Remote Work Used To Be Popular

Remote Work Used To Be Popular

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

The ultimate guide to remote work
At Zapier, we’ve been working remotely since the beginning. This guide shares everything we’ve learned about running a remote team.
How to Work From Home: 20 Tips From People Who Do It Successfully
Here are some real tips for supercharging your productivity while working from home.
23 Essential Tips for Working Remotely
Follow these tips to keep your whole team’s productivity and morale high.

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.

Good Hygiene

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."

Good luck!

I hope these help you and if you have any of your own, please share!

Talk soon


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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