The first association with the term remote work is a dream-like work, while lying in a hammock at the sea side. We take it as a holiday, rather than usual daily responsibilities at an office. But when you start your remote job, you soon figure out that your table, a chair (or a hammock) and your laptop become your work place for a full busy day. The same as an office with a slight difference that it’s not necessary to wake up early and commute, or having a chance to escape to any warm place from a soul-crushing winter and work from anywhere you want. Because what matters in the long run is the result.
While you can easily maintain high-quality work and be a professional at your office desk, it takes some extra skills, to be a good remote employee. As Atwix is a distributed company, and I personally work remotely, it is essential to know how to be a good remote worker. What does it take to be a good one? In order to reach high-quality results, a self-organization, efficiency, energy management, and pleasure from your work should always be your friends. Below, I’ll try to describe a couple of my own tips that help me in my daily remote life.
Daily work schedule
A great misconception is that a remote work can be started a minute before a daily meeting. Truth is, that even before a meeting you must tune yourself into work and have a plan at least for the first half of the day. Morning exercise, a cup of coffee, tasty breakfast, a book or 10 minutes of fresh air can all help you to wake up and get ready.
It is also a good habit to set your timer to rest or do a little workout for 5-10 minutes every hour. This helps you maintain your energy, gives a rest for your eyes and some extra boost of focus. This is very useful, even when you are too busy, to prevent fatigue. A big plus of working from home is that you can relax singing along to your favorite song on the radio or dance a bit, which cannot be always done in an office.
An evening walk or outside activities in the end of your working day, help you get rid of accumulated stress. And after dinner, some planing will also help you keep focus during the next day and maintain your schedule.
Why is it important to prioritize energy management over time? Sometimes we are able to manage our time, but more often it isn’t on our side. The time is limited, but we can always produce personal energy. You just need to find your own way of harvesting energy and improving your efficiency (like I’ve mentioned above, I sing).
Also some of us are more energetic in the morning, when others are in the evening. It is necessary to consider and use it for your own good, especially if your job allows. For example, try working on big and complicated tasks in the morning, when your energy level is at its peak. But even when you are required to work with such tasks not at your most productive time, you may want to learn how to accumulate personal energy and relax.
Communication in remote work is a thread connecting you with your colleagues from other cities / countries. It helps you avoid the feeling of loneliness and shows your immediate participation in work process. Chatting about work, life etc. makes you feel connected.
Avoid bad manners. For example, this can be when you unexpectedly disappear from an active conversation for an indefinite time. Therefore it is always good to forewarn about your unavailability and define its timeframes. Do not be afraid of over-communication, especially when you have some work-related questions. In messages, letters, try to be clear, cause working remotely deprives you of an ability to easily tapping on a shoulder and talking to your colleague.
Visual contact is also an important point, especially for your colleagues, to remind them, that they work with a real human and not just a chat avatar.
These three simple tips really affect remote work. They are also quite linked. For example, training a habit of daily scheduling, we can better accumulate working energy, and vice versa; knowing the time and periods of our productivity peaks, we set up the best working schedule. And communication helps you be close with the your team, even when you’re hundred miles away. Also it builds strong relationships and helps your deliver great results.
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