Many employers have for several years now allowed their employees on occasion, or on a regular bases work remotely. For the first several years of my career it was an option to occasionally work remote. For the last two years I’ve worked completely remote. With COVID-19 forcing many to work remote at the moment I just wanted to give some very quick insights and tips that I have found useful to working remote.
Keep a Constant Schedule
One of the best things you can do when working remote is to keep as constant of a schedule as possible. Try and start your work day at the same time on a regular basis. If possible take your lunch break, or other scheduled breaks at the same time you would in an office. This will help you get to your desk and get focused in on work.
Communication is Key
Be in constant contact through whatever communication is preferred with your other coworkers. Reach out about assignments, reach out about watercooler talk, just keep in constant communication.
Apps to Communicate
There are multiple avenues of communication. I’ve found Slack, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Basecamp, and other messaging platforms to be helpful. Email and phone work great too and are sometimes preferred.
One disadvantage to not working together in an office is the inability to sit with someone and share your screen to go over something together, but luckily with tools like Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting this becomes a non-issue. One screen recording program I’ve found very useful has been Loom. Loom is a free* browser extension for Chrome that allows you to record and then share your browser window, or full desktop. It’s a great presentation tool.
Working in an office can have several distractions that can hinder work. Loud co-workers, a bad music playlist, useless and sometimes endless meetings, co-workers walking up to your desk to have random conversations, and the list can go on. Working remote can provide a new set of distractions like the comfort of home, doing a quick chore, turning on your tv, and a again the list can go on. What distracts you may be different from a co-worker, but there are distractions in an office and at home alike and you have to put yourself in a position to limit those to efficiently get the work done.
One thing about going into an office that you don’t get when you work from home, is at some point you can pack up and leave. It’s important to step away from work at the end of the work day to “leave” work. Get away from you computer, desk, and phone if you can and detach from work. It’s beyond important to do this for your sanity.