Workplace Issues

Working Remotely And Being Effective: A Complete Guide to Turn You Into a Pro

Written by mrafeeq · 13 min read >

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Alexandra Cote has worked remotely since 2013. Unfortunately, remote work is no more the future, and it is a very costly proposition. For the moment, companies are switching to a more distributed team, yet not everyone involved is ready for that abrupt switch. The following guide remains your go-to source for managing challenges hindering your productivity when working from home—that situation we are all facing right now. And though a reduction in infrastructure costs may seem attractive to entrepreneurs and developers when done out of nowhere, the switch to telecommuting seems not to live up to the hype.

In a study conducted by Brandman University among employers with over 5000 employees, it was found out that 40% of the businesses already have a significant number of remote workers. Another 56% are looking at the possibility of using more work-at-home workers shortly.

Online jobs abound, and employers are now exploring the possibility of hiring people to work with their companies remotely. Even those already employed are now given the option of working at home instead of travelling to and from the office every day.

This new trend in hiring and working presents a unique challenge in the “office” environment. Work-at-home employees have greater freedom, less stress, and more time to manage their affairs. However, these advantages also come with their own set of challenges. If you are new to this setup, you may find yourself at a disadvantage because you must make many adjustments to become genuinely effective.

Here are some practical tips that can set you apart as an efficient remote worker

1. Know and manage expectations

Every employee has a job description. But more than knowing what you are required to do, it is essential to be aware of the management’s expectations. So here are some questions that you need to ask:

• Are you required to log in at a particular time?

• What deliverables are you expected to produce?

• What is your timeline for each task assigned?

• Do you need to send a daily accomplishment report?

• Who else is on the team?

• How can you reach out to other co-employees if you need something?

There are myriads of questions that you need to get the answers to. Your hiring manager will most likely cover as many aspects of your work during orientation. However, there will still be concerns that will not be addressed. It is your duty as a remote employee to initiate and ask. Taking the initiative will show your employer that you are concerned about your job and your performance.

2. Know your tools

Companies provide their remote employees with software and other tools that can monitor the work being done. Learn how to use these tools and ask questions or clarifications if things are not clear to you.

3. “Meet” your team

It is easier to meet coworkers in an office setting because you are physically in one place. This is one of the biggest challenges of stay-at-home work, mainly when completing your tasks depends on the output of other team members. Take time to know who you are working with. You may reach out to them by sending emails to introduce yourself.

Another essential aspect that you need to be aware of is the time difference. You might be working with other people who live in other countries. Know when they are online!

4. Have an open line of communication

If all of you have flexible working time, you must have the means to communicate with each other. Setting at least one meeting per week will keep everyone in touch, especially if you are all working together on a project. Also, keep everyone updated on the progress of your work, most especially your managers — which leads to the next tip.

5. Keep your boss updated

Anyone can be easily forgotten when working at home. Remember, all that will remind your managers of you is your output. So be proactive in reminding your boss that “I’m here!” Always keep in touch, but do not overdo it to the point of becoming annoying.

6. Know and understand cultural differences

This is a challenge that is unique to remote working. Working in a physical office makes it easier to know and understand your coworkers because you are more likely to come from the same country and share the same culture.

Remote employment provides you with the opportunity to work with other people living in other countries. However, while it is rewarding to work in an international setting, it is also equally challenging to be collaborating with different nationalities. Therefore, you need to be extra careful about what you say and how you say it.

A lively and spirited discussion in a conference room has dynamics that cannot be brought to a conference call over the internet. You are deprived of the ability to see their physical reaction, which significantly impacts you gauge other people’s response to what you say. You also do not have the same privilege of pulling a colleague to one corner and talking about your differences one-on-one.

7. Know when to talk and when to send an email

Sending an email is the fastest way to communicate when working remotely. You can sit down, compose your email, and then click send. The challenge with this mode of communication is the delay in response. If you need an answer immediately, call!

