6 Tips to Be Successful as a New Remote Worker
While remote work can be a dream come true for some, it can be a difficult initial transition from working in an office to working from home. Remote.co collected the following tips from a panel of remote work experts on how to be successful in your new role of working virtually.
1. “Meet” Your Coworkers
Shama Hyder is CEO of a fully remote B2B PR and marketing firm called Zen Media. While remote work can feel isolating to some people, Hyder explains that it doesn’t have to be.
“With Zoom, Google Meet, and Facetime, meeting people who are in another city or even another time zone has never been easier,” Hyder says. She suggests that new remote workers prioritize getting to know their coworkers by scheduling a 30-minute virtual coffee chat or virtual lunch date. “At Zen, we have company-wide ‘hangs’ and ‘get-to-know-you’s’ that are integral to our culture,” Hyder says.
Erin Grau, cofounder and COO of Charter, a company bridging research to practice to transform the future of work, agrees that a person’s efficiency increases when they know their colleagues personally and have relationships that go beyond the workplace.
In addition to investing in finding ways to connect with your colleagues through virtual meetups, Grau recommends that new remote workers “dedicate time and space for when you’re not talking about the work but focusing on simply building relationships.”
2. Establish Boundaries
Hyder advises new remote workers to set firm boundaries around their personal life to help protect them from potential overwork.
“Remote work can make it feel like your work life is bleeding into your personal life,” Hyder says. “If this is a continued issue, talk to your manager about setting certain expectations. If that means silencing notifications, going to work at a coffee shop for a few hours, etc., as long as you’re communicating these expectations and needs, workers should have the freedom to do what will allow them to be the most productive.”
3. Know If You Thrive on a Schedule
High-performance and mindset coach Carrie Veatch currently lives a “location-independent,” remote lifestyle. Veatch advocates that if you’re new to the work-from-home life, you figure out what kind of person you are to help you determine what type of remote work will best serve you. “Do you need routine or do you thrive off different schedules every day?” Veatch asks. “Some people are routine people and others aren’t. Self-awareness is critical here and knowing what you need.”
Grau notes that if you do thrive on a schedule, then creating a 30-/60-/90-day plan for yourself can be helpful. “What do you want to know, do, and be?” Grau asks. “Getting clear on your priorities with a tactical framework can help you set goals and communicate them whether you’re in the office or not.”
Part of this involves understanding your productivity drivers, according to Grau. “For example, the time of day when you have the most energy, when you might have caregiving responsibilities and might be less focused, the location and conditions that enable you to be the highest-functioning so that you can outline a framework for working with vs against your best flow,” Grau explains.
Hyder says you can also set small goals to manage your time better as a new remote worker. “There are certain distractions that come with work from home (there are certainly distractions that come with in-office work as well!) that you have to manage,” Hyder says. “Setting small goals can help to break up your day into manageable chunks.”
4. Decide What Preferences Support Your Current Work-From-Home Life
As you’re getting set up as a new remote worker, it also helps to self-reflect on what works and what doesn’t. Grau’s idea is to create what she calls a “2×2,” with “likes” and “dislikes” on one side and “pre-” and “during pandemic” on the other. “Then, plot out what you liked—for example, maybe the pandemic offered increased flexibility for more family dinners or yoga at noon every Thursday,” Grau explains.
She suggests using your 2×2 findings as a guide to understanding what you want more of and what you’d like less of in your new role. Then, use it to have a conversation with your manager about the right work-life rhythm for you, offering clear examples and possible solutions in terms of how your manager can support that.
Getting clear on personal preferences that can help support your new virtual work situation can also help, including on basic matters such as what to wear when you wake up on a workday.
For example, Veatch notes that while plenty of people will say that in order for new remote workers to be successful when working from home you should dress as if you’re going to work in an office, she doesn’t personally subscribe to that advice. “I work most days in yoga pants and often have to come straight from the gym since I love my routine of daily CrossFit workouts,” Veatch says. “It’s up to you to sort out what you need and then figure out how to make that happen, along with accountability.”
5. Eliminate Distractions and Shiny Objects
Office-based employees similarly have to resist the temptation to check their texts and social media feeds while working. But the “shiny object” temptation that has you shifting your focus to something distracting and momentarily more interesting can be particularly strong for new remote workers since you’re now generally the only one who can see if you succumb to it.
To avoid this and hold your focus without mind-wandering tendencies, Veatch promotes the Pomodoro method. “Seriously, cannot recommend this enough for 25 minutes (minimum) per day of completely focused work,” she says.
6. Incorporate Collaboration and Mentorship
In addition to connecting virtually with your colleagues as you’re getting your feet wet in your new remote position, Veatch believes that it’s important to incorporate opportunities for collaboration with industry peers and potential mentors. “I personally, as an entrepreneur, am in a Mastermind group and a group coaching program,” Veatch says. “It keeps me connected to peers, colleagues, and mentors to make sure I’m constantly evolving and growing.”
For more helpful job search tips, check out our articles.
By Robin Madell | Categories: Work Remotely