Whether I like it or not, many people are skeptical about other people working remotely. Some even think it directly correlates with decreased productivity. But that’s not the case. Remote work is so much more than the stereotypes of Netflix binging and pajama lounging. It’s a workstyle that encourages a balanced, flexibible and healthy lifestyle. Just as importantly, when applied and executed well, it’s a business style that allows companies to do and be more.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a big fan of this lifestyle. And, honestly, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon (sorry, haters).
The percentage of people in the United States who work remotely full-time has increased 159% from 2017 to 2019. And some people even predict that remote work will soon be the new normal. It’s a cultural shift, and it’s here to stay.
Despite its increasing popularity, though, it’s not an easy adjustment for everyone. These shifts don’t happen overnight, you know? And you can’t let your preferred lifestyle interfere with your team’s productivity or morale. The bottom line is you’ll need to put a little bit more time and effort into making sure that communication and projects run smoothly. That’s okay and it is certainly worth the effort. After awhile it will just be your new normal.
Based on my experience of running a remote/hybrid office for the past almost four (4) years, and managing a team that is 100% off-site, here are some quick and easy ways that you can be nip stereotypes in the rear end and rise to the occasion to be the kind of remote employee your boss and teammates love and love to work with.
Ramp-Up Communication! It’s all about the quality and consistency of communication.
- Schedule Regular Meetings
Regular meetings are crucial but so is their timing. Remote teams should have at least one set check-in day and time each week. Monday mornings work for my team but there’s no rule as to what day(s) of the week to go with. (Check-out my article on keeping remote teams motivated and mindful)
- Be Incredibly Detailed
The more details you can exchange the better. I sometimes give my full-time paralegal play-by-plays as I’m moving around throughout the day like, “leaving courthouse A now, headed to the post office and then courthouse B.” She doesn’t necessarily need to know my every move but I imagine it giving some sort of structure to our virtual work environment. After all if I was in the office with her she would know what I was doing and when I was coming and going. Providing extra details like this contributes to our level of connection throughout the day.
- Respond Promptly
Be aware that not everyone is going to be happy about your new workstyle and they will find any chance they can to point out issues with communication. Responding to emails and phone calls promptly is the best way to cancel that. Do set boundaries though. My staff aren’t scared to tell me when they aren’t taking calls outside of regular work hours. I expect and respect that.
- Provide Progress Updates Via Work Flow Software
We utilize Asana for our team workflow and I turn to Trello for my own personal boards and task lists. There are plenty of options, I’ve tried most of them (free trials or free versions) to get a feel for what I liked best. It’ll be a personal choice but also think about your team and what will be best for them. Other Workflow technology that is effective and affordable include platforms like Basecamp (for larger teams), Monday.com (specific industries, check the website), Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Hold Yourself Accountable
Take the initiative and set regular check-ins with your boss or supervisor as well as the teammates you collaborate with. Add more detail into all modes of communications (with reason—no one cares that you’re taking a bathroom break). Be responsive, proactive, and reliable. If you do all these things, it’ll feel like you never left the office.
For inspiration, motivation and outside-the-box ideas for living a healthy and happy work life follow me:
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