Tips To Working Remotely And Being Effective

Be the Best Remote Employee that You Can Be

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

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

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

Here are some effective tips that can set you apart as a remote employee:

1.  Know and manage expectations

Every employee has his or her own job description. But more than knowing what you are required to do, it is important to be aware of the management’s expectation of you. Here are some questions that you need to ask:

• Are you required to login at a certain 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 are 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 really concern 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 there are things that are not clear to you. 

3.  “Meet” your team

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

Another important aspect that you need to be aware of is 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, it is important that you have a means to communicate to each other. Setting at least one meeting per week will keep everyone in touch especially if you are all working together on a project. 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. 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 very unique to remote working. If you were working in a physical office, it is easier to know and understand your co-workers because you are more likely to come from the same country and share the same culture.

Remote employment provides you the opportunity to work with other people living in other countries. While it is rewarding to work in an international setting, it is also equally challenging to be collaborating with other nationalities. 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 has a big impact on you gauge other people’s reaction to what you say. You also do not have the same privilege of pulling a colleague to one corner and talk 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 just 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, send an email when you need to discuss something very important or urgent about the project you are working on and set a meeting to discuss it. 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 a documentation of what transpired in case someone forgets something.

8.  Know yourself

At the end of the day, it is your whole outlook at working remotely that will spell the difference between success and failure. Know what personal behaviors you have that can prevent you from excelling as a remote employee. Are you the procrastinating type? Do you know how to prioritize? How is your organizational skill? These are just some questions that you need to ask yourself.

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

(Article Contributed By Rico Enginco)

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