November 05, 2013
More and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely as tech innovations are introduced that make it easier to do so. Here are a few tips on how to be an effective remote worker!
So you’re allowed the luxury of being a remote worker? Gone are the days of stressing about traffic and train schedules; welcome to the world of more family time and working without your boss looking over your shoulder. But being a remote worker comes with new challenges. Here are 6 tips to be an effective remote worker:
Stay on Schedule – As a remote IT worker it can be very easy to get out of sync with the regular workday schedule. You should make sure to wake up and be available to your coworkers/clients at the same time you would if you were working from the office. It’s also important to track your hours, especially if you’re working at an hourly rate! If you are paid salary, it’s still beneficial to track your work hours because you are able to relay to your boss how much time you put in. You may also find that you tend to put in MORE hours working from home when you don’t keep track of your time because you don’t have to stop working and go home at the end of the day.
Eliminate Distractions – Distractions are inevitable whether you’re at the office or working from home. The problem is that when you’re working from home and get distracted, it’s much harder to get back on track without seeing your coworkers busy at work to remind you. If possible, you should set up a home office that is in its own specific area, preferably with a door you can shut that separates work and home. Explain to your family/roommates that you are “at work” for a specific length of time during the day and that they should avoid distracting you.
Dress the Part – Even though you might not see anyone except your cat it is important to get up, shower, and dress as if you are going into the office. This helps you get in the “work” state of mind and to remain in that state of mind for the entire workday. Dressing more professionally will help you think and act more professionally.
Avoid Downtime – Throughout the day you’re going to have downtime in between tasks. If you were in the office this time would most likely be spent on other work or catchingup with co-workers, but at home you’ll be tempted to spend your downtime on personal tasks (i.e. laundry, cleaning, etc.). Rather than get distracted on personal tasks you could spend your downtime learning something new! Create a lab for yourself and use your downtime to self-train on new software or technology that you’re not familiar with. Worried about cost? Ask your company to pay for the software; you won’t need the top-of-the-line most expensive out there for a simple home lab.
Get Used to Working Alone – This may not seem like it would be hard to do, but making the transition will probably be harder than you think. While working in an office you may get distracted by your coworkers; but when you’re working alone from home you may find that you enjoy bouncing ideas off of them. You may also find that you’re not accustomed to working without the background noise of typing and phone calls. Experiment with quiet music in the background to cut the silence of your home office.
Stay in Touch – Although you work remotely, you’re still part of a team. As a remote worker you need to keep consistent contact with your boss. This allows you to remain updated on the progress of the team’s goals and keeps your boss updated on your own progress. You should also communicate with your co-workers regularly. You don’t want to go into the office one day or to a company event and realize you’re completely out-of-tune with the office culture. Use as many tools and avenues as possible to communicate with your team, not just email! Tech innovations allow you to call, text, and video conference easily. The variety will help to create a more “real” relationship and keep you more connected and accessible to the team.
What do you think makes a great remote worker? Let us know!
Posted By: Sarah Brown