Remote work is exciting and opens up, for both individuals and companies, a whole new world of (global) opportunities otherwise not possible. But remote work is also a setup and a discipline quite different from working at the office.
Let’s see what goes into making a good remote worker, and how you can become one.
1. Communicate well
Being an excellent communicator might be the number one most important skill in a remote work environment.
- (Almost) over-communicate – when you work online, you won’t bump into your boss and colleagues at the coffee corner or water cooler, so it’s important to intentionally communicate all the things you’d otherwise be casually chatting about at the office
- Write clear and concise updates – the ability to express yourself well in writing is crucial in digital work; in a remote team, people don’t know what you’ve been up to, but they also don’t have the whole day to read updates
- Be polite and friendly
- Use emoticons to convey emotion to your team and avoid misunderstandings
2. Pick clear priorities and focus on them
When you work remotely, you’re more in charge of your own schedule – and there’s less control and micromanagement than when you’re at the office within eyesight of your boss and colleagues.
So working remotely comes with lots of flexibility, but equally a lot of distractions. If you work from home, you know that sooner or later you’ll find yourself doing the laundry, chatting or doing chores with your family, going down a rabbit hole on YouTube or something similar. If you work from a coworking space or shared office, there’s always another interesting person to have coffee with or a networking event you might want to attend.
Next thing you know, it’s 5 pm and you have only addressed small, insignificant tasks.
Here are some tips to help with that:
- Eat The Frog: To put it simply, eating the frog is the process of identifying your most difficult task of the day and completing it before you do any other ones. A great way to fight procrastination!
- Eisenhower Matrix
Eisenhower’s strategy for prioritizing and organizing your tasks is simple. Using the decision matrix below, you separate your actions based on four possibilities.
- Urgent and important – do these immediately
- Important, but not urgent – schedule these for later, and keep that time!
- Urgent, but not important – delegate these to someone else
- Neither urgent nor important – eliminate these
The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“How should I spend my time each week?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).
- Manage distractions
What do you think of these?
- 84% of users keep their inbox open in the background at all times
- 70% of emails being opened within 6 seconds of receipt
- 40% of knowledge workers never get 30 minutes straight of focused time in a workday
- 70% never get a full hour a day of dedicated focused time
In case you’re wondering, this is all very bad!
So block some timeslots to be socially active online and reply to your inbox, WA and other messages, and allow plenty of time for deep work and focus.
A good remote worker is able to solve more problems than they create or bring forth.
Your boss and colleagues will really appreciate if you creatively seek ways to problem solve without extra help
4. Show self-drive and motivation
Once again, in a remote work environment, there is less micromanagement and control. Micromanagement is almost impossible when teams work from different locations and (potentially) time zones.
So make sure you demonstrate the ability to complete tasks without constant – it’s essential!
I’ll continue the tips on our next article, stay tuned!
Writer: Lavinia Iosub.
Lavinia is a future of work enthusiast and the founder of Remote Skills Academy and Managing Partner at Livit International, a service provider and support ecosystem for start-ups. She has worked, studied and lived in 8 countries on 4 continents, and has visited 35+ more. Lavinia has been working remotely or partially remotely for over 10 years in various capacities: as a team member, freelancer, contractor and entrepreneur.