Have you worked from home? If you haven’t, there’s a good chance you will in the future. In a section entitled, “The Tipping Point of Remote Working,” Gallup outlines the steady rise of employees working remotely—full-time, part-time, and occasionally.
Remote work provides some incredible benefits to the company and employees, but it needs to be done well. Companies must develop the right management and resources to support telecommuters, and remote workers need to develop specific skills and strengths to succeed.
So whether you currently work remotely, or plan on taking advantage of future opportunities to do so, we recommend these tips.
#1. Be Tech-Savvy
An Entrepreneur article wisely lists “tech-savvy” as a tip for remote workers. Why? Because technology makes remote work possible.
Just to clarify, being tech-savvy doesn’t mean that you need to be a computer nerd who can disassemble and reassemble a desktop computer. Tech-savvy is just a basic understanding of technology; because, as Anna Johansson points out, you can’t afford for “your remote employees to constantly be tying up your IT team with simple problems that shouldn’t be an issue.”
Most importantly, remote workers must be “tech-savvy” by being willing to learn about and integrate unfamiliar technology into their work process. Forbes specifically suggests companies and remote employees utilize technology like management software, video conferencing, VoIP, instant messaging, and file sharing.
#2. Designate a Work Space
If you work from home often, designate a workspace. It can be at the dining table, the kitchen counter, a spare room, or even a desk in your bedroom. You can turn just about any space into your “work zone,” but try to find a space with quiet, privacy, and minimal distractions.
Within your designated workspace, keep all of your resources—physical and virtual—organized. You don’t want to tear your house apart to find that misplaced file. Also, organization and quiet become especially important because you will frequently make phone calls and participate in video conferences.
Lauren Maffeo, a remote worker for Aha, reveals that “colleagues notice piles of laundry and un-brushed hair on video calls,” and that these dirty dishes and smeared glasses create distractions for your colleagues and “raise questions about how organized or committed you are.” Don’t be that co-worker.
#3. Set Goals and Meet Deadlines
How do you “show” your boss and co-workers that you’re really working? If you’re at home or a remote location, your boss and co-workers don’t see you dutifully working at your desk from 9–5.
So as a remote worker, you must emphasize the work you produce. The best way to illustrate and highlight your work is by setting goals with specific deadlines. Communicate your progress on your goals: I finished a draft of that report today, I’ve talked to 15 of the 20 customers about their experience, etc. Reporting your progress can be verbal check-ins, emails, spreadsheets, chat, etc.
Consistently reporting your progress and completing goals will let everyone know that you’re working hard alongside them.
#4. Broadcast Your Schedule / Work Hours
Do you prefer waking up early, taking a siesta at lunch, and doing an hour of yoga in the afternoon? Good news! As a remote worker you can create a schedule that fits your needs and preferences. Just make sure there is a schedule for when you work and when you’re available.
By being overtly communicative about your availability, people can schedule times to communicate with you in real time. And working in real time communication is important for remote workers.
#5. Get Comfortable on the Phone and with Video Conferencing
This is an important tip! As a remote worker, you will talk on the phone and appear in video conferences all the time! So make sure you have the professional skills to communicate on the phone and appear professional in video conferences.
Be Effective Working From Home
Take advantage of new opportunities to successfully work from the comfort of your own home. While at work, you can wear bunny slippers, eat cake for breakfast, and do a load of laundry; you just have to be willing to learn about new technology, set goals and meet deadlines, and comfortably communicate via phone and video.