Secondly, please send an email when you need to discuss something very important or urgent about the project you are working on and set a meeting. There are aspects in a project that is best communicated verbally. Clarifications can easily be discussed over a phone call rather than through an exchange of email messages. However, do not forget to send a summary of your verbal discussion once your meeting ends. This will provide documentation of what transpired in case someone fails something.

8. Know yourself

It is your whole outlook at working remotely that will spell the difference between success and failure. Know what personal behaviours you have that can prevent you from excelling as a remote employee. Are you the procrastinating type? Do you know how to prioritise? How is your organisational skill? These are just some questions that you need to ask yourself.

Strategies and tools for remote work

There’s no one way to work remotely: methods and tools are dependent on your way of working and your business’s policy. They’re just as much less than what it’s average at work. What has worked for me or someone else could not be as effective for you, but it can guide you where you could first get there and work out what you lacked from your remote work process. To encourage you to find innovative solutions, I’ll give you all the steps you should take to work in small environments for your small projects and how to manage those remote projects for.

You should note down all of the necessary tools and technology you’ll need to do your job correctly, as well as having the capacity to video conference without losing connection. Many remote workers, for example, invest in an excellent pair of noise-cancelling headphones so that they may work anywhere – even if the background noise is loud. In addition, some professionals believe that a wireless keyboard and mouse, or even a second screen, are critical to their productivity.

Invest in Good Technology

Invest in dependable technology A remote worker will tell you that having consistent WiFi is critical to their success. Still, there’s more to an effective configuration than just an internet connection. It would help if you thought about what tools and technologies you’ll need to do your job well while purchasing a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones, for example. Many employees invest

TIP

It combines the flexibility of numerous software programs with an intuitive interface to create remote online collaboration in your industry. Microsoft launched online versions for Word Excel and PowerPoint. OnlyOffice provides an additional capability to edit a document or comment with a single click. For software development, you already understand GitHub and GitLab tools that contain other collaboration features. Pair programming is an easy way to help you solve bugs by implementing two sets of algorithms. For further information about the use of pair, programming visits the wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_programming.

What is a time tracking?

Time tracking is the process of recording and monitoring the time spent within the activities and projects. It’s typically done using an automatic time tracking unit or digital stopwatch—automated time tracking software records everything you do on your computer. A stopwatch requires you to click the Play Symbol if you begin working on a task and stop working on it. The Gantt diagram can show a person what progress he is doing and what he must improve on. Timesheets show physical or virtual proof of how your work has been. They make a transparent team enabling each person to work equal hours and justify their hours.

How do I organise my tasks?

Suppose you feel like me and dislike seeing the list of many projects gathered at the end of a single column, then Kanban might be what you wanted. You may probably already know about this process if you’re using the tool Trello or maybe you’ve seen physical Kanban boards before without really knowing what they were. Aside from the Kanban boards, there are to-do lists for simple tasks that don’t need any explanation or personal studies. It offers detailed steps of job work that do more than just the name of the job.

The main communication method

Slack is a good choice if you want to connect it to other applications, including Twitter Giphy, Google Calendar, GitHub Zapier, and many more. The downside is that the free version does not include video calls that allow just up to 10K messages. The best video conferences and robust messaging histories make up the bulk of remote work. Google Hangouts or Skype for business are some of the most used methods. You can use them for creating whiteboards or drawing up a wiring diagram, and that’s it. Screen sharing with other remote people is an absolute necessity.

Files

Every business requires some secure storage location for all of the files that can be tampered with. The project management platform you already work with should have a menu bar called “Files” or “Attached”, where you can read all documents and files ever used. You’ll also see this under every project and task, but it takes longer if you want edited photos that you asked for seven weeks ago. You can easily organise the folder based on months (in a bit of bit if necessary). The solution will be Google Drive or Dropbox for easy archiving.

Keep everything secure

81% of the Wi-Fi-related attacks against the interviewing Company happened in coffee shops. 57% of CIOs believe mobile security issues were caused by the presence of remote workers last year. What you download online could potentially damage your work files and cause them to be corrupt. There’s even a cybersecurity issue you shouldn’t ignore. Avoid clicking a link, and the following day all of the Company’s information is gone. Do you think I’m lying? These results show an astonishing 62% on iPASS authentication services!

