4 Best Practice Tips For Successful Remote Workers
Remote work has become increasingly popular with both employees and employers for a variety of reasons: distributed teams reduce costs for businesses, help the environment because fewer people have to commute, and employees experience fewer workplace interruptions; these are all perks of working remotely.
According to Gallup’s 2012-2016 “State of the American Workplace” report, 43% of employed Americans spent time working remotely every week, and of those, 34% spent 4-5 days per week working remotely.
If you happen to be among the 43%, here are some tips to make sure that you are working remotely as productively and successfully as possible. These skills don’t only apply to remote work but should be a set of principles used to make you more productive, focused, happy, and balanced.
1. Maximize Your Productivity
To work effectively, you must understand how you operate and what allows you to be focused and productive. Managing your energy is key to focused work. Create a schedule for yourself divided into 90-minute windows—our brains can only concentrate in 90- to 120-minute chunks—and assign a task to each window, rewarding yourself with a 15- to 20-minute break after each. Plan your hardest tasks during your most productive hours. Try apps like Pomodoro, which divides your time into 25- or- 90-minute chunks, or try Wunderlist to manage your to-do lists and set reminders.
Go to Podio for an infographic that explains the traditional eight-hour workday, why it doesn’t work for everyone, and three alternative working patterns.
2. Stay Connected with Your Team
While email is a great tool, it is impersonal, places added pressure on quick response times, and is not always received the way it is intended because it lacks the social cues and in-person interactions that allow us to more accurately process information.
Make sure your team connects using some type of videochat service (such as Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangout, or Slack’s video call feature) at least once a week. Face-to-face communication, even if it’s through a digital source, gives employees the opportunity to share what they’re working on and celebrate their achievements.
Additionally, schedule meetups! Meeting with other people on your team will increase trust and helps team members bond with each other.
If your team is very distributed, try Teleport to plan the most efficient location for your team to meet, along with how to get there, where to stay, and cost per employee.
3. Put Yourself Out There
Signing up to work on an extra project or task gives you the opportunity to be more visible to your team while working remotely and helps you build stronger relationships with more coworkers. By raising your hand and volunteering to take on an extra assignment that your colleague doesn’t have time to complete, you are adding to a community where members feel like they “have each other’s backs” – even if remote.
Remote workers don’t get to experience the same type of interactions that those who work in an office do. They don’t usually get the same type of praise or acknowledgment for their accomplishments, they don’t get to participate in company parties or outings, and they’re not in the room when your team hits major milestones worth celebrating. Therefore, it is important to keep your remote employees in the know about these events (perhaps through a videochat service, internal email, or chat system), praise their accomplishments from afar, and keep them feeling like they’re part of the team even while remote. For example, if your company is throwing a pizza party, send them a pizza so they can feel like they’re joining you.
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