Are you a remote work newbie getting ready to work remotely? If so, welcome to the club!
You’re starting an exciting chapter in your professional life. You might be wondering just where to begin. After all, this gig is going to be different from the office atmosphere of past jobs. That’s totally normal and to be expected.
You’ve come to the right place to learn how you can get remote work ready and bring yourself up to speed.
Here’s a straightforward guide where you can find helpful tools, tips, and support as you get ready to work remotely:
1. Define your goals.
Whether you’ve just landed your dream job or see this new role as a starting point, it’s critical that you take a step back to look at the big picture. Where does this position fit into your professional goals?
If you believe it’s a springboard to something else, learning more about your field and acquiring additional marketable skills will be essential to your success. Are there important company projects you can volunteer to work on or a mentor who’ll help you ask the right questions?
If rising up the remote work ladder is important to you, start planning—and working—toward a leadership role today.
2. Get in a (work) groove.
Some location-independent jobs allow you to set your own hours; others might require you to keep specific “office hours.” Developing a routine that includes the preparation stuff you used to do, sans commute, can help you feel ready and raring to go.
Distractions abound outside of an office setting, so electing a proven productivity method is a great way to sharpen your focus and knock out tough projects. (And, yes, you can take your lovable pup for a walk in the afternoon or go for a quick run in the morning—you’ll just need to hold yourself accountable for getting your work done on time.)
3. Consider your location.
Your ideal workspace might be your home office or the local coffee shop or co-working space. Perhaps it’s near a majestic mountain range or overlooking a tropical beach halfway around the world. (Digital nomads: learn more about designing your own remote adventure.)
No matter your preference, take time to map out where you might accomplish your best work, provided there’s Wi-Fi. If you’re seeking peace and quiet, you’ve got it built in; but if you’d like to get some in-person interaction every now and then, there are tools like Workfrom to help you discover new places to work remotely in your neighborhood or around the globe.
4. Communicate proactively.
Not only will it help you avoid misunderstandings and effectively navigate conflicts with team members or customers, but it will also demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed in this new role, and that you’re ready to contribute to building a positive company culture.
In meetings, you’ll have a better chance to avoid groupthink—a much-dreaded outcome of conversations lacking dissenters. Also, find out how you can influence others from a distance, regardless of whether they report to you or manage you.
5. Manage yourself and others.
Maybe you’re leading a virtual team or managing on-site employees, or perhaps you’re a specialist working within a broader group.
Working well remotely means that you have to manage your workflow and priorities judiciously. Why? Your output will speak volumes about your productivity, your collaborative efforts, and your attention to detail.
Identifying and familiarizing yourself with planning apps such as Todoist and collaborative tools such as Google Docs, Trello, and Basecamp, will give you a leg up on projects, while cloud software companies such as 15Five offer insight and candid feedback on how your teammates feel things are going.
6. Be the ideal colleague.
I’ve found that before you seek something in others, it’s best to first build it within yourself. Possessing certain traits will help you in building relationships from afar, accessing critical information, interpreting organizational objectives, and coming across as a team player.
Remote work isn’t for faint-of-heart folks who want to spend all day staring into a laptop in their jammies. (Sure, there could be days like that, but they’re far from the norm.) These positions require tenacity, trustworthiness, empathy, and adaptability. Thankfully, these are traits anyone can strengthen with commitment and a little effort.
7. Crowdsource wisdom.
Shortcuts to success anyone? It’s important to not feel like you’re doing it wrong simply because you haven’t had a similar role before. Although this might be your first virtual rodeo, there are other professionals who’ve gone this route before you.
Invest some time in learning how they have seamlessly made the transition to remote work. Their advice will no doubt save you time and headaches and alleviate any anxiousness you might have about the change. Beyond that, their tips and tricks could just make the whole experience a lot more fun.
Not sure what type of remote worker you are? Find out now. Take this remote work quiz to see which of four profiles are the right match for you.