What was once novel concept that only a few companies dared to try has evolved into a growing trend. Remote working is no longer a new phenomenon with over 37% of employees in the US telecommuting. The amount of mobile workers will vary from company to company. Insurance giant Aetna reports that 47% of their workers telecommute. Flexible working arrangements, in some form, are offered by 88% of organizations worldwide. Even though it is rapidly being adopted by companies - some like Buffer - are entirely composed of mobile workers - it still faces challenges that come from not having personal, face to face communication.
Workers today are lucky enough to have technology and other advances at their fingertips in order to make the experience and the connection easier. By combining these technologies together workers will find that they may actually be more connected than ever before!
Try these 5 tips for making remote working work:
1) Over Communicate
Supervisors can’t just stop by your desk to see how a project is going.
There isn’t a chance to chat over a problem in the break room. It can be easy to get so involved in working on a project that you forget to communicate with your supervisors or coworkers about it. Or you might be traveling for business or a conference without a dedicated space to stop and update the team on a project.The only way that remote working works is through constant communication. No one wants to feel as if they are left out of the loop on a project - especially when working remotely.
Use technologies to your benefit in order to keep the team involved. If you have a break between seminars, meetings or store visits hop on OOOT and reserve a nearby table. Schedule a Skype or GotoMeeting session with your team and make sure everyone is brought up to speed on the current status of a project. It’s win/win - you don’t lose any time from your day and your team can stay productive.
2) Defined spaces
Create a clear separation between work and life.
Family and friends need to know that when you are working you are not available - even if you are home. Your work space will depend on your working style and environmental influences. You might be able to just go in your home office and close the door. Others find that they work better with the ambient noise of a restaurant or cafe. There are also coworking spaces available for rent for those who might not have the space for a home office but need a defined space. Regardless of where you work - make sure that you define where that space is and what the working hours are. When it’s time to unplug leave the laptop behind and focus on life. That is supposed to be one of the benefits of remote work.
Working remotely can be lonely at times.
You don’t have the luxury to go across the hall and catch up with coworkers, grab lunch together or celebrate a birthday. Make it a point to find others like you in your community to connect and collaborate with. Make connections in other cities as well. If you’re an OOOTer you can use the app to reserve a table at a convenient location for all of you and take advantage of the WiFi and other capabilities the loactions offer you for a productive networking session. If you travel for work, seek out those with common interests- does your gym have reciprocal privileges? Is there a Meetup.com group for graphic designers? The more connections you have - the less isolated you feel.
4) Get out
Remote workers tend to be more productive. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that compared with office counterparts, those working from home made 13.5 percent more calls, quit 50 percent less, and said they were much happier on the job.They have fewer distractions and tend to work much longer hours than traditional office workers. This also means that it is easier to get burnt out and overwhelmed by work. Make it a point to get out occasionally.
When the walls of your home office start closing in on you - go find another place to work that day. OOOT will help you find an establishment that will not only have a table waiting for you to work from, they will welcome you and send friendly reminders to your phone when your reserved time is up. Some cities also have free Wi-Fi citywide - if you’re lucky enough to be in one of those, grab a blanket and go work under a tree in a park!
5) Ask for Feedback
Keeping supervisors happy can be more challenging in a remote working environment can have its challenges.
They aren’t able to see what you are doing or “supervise” as closely as they would like to. Check in regularly with your supervisor and ask for feedback on your work. Are there areas that you could improve in or that would make it easier for your manager to lead the group? By asking for feedback and showing that you are invested in the success of the company it reassures your leaders that you are committed to your job and the demands of it.
Remote working is no longer the wave of the future. It is current, relevant and not going away. Being a successful remote worker means taking the steps necessary to make sure everyone is connected and on the same page while creating the time and space for your personal life too. Find that balance and you’ll have found the perfect remote working lifestyle.