Alright the future of work is here to stay and we all need to prepare for the best remote work practices. Regardless of what happens, work has changed forever, people will go back to the office surely, but the dynamic will now be a hybrid mode.
So learning how to work remotely will be a skill in your arsenal that might just propel you to your next career promotion. If you've asked yourself the question "how to work from home" - you've reached the right place.
If you want to succeed working from home or working remotely this is a must, which is why it's the top position. You need to build a system that builds a body clock. I used to get into the zone when I got onto the train and grabbed by morning coffee at my office, when I couldn't do this anymore I spiraled. This was until I started building an atomic habit again, micro habits that signal the mind for whats about to happen next. Nowadays my trigger is early morning juice, similarly so, build a routine. Get out of bed, go to the gym, have a process.
Separate your living, from your office space. Even if it means working from a coffee shop. You need to keep your area of comfort for leisure and work for work. This is an important work tip as separation of concerns as well as "environments" make a significant difference to motivation. Pretty much the same reason people go to libraries when they can read at home
Its very easy to be sucked into 24 hour work when working from home. One of the keys to working remotely is creating time boundaries. Employers may feel like you're available to message after work hours. In addition you might get FOMO from all the slack notifications. Fight the urge, set your boundaries. 80% of 130 people I spoke to said they were constantly fatigued from working from home. This is a very important tip amongst other work from home tips and tricks. Stay disciplined to time
How to be productive working from home ? Leave your home. Ironic - I know but cabin fever can creep into you. As humans we need social interaction and movement. Step away from your home, go for a walk, meet a friend or better yet exercise. This will stimulate both your body muscles as well as your brain. Feeling fresh air graze your face makes a big difference, especially when you're glued to your screen
We've been remote for nearly 1.5 years now and I always advice social meetings for working remotely. Catch up with any team-mate in the same city as you and make it a monthly if not weekly thing. Building bonds with people in real life not only helps you create long lasting relationships, but also helps you connect deeper with another person. 70% of communication is non - verbal, which you miss out over zoom calls.
"Minimise the number of distractions you have in your office" - simple yet sage advice for working remotely. We've got a concentration span of 12 seconds, with slack messages going off every moment combined with our innate nature of not wanting to miss out on important conversations leads us to doing absolutely no work at all. I encourage you to embrace an async first work culture, tools like remoteworkly.co help with async video meetings or even loom for screen recording.
Meets really hurt productivity. 72% of managers say meetings are a complete waste and 60% of employees think they will work better without meetings. This is the same reason Zoom fatigue is becoming a big issue, because you need to have your camera on and focus the entire time. Try encourage a culture where you have certain days with no meetings. Any conversation that needs to happen can occur in an asynchronous way, weather thats via tools like remoteworkly.co or vidyard. If you're reporting bugs, use feedback tools like bugheard or remoteworkly.co/show
Focus on getting work done, try set a decorum where you can leave meetings you're not needed in anymore. Teams that embrace the concept of async communication will win. This will reduce anxiety within teams, improve culture and make sure the meetings that do happen are purely focused on value and outcome. This can be done using tools like remoteworkly.co for async meetings and startups or even voice notes like recordify
There's a science behind this but it works. We often think starting with easy tasks gives us the feeling of accomplishment and builds up momentum. There is some truth to this, however by the time you reach the tough/long task to complete you're left drained of energy and delay it to tomorrow, which never comes. Start with the toughest tasks, its the best way to be productive working from home
There will be obvious disconnect between you and your team mates when you're remote. That is the nature of VoIP communication. So make sure you overcommunicate. This does not mean to spam people with 100 messages, but rather use video and tools that capture as much data as possible for you to make it easier for the other person to understand what you're doing without having to reach back to you."
My favorite tip in my list of remote work best practices. I strongly believe async communication is the way of the future. Leverage using async communication whenever and wherever possible without organizing impromptu/time blocking calls. There's several tools out there that let you take full advantage of async communication, remoteworkly, loom, vidyard, marker (for website feedback), remoteworkly (for QA feedback), trello, asana
The pomodoro technique is one of the best productivity tips I came across. Its an old technique that lets you cut down your work into an investment reward balance. This builds another atomic habit loop where you learn to enjoy difficult tasks in anticipation of the reward. Your day is broken down into 25 minute work chunks of pure focus with 5 minute breaks, do this 4 times and then take a 20 minute break, rinse and repeat. Checkout timechi.com
The easiest way to start working when you're feeling down or demotivated is by sharing your progress. Social accountability plays a big role in human motivation, something about putting our reputation at risk that kicks us in the behind. In addition, sharing your progress becomes a incredible feedback cycle, where you encourage others with your progress or cause them to reach out to you and motivate you to push faster. Lastly, having progress updates is a great way to look back and see how far you come, consequentially motivating you to work better
This rolls back to my earlier point about async conversations, Paul Graham mentioned that one of the downfalls of remote work is impromptu meetings where a large number of incredible ideas are usually generated is being robbed from todays workforce. Yes this is true, but on the flip side, most of the inefficiencies in working from an office came from these "tap on the shoulder" interruptions. I no longer pick up calls unless the message following up says "this is urgent", your concentration is sacred in 2020. Protect it at all costs.
Employing a daily manifest of long term goals, short term goals, micro tasks as well as schedule has been a game changer in working remote. You almost get to "grade" each day in terms of the success you wanted to achieve and what you did achieve. This lets you work out what is the most effective work from home schedule for you. Each week, analyze the good days and bad days, pick up patterns that lead to bad days and those that lead to good days and optimize to focus on the good patterns.
To prevent the feeling of isolation, use video software whenever you can. Loom is a great place to begin, or even zoom for work meetings. I know it can be daunting at times, but it provides a great path to building deeper and more meaningful relationships with teams. PS - when you're chatting, look into the camera and not your screen. Makes double the impact
Do NOT cancel your one on ones with your team mates, they're more important than every given there is no face to face relationship with your direct supervisor or subordinate. Use a template with a clear structure to find out how your team is doing, how things can be done better. This builds trust and encourages them to keep motivated even when people feel disconnected.
Use tools like donut to encourage your team members to learn about each other. This is vital for new employees who don't have a chance to meet new people given you're restricted to a computer, donut runs introduction meetings between people. Encouraging that communication between new colleagues is a great way to improve team bond, morale and company culture
Yes, do it. As human's we're not made to be seat potatoes. Despite how tasty potatoes are, you can't aspire to be one. Get out, hit the gym and exercise. The endorphins release as well as adrenaline rush you get post exercise is fundamental for peak performance. You won't find one successful person who doesn't preach for a daily exercise schedule
Working at home with kids or even a dog can be very disturbing and sometimes embarrassing. Even though everyone is working remote, the noise of a grinder in the background whilst you're delivering your Q4 results can be quite distractive. Use tools like krisp that magically cut out background noise and give you the confidence that regardless of who's speaking at the back, your colleagues won't be able to hear it.
I assure you many of your friends will be googling "how to work well remotely" too. Check in with your friends, try make it a rule to message five people everyday to just check in on their mental health or maintain conversation. It'll remove that feeling of isolation when working remotely
Your slack or Microsoft teams chat becomes a hub for every conversation you have. It is important to maintain a good etiquette and is one of the best way to work from home. This means creating rules within your team to set up "Away" statuses, use wiki's when discussing important topics, replying in threads vs polluting the main chat