Seven Tips to Successfully Work Remotely
“It doesn’t work for me”, “I don’t feel like they’re part of the team”, “I don’t know how to be disciplined”.
These are just some of the comments I hear from businesses requiring varying levels of on-site presence versus remote work. I know that there is a larger issue to working remotely than just permission from the boss. To help solve this problem, I’ve created the following guidelines.
Why and what’s the point for you? I know some senior execs who value their time at home as “time off”, so they’d prefer to work in the office. If you’re after flexibility, find something else which suits you, work towards a half day off a month, or book long weekends or a holiday quarterly. Understand why you’ve chosen this option.
Create your remote working space. Jenny allocates a desk, chair and whatever connections she needs in one place. She sets it up in advance and takes it down at the end of the day before the rest of the family come home. This helps her to create a mental shift and encourages her to focus when she’s in that space.
What days suit you? And your team? Consider others because if they’re not considered, they may make it more difficult for you. Remote access is a fabulous option, but nothing is quite the same as face to face. I’ve had this debate for years. I used to work across Europe and manage calls and interviews well, but it’s the chat around these moments which counts as relationship development. If you’re working remotely, request to start the call 5 minutes early and recognise the need to build trust face to face.
Use a schedule. Starting at 8 means starting at 8, not sitting for a moment and then putting the dishwasher on. Pretend you’re heading out to work and commit to the schedule. Max used to walk to the front door, call out goodbye to his wife, and open and close the door before walking back past her to the office. It helped him create a timeline.
They exist but remind yourself why you want to work at home. It’s a quid pro quo arrangement. If you’re not working efficiently, you’re cheating yourself and will run over time. Michael books in half hour breaks every 2 hours so that he can do “stuff” and not allow the work to leach into home time.
6. OWN IT
If you’re struggling with accountability, book a call at 8am and check in with someone. Make sure you know why you’ve chosen to work remotely. If it’s because you want to wear Ugg boots, take the dog for a walk at lunch time or invest more time working instead of travelling, enjoy it! You may gain up to 3 hours or more a day by not commuting. What can you do with this time? Decide and make your day work for you.
I know business owners who say they get more done in their 8 hours at home than they do in the office because they’ve clearly defined the boundaries. Jenny uses a physical space and Max uses a door closing. Choose a strategy to suit you.
So, go ahead and request the time to work at home but be careful of your language. It’s not a “day off”, “day away” or an excuse to shirk accountability. Take it seriously. Prepare the above, work through the options with your team and set a trial period. Perhaps a month and then a meeting on site to review.
And finally, if your work is being flexible with you, return the favour. If a meeting has to be on your designated “remote day”, change your day, show willingness, continue to be a part of the team.
I run an accountability and time management course for clients. Below is just one of the comments from a participant.
“I found the content very interesting and useful. To actually see where time goes is an eye opener and gives ideas on where to make effective changes to my time management.”