly transitioning to remote work is by creating a list of everyday tasks. (You could even make weekly or monthly to-do lists but that’s totally up to you.)
A to-do list of daily tasks helps you ensure that you do not miss something out and are able to assign a designated time to each task efficiently. This will also help you save time since you do not have to scroll down your email or check Slack every hour to know what to do next.
Working from home sure might sound like a dream. But spending too much time at home might drive you a little crazy! Being stuffed up in one place for a really long time can have a significant impact on your productivity.
Set a time of the day to step outside the house. Whether you’re running errands, walking your dog, or simply walking outside, one must have a change of surroundings to stay focused.
Another great way of avoiding cabin fever is getting a co-working space. Most remote organizations provide co-working space allowances to their employees. (Or you could just go and work at your nearest Starbucks or your favourite coffee shop.) Services like Croissant are also a great way to co-work on-demand. You can try out various co-working spaces by-the-hour or stay for the whole day. Plus, you'll get complimentary coffee, along with fast wifi, and meet some new people who work remote too.
You’d be missing out on a lot if you do not make the most of the available tools. Firstly, know all the tools used by your team and then actually learn how to use them best. This will help you in quick and efficient communication with the team. Secondly, find out the best remote work tools that can help with your productivity. For instance, I use Trello to make to-do lists instead of a word doc or writing it on a paper. Since Trello provides me with the option of actually checking things off on my list, it increases my efficiency.
One of the most common mistakes new remote workers make is not communicating enough. It only leads to more confusion among the team and delayed timelines.
Make sure you understand all ongoing projects and communication. Do not be afraid to ask questions and resolve your doubts. You must have clarity when working remotely. Also regularly check-in with your teammates and manager but discuss the time interval prior with your team.
One should know when to start working and also when to cut off. When transitioning to remote work, employees tend to work extra hours and overcompensate to show increased productivity. But you should be able to maintain a work-life balance to stay satisfied with your job.
Don’t forget why you wanted a remote job in the first place. Whether it was to increase productivity, travel the world, or spend time with your family. To enjoy these perks you must set defined boundaries between your work and personal life.
For instance, our team does not check their emails after working hours. We have a system where we would only send urgent messages on Slack while acknowledging the various time zones and each employee’s working hours.
Julian Stewart, Content Engagement Manager, Workfrom, recently relocated from Portland (where the rest of her team was) to Los Angeles. Her transition experience was somewhat smooth but not entirely free from complications.
She says that setting clear boundaries and a designated workspace helped her ease the transition phase. She also suggests to get accustomed to over-communication with the team. This ensures that you are not excluded and each team member is on the same page.
Jon Narong, Principal Analytics Consultant, 33 Sticks, left Silicon Valley to become a digital nomad. He expresses that the experience was very exciting but also challenging at the same time.
He says that optimizing work has helped him optimize his new location-independent lifestyle. He further puts pressure on remembering that being a digital nomad does not mean you’re on vacation. Being in a different place every month might overwhelm you and distract you from your work in the beginning, but you must stay focused and set a schedule and stick to it!
Are you going to transition to remote work? Or have already done it?
For anybody making the transition, remember that you must plan ahead of time to thrive in a virtual environment.
But these challenges are not limited to the transition phase. To excel in a remote team, you must efficiently tackle future challenges too.
Your success at your remote job is directly proportional to how well you predict these future challenges. And I can help you predict them!
Learn how you can overcome remote work challenges with minimum effort!
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