Make sure you don’t forget anything.

In Paymo, You can assign dates reminders to any of your work tasks that be advised a couple of days before its deadline. You can also use Google Calendar, which allows you to set multiple reminders and invite guests to the activities you created. Paymo is the latest version of the Paymo app available on iOS and Android at a discounted price of $99.99

Take breaks during the work schedule.

Taking breaks is even more critical in this situation. That’s because, in a typical office, it’s simple to drop by a coworker’s desk to chat or go to the break room for a cup of coffee. Yet, in one poll, almost 90% of American employees said that taking a lunch break helped them feel rejuvenated and ready to get back.

Remote collaboration on documents and files

Google Docs is still the preferred tool for document writing and editing. Team members may also write, edit comments, mark mistakes and praise a workpiece in real-time—no more email chats with 20 versions. Google was a trend changer and is still a popular choice for cloud document creation for remote projects.

Create Dedicated Office Space

You’ll always have fewer distractions if you create a workstation in your home that is only for your job. Make a room ( or even a closet!) in your house that isn’t currently being used and transform it into your own business office. Of course, because your workplace is at home, you may swap it up from time to time to give

Your dedicated workspace need not be at home.

Consider your workstation. Create a conducive atmosphere for success by considering your workspace. Make sure you’re inspired by the ambience and ready to take on whatever comes your way, whether it’s finding a great co-working location near you, taking up a spot at a local coffee shop, or establishing a special place for working from home.

One of the major myths surrounding remote work is that people who don’t work in a corporate office are lonely. To ensure that you’re feeling supported and connected to the “real world”, we recommend becoming a part of a remote community – either virtually or in-person at a local co working space or collective . Some collectives are simply spaces that house remote workers who want to collaborate, while others provide you with the opportunity to network and socialise. No matter what type of community you join, make sure you find one that works for your personality and needs.

What started as a few companies hiring remote employees has grown into an entire industry devoted to remote work. In fact, a study by Global Workplace Analytics shows that more than 54 million Americans spend at least half of their week working from home or outside the office.

Don’t forget to schedule your “in-person” meetings!

Remote teams often assume they don’t need in-person meetings because everyone is remote and can chat online

Self-monitoring your work

Remote workers have to be aware of time’s evolution and own progress. Thus even remotely working employees are monitored. Projects need attribution to be done with time management. To finish a project, you have to watch your progress and make sure it’s on schedule. This is essential for the productivity of everyone involved in the work. You’ll always be aware of how much time is left before finishing your work.

Tips for working remotely and being efficient at it

You may still have trouble accepting the new lifestyle. There are several simple ways to tackle remote work: adapt to your new way of working.

Avoid Personal Tasks  during work hours

It’s critical not to allow household tasks to take over your schedule as a good remote employee. Sure, doing laundry during a work break is fine, but be careful not to let random house chores control your day.

Block websites that distract you

Put the iPhone in aeroplane mode and block the sites on your web browser. Facebook’ messenger has an option that allows people to silence conversations temporarily or permanently. Apps such as FocusMe also let users block social media sites during work hours, making it easier to concentrate and stay productive. For example, Chelsea Krause, the author of Merchant Maverick, keeps her phone locked and out of reach during the workday. FocusMe also helps to block social networks during workplace hours.

Do some of your work outside of the online.

Without using a laptop, most things we do are writing a letter or drawing a logo on a pen. If it takes too much time, you can always keep the information you used in your daily routine nearby. I keep the pictures in a clear notebook. Make a physical Kanban board for everything a few hours away from the world to spend time off the internet on the internet. It’s better to spend less time away from the internet and far away from the computer.

Make the most of every video call.

Try getting several details and company updates from just one call. This way, you will not need to call them constantly via Skype or spam their Slack channel. Make a list of questions beforehand to answer all the problems you face during the day. Setting a time for a day of meetings would also be helpful. Finally, get a time for conversation. Also, if you’ll be making video calls while working remotely, make sure your background isn’t too distracting.

