Then with the onset of the global covid-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine, it is now a necessity.
I'm not going to share an exhaustive list of tips for being a productive and reliable remote employee as there are many sites that have mapped this territory; here are to three solid examples from Zapier, HubSpot, and Inc.com.
What I do want to share are a few recommendations based on what has worked for me as a remote worker for the past 4 years.
They can be split into two buckets (one of my favorites multi-purpose words): purchases and practices.
A short foreword
Before we dive in, it's worth noting that working remote during this pandemic is not the same as it was "pre-covid." Just like in other areas of life, the unfortunately, needed restrictions on social interactions causes the underbelly of remote work to rear its head: isolation.
I used to be able to offset the physical feeling of an office by working from a public place like a coffee shop or library. The accompanying sights and sounds were much needed nutritional supplements, if you will, to keep the isolation infection away.
Why am I saying this? Because if you are new to this #RemoteWork life due to the pandemic, be encouraged that you're not yet beholding the full beauty of it. Chin up; be easy on yourself because even seasoned remote workers are having to adjust We'll get through this together in due time.
Here we go.
We all love quick-fixes. And the good news is that sometimes purchasing a product/service is the right approach that will give us an immediate boost. These all will do just that.
I know, I know, not an original choice here, but they are oh-so important! These are the #1 item for #RemoteWork life. They help you focus and for me, they signal to my body that it's time to drown out the world and get things done.
A great microphone
Your colleagues and clients will thank you. If you go after those best-of-class noise-cancelling headphones, that's great, but you're buying the technology to help you hear, not others hear you. Purchase a dedicated mic that has the technology to do noise cancellation in the other direction.
A solid door
Literally, a solid wood door. If you have a dedicated space for work, which if you can swing it in your house/apartment, purchasing a solid wood door will reduce the sound into your space dramatically. Bonus - if you cannot purchase a new door, at least purchase a door sweep that will reduce the sound that travels underneath your door.
Music Subscription / Spotify Premium
For those headphones you have, you'll need some tunes to send to them. I love the Focus Genre on Spotify here's some of my favorite playlists for #GTD: electronic running, sunrise yoga, house focus, and electronic focus.
Bonus: a DO NOT purchase item.
Stay away from those sexy, mechanical keyboards. They are so LOUD and will annoy anyone in your living space and the people you have calls with; I learned this by mistake. When looking for a keyboard, try to purchase one that has reviews saying it's quiet.
Now that we tackled the easy part, let's discuss the practices that help you win at #RemoteWork life. Warning: these are hard and will require reps & tweaks; I'm still learning, updating, and practicing these after 4 years.
I know, commutes suck. But adopting a "commute" when working remote will help you transition from work to not-work. Commutes are many things, but underneath the stereotypical traffic-related fury, they act as transition periods- buffers so to speak. When working remote, spend a few minutes at the start and end of your days signaling to your body that it's time to change your mode/mindset. This could be stretching, meditation/prayer, breathing exercises, etc. - you pick.
And I don't mean physical hygiene, which is good and necessary, I mean hygiene in the sense of keeping work and not-work separated as much as possible. I really struggle with this; it's easy to check email and messages on my phone while doing things with my family. But over time, I realize that I'm in some "unclean" land which is neither in work or not-work and both suffer. Reminder to me: have physical space that reminds me of where work is done and also places where it is not done.(Note: I didn't coin the term hygiene in regards to remote work, I've borrowed the word from a manager at Toluna.)
Learn how to write well
This mean succinctly, frequently, and expressively. Also, develop a practice of communicating your efforts proactively. Create a way to show what you're working on in a transparent and asynchronous manner. This will allow colleagues to see your status/progress without even having to ask.
More importantly, learn how to listen well.
Ask for clarifications and always "assume and expect positive intent."
I hope these help you and if you have any of your own, please share!