As companies are determining whether to bring folks back to the office, devise a hybrid plan or allow employees to permanently work remotely, some type of remote work is likely here to stay. Love it or hate it, working remotely creates the opportunity to approach thinking about your career differently. How do you set boundaries with work hours? How do you stay engaged with co-workers in a virtual environment? Can you wear sweatpants all day now?
Working remotely looks a little different for everyone; however, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Read on to learn our top tips for successfully working remotely.
If you’re going to work remotely, you’re going to have to be comfortable with technology. By now, almost all companies who’ve created a work from home policy have implemented some sort of technology that allows for internal communications. Whether your team uses Teams, Slack, or another communication software, spend some time really exploring how the program works. Ensure that you know all of the capabilities so that you can use the system to its fullest potential.
As easy as it is to just groggily bring your laptop to your bed in the mornings, take time each day to get up, carry out your hygiene tasks, get dressed it whatever way is most comfortably productive to you, and sit up at a desk or table. Having a consistent routine helps your mind and body understand when you are in work mode vs. relaxation mode. Unless you’re in on-camera meetings (in which case, you should be dressed as if you were in the office unless told otherwise.), dress comfortably but not slouchy. It’s easy to want to wear the same baggy sweatpants day in and day out, but keeping a polished appearance helps you feel better, and in turn, work better.
As nice as it is to no longer experience commuting, working remotely can make it difficult to “un-plug” once the workday is over. Because your home is now your office, choosing to not check your email or accept a late meeting outside of work hours can be tough. Have a conversation with your leader to inquire about mutual expectations for working hours. Do they expect you to respond to a Teams message after the workday has ended? What is their policy on attending meetings scheduled outside of work hours? Does a 6am meeting mean an earlier log-off? When it comes to boundaries, communication is key.
Lastly, be sure to make effort in your relationships with co-workers. As great as technology is, there is nothing like having face-to-face conversations. Try to schedule in-person team events here and there, even something as simple as a lunch or happy hour. Or if everyone is scattered across the country, perhaps a yearly meet up. Face to face interaction reminds us that there is a person behind the email address.
Finding an efficient and effective way to work remotely is not a one size fits all situation. Look carefully about what works for you and the team. While many welcome this new paradigm shift in what society has determined to be an appropriate workplace, it’s not for everyone. If you have found that you just don’t like remote work, try meeting up with co-workers, take up a co-working space or start looking for opportunities with a traditional in person set up.
Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.
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