Set Office Hours

Set Office Hours and Stick to Them Decide what your regular work hours will be and inform your boss and colleagues of your schedule. Then do all you can to follow it. Your coworkers need to know when you’ll be available for work tasks and meetings, and when you’re clocked out and on personal time. Creating a set schedule also makes it more likely that you won’t consistently work long hours, which will support your overall work-life balance. Whatever working hours you pick, do it on a regular basis to signal the conclusion of your working day. Make It Personal Above all, assess what works best for you. Meetings/working sessions should be prepared for ahead of time. If required, handle personal business; carve out “quiet time” to focus on your task list items.

Training your employees to work remotely

Remote workers suffer huge productivity losses when working online. This is because working online brings distractions which most don’t recognise. I will explore the seven best ways to maximise the productivity of remote staff members at work. Virtual team leaders can also learn about using online distractions to maximise efficiency.

Schedule frequent check-ins

There is one particular challenge with virtual life. It’s social isolation. Check-in can help remote workers feel like family. However, if these workers are ignored too long, it could affect employee health and wellbeing and slow down productivity. Do this individually and on the team level and assess their work performance both in work performance and on a personal level.

Time management when working from home

Sometimes tasks may require more time since the personnel doesn’t know how to deal with remote teams. Other tasks might get delayed if they fail to manage enough time or lack dexterity with online tools. As a result, this job will sometimes result in learning disengagement.

Monitor learner engagement and performance

Remote team management training your team to work online won’t be as visible on staff as in physical business environments as on your remote workers. So it’s also easy to ignore learners for extended periods, which may result in learning disengagement and poor performance.

Assigning a mentor to new remote employees

An employee that grew up in digital environments may find that online jobs take more work. Successful remote employee training helps hire a corporate insider to help guide the new remote employee during the training process.

Remote training step by step walkthrough

A new training initiative launching “cold” may cause workers to struggle to keep up. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a comprehensive walkthrough regarding what a student can expect in training. What does it take to prepare an employee to work remotely?

Take care of physical well being Get Physical Exercise

Get exercise If your desk is only a few feet from your bed, then you won’t be getting much natural exercise on your morning commute. Working remotely can leave you with little reason to leave the house, let alone the 30 minutes of exercise each day that doctors recommend. On the other hand, exercise makes you more creative and more productive, so it is worth taking the time out of your day to make sure you’re getting your heart beating.

Stay Well

Work a lot of hours, and you might end up pushing yourself to the point that you’re no longer “well” at all. Getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours per night) keeps you functional and productive at work, while good personal hygiene will keep your mind clear and prevent your work from suffering. Take care of yourself, and your work will thank you for it.

Eat Well

One of the biggest health issues in western cultures is obesity. However, reducing weight isn’t just about looking good; excess weight has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea and even cancer. As a result, employers have a duty of care to provide healthy food for remote workers.

Stay Connected with Friends and Family

One of the greatest challenges of remote work is overcoming feelings of social isolation. Getting in touch with friends and family outside the office helps you maintain relationships, but also allows your colleagues to see you as more than just an employee. Studies show that employees who feel socially satisfied and supported at work tend to be more productive.

Get Affordable Health Insurance If you have a family, it is absolutely essential that they are covered by health insurance. Like most employers, your company will probably offer group benefits coverage for the whole family as part of their shared costs package. However, there are many alternatives if your company is unwilling or unable to provide them. Single coverage plans are often available through your state’s online marketplace, while short-term health insurance policies can protect family members for up to several years if they lose their employer-sponsored plan due to a change in job status.

Remember, nobody is physically around to tell you what to do — you are on your own. Therefore, you need to motivate yourself daily to be the best remote employee that you can be.

Conclusion: This blog post was created to help remote employees use their time more efficiently. Have you been able to follow any of these tips? Let us know in the comments below! Have you found any information that helps your productivity? Let us know, and we’ll add them to the list. What are some of your favourite remote work hacks?

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