For over six months now I have been working remotely for Big Cat. If that wasn’t separated enough, I am also an ocean away (in the USA) and five hours behind UK time. The biggest challenge? Feeling connected to my team with only an internet connection. Over the months I have come up with some simple tricks for making working fully remote work for you.
5 tips for working fully remote
1. Don't just talk about work
When you are in a traditional office environment there are moments throughout the day or week when you don’t talk about work. Whether it is being the last two people in the office and catching up about life or someone that brings up an anecdote while in the break room, these moments can feel lost when working virtually and in back-to-back Zoom calls.
Instead, you have to make these moments happen, as they won’t happen naturally. Schedule morning coffees, pick up the phone and make a random call because you just “have” to tell them something funny or send a surprise delivery of cupcakes. Whatever it is, those personal moments and touches go a long way to staying a part of the core, connected team.
2. Eat breakfast
It is so easy to get sucked into an email and Zoom call vortex and then suddenly feel your belly rumbling. Even worse, once you get hungry, you have three hours of back-to-backs ahead of you. Even though it may mean getting up 10 minutes early, make sure to eat something before diving in or you will seriously regret it. This is a non-negotiable, just do it.
3. Do one offline thing before replying to your first email
Similar to the above, once you look at your email, that’s it. You will not stop looking at your screen likely for the rest of the day. So, it is critical to take, even just 10 minutes, to do something offline that brings you joy, before checking your inbox. For me, I like to cuddle my dog, completely uninterrupted and have that moment before diving in. Of course it is completely up to you, but it will keep you sane and start your day feeling grounded.
5. Don't run late
It is easy, on Zoom, to let the calls run over and be constantly late to meetings. Why? You feel less accountable when there is a computer in front of you rather than a real person. Remember, the computer is not a scapegoat for manners. Be punctual and on time, even if it means having to rush a bit at the end of the call. After all, first impressions are really important.
5. Don't get distracted by notifications!
When you are in a room with people you wouldn’t look at your phone, have side-bar email conversations and look distracted. It is important when working fully remote to have the same level of presence in meetings. You may think they can’t tell, but they can. It is easy to slip into bad habits, so shut everything else down and be in the moment and engaged. It will establish a deeper connection with the person on the other line and ensure they feel their time is appreciated.
Have I missed any tips? Working fully remote isn’t easy and can have its ups and downs. However, if you can get into a good routine and build good habits, it can be the most rewarding and productive way to work.
Happy remote working all!