EvolutionIQ HOWTO: Best Practices for Working Remotely / Working From Home (WFH)
author: Tomas Vykruta
Advantages of Remote Work
Working remotely benefits us individually, and benefits the company too. However, as is the case with all great things in life, it requires learning a set of new skills. Read this document carefully.
The benefits are very real and measurable:
- Increased productivity – a shared, open floor plan environment is distracting. The most distracting thing at home is the fridge!
- Increased happiness – working from home on occasion has been shown to make people happier!
- Decrease commute time – zero commute time is tough to beat!
However, as superheroes have taught us throughout the years:
With great power comes great responsibility.
When you are working from home, you will need to maintain a higher level of transparency.
- Provide thorough updates in daily standups
- Respond to slack messages timely and thoughtfully
- Read document sent to you quickly and provide feedback quickly
The quality bar for the above should be higher when you are working remotely compared to when you’re in the office. You’ll really appreciate this when your coworkers do it correctly.
Related to transparency, aim to achieve a higher level of communication when working remotely.
- Use a headset with a microphone for all meetings. Don’t force your counterpart to have to turn up their speaker and ask you to repeat yourself or speak louder.
- If you’re hosting a meeting, always come prepared with an agenda.
- If you’re joining a meeting, make sure you’re read up on documents before the meeting.
- Prefer communicating on public channels in slack, avoid direct messages
- Sign in 1 minute early for meetings
Make Your Presence Felt. Be Extra Social.
Give people kudos on slack often. When your team mates shares a cool tip, writes a document or submits a change you care about, let them know. Emojis on slack are just fine! Each interaction strengthens your relationships. We all want to be loved.
- If you’re stepping out for lunch or an errand, let everyone know, and set an appropriate /away message in slack.
- Say “Good morning everyone” when you start the day, and “signing off! See you tomorrow” when your day ends.
Dedicated, Quiet Work Physical and Digital Space
When working remotely, set yourself up for success.
- Set up a dedicated desk with a monitor
- May seem obvious – but clear the desk of clutter. Treat it like a professional work space, and it will treat you the same way.
- Turn off the TV, social media tabs
- Avoid working from distracting places like the beach or a park. Your home work space is more relaxing, quieter, consistent, and has a fridge and bathroom close to it.
- Treat your digital space the same way: set up a dedicated work profile on your computer. Avoid digital distractions.
Have a Plan
Understand what you want to achieve, what you need to accomplish and how it fits into a larger business model.
It’s easy when you are operating remotely to completely lose track of time. It’s much harder to be self disciplined. Do the right thing. Don’t let your teammates down.
- Set your alarm to wake up on time
- Keep regular working hours
- Do take occasional breaks
- Avoid working overtime, burnout is a real thing
Set Expectations with your Loved Ones
Set expectations with your roommates / spouse / kids about your working hours and distractions. Setting expectations early on is much easier on everyone, and you’ll earn extra respect you for taking your career seriously.
Share your agenda and calendar so they know when not to interrupt you.
Take Advantage of the Freedom
If you’re feeling burned out, take advantage of your remote location. Go outside for a solo walk, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and quiet time to think.
Improve and Give Feedback
Like any skill in life, working remotely requires practice and discipline. There’s always room for improvement. Keep improving, and help your teammates improve too by giving them (sometimes critical) feedback.
Avoid Personal Slack Conversations
Prefer to use public channels, not personal conversations on Slack. If a conversation starts in a personal chat, don’t be afraid to copy and paste it and move it into a public channel.