Remote work is a growing reality for organizations around the world. It presents a challenge, but it also presents an opportunity. With the right tools, approaches, and habits, individuals and teams working remotely can be even more productive than teams who work together in the same location. This post offers tips to employees working remotely. Don’t miss 6 Tips for Being IT-Ready to Work from Home and Tips for Managing Remote Workers and Teams.
- Set up your physical space for success.
- If possible, create a workspace that can be closed off from the rest of your apartment or house. It may be tempting to set up in your kitchen or living room, but if there is any chance of that space becoming distracting or shared during the day, it won’t work well.
- Set up your workspace in a location that is clear from distractions for you, and also clear from distractions for your colleagues with whom you collaborate. Set up in an area which is quiet, so you can actively participate on calls without being on mute, and where you have the ability to be seen on video.
- Reliable internet is essential. Test that your connection is strong enough to be able to do your essential work tasks, including holding calls with colleagues. If your internet is not strong, consider options such as switching plans or providers, getting a signal booster, or speaking with your organization’s IT focal point for other suggestions.
- Be sure you have a reliable laptop or computer. Speak with your organization’s IT focal point if your equipment needs to be serviced or updated.
- Use a high-quality headset or high-quality speaker/mic. Do not rely on your internal laptop speakers/mic.
- For more tips on how to make sure your technology works for you, see Switchboard’s recent blog post 5 Tips to Be IT-Ready for Remote Work!
- Platforms like Skype for Business, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and even GChat can offer great ways to keep in touch with your colleagues. Use a platform like this to set up small groups for collaboration, get in touch with a specific colleague, and hold calls and meetings. Whatever platform you use, be sure to learn how to message a colleague directly, how to initiate a call, answer a call, use video, mute and unmute, access sound settings, etc.
- Training platforms like Zoom and WebEx can be useful for hosting meetings which require more advanced collaboration tools, such as polling, break out rooms, and whiteboarding.
- Set up shared folders using a platform like DropBox, Box, or Google Drive to collaborate with colleagues on documents. You can easily share documents with others via these services, and also edit them together in real time. Be sure you are up-to-speed on your organization’s protocols related to information security when using cloud file storage.
- Determine a routine for yourself and speak with your manager or team about your routine so everyone is on the same page. When, generally, will you begin work for the day? When will you end?
- Work with your colleagues to decide what collaboration tools to use and how you will use them.
- Agree with your colleagues to always use video on calls, unless low connectivity prevents it.
- Set up or continue regular 1:1 meetings with your manager. Especially if working remotely is new for you or your team, schedule more frequent 1:1s than usual. You can always reduce the frequency later, but it’s best to have a more frequent opportunity to touch base if working remotely is new.
- Join calls a few minutes early to make sure there are no technical difficulties. On the call, actively participate. Close your email client or turn off desktop notifications before joining a call so you don’t get distracted.
LinkedIn Learning Course – Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success – Note: To take this free online course, you need a LinkedIn account, but you do not need to purchase LinkedIn Learning (or begin a trial of LinkedIn Learning). After completing this course, you will be able to:
- Describe the ideal home setup for working remotely.
Summarize the process of onboarding a remote worker.
- Explain the importance of work-life balance and how to maintain it while working remotely.
Cite the tools remote workers can use to stay connected to the home office.
- Describe how to manage conflict with teammates while working remotely.
- Explain how to build culture in a remote team.