Maybe you have heard some urban legends and other stories about remote work but you are not one hundred per cent sure what is the catch?
Remote work while it has various labels, even though we all know what it is, is the work done in some environment other than the employer’s workplace.
The main key of being a remote worker is to turn our time in front of the computer into a smarter and more epic experience. Some can work as virtual workers, or in a remote team, who are committed to share responsibility for achieving a common purpose and perform from a flexible mix of stationary and/or remote work environments. (Bauch, M and Snowdon C., 2018) We also have to distinguish between a remote team and virtual team. The main difference between those two is, that virtual team members have to answer to different bosses.
The difference between a virtual/remote and traditional teams
According to statistics from Gallup, in 2015, more than 35% of Americans spent some time working remotely and in fact, some studies show that nearly 40% of today’s employees work off-site occasionally. Indeed that brings some challenges for leaders and employees.
First, we have to point out, that working remotely offers a win-win opportunity for employers and as well as employees. Remote work provides an opportunity for an employee to take full advantage of free time, developing strong organizational skills, as well as to increase productivity and be more flexible. You can also be a part of the unique challenges that companies have to address in order to make the most of their remote work strategies.
According to Mauro Paravano, author of “Remote Work & Productivity 101″, some remote workers are more productive when they are not subject to in-the-office interruptions. When there might be interruptions while working remote, those are mainly voluntary – an employee can always choose when to check Facebook or go grab food.
Even though not the main goal, remote work allows employers to cut down on several costs – from space and commuting costs to sick leave absences and more importantly, remote work, helps expose bad workers. It is really easy to see who is performing their tasks in a lazy, irresponsible way or can be just super productive and reliable without a charm or in-person charisma. As a result, employees tend to get judged on their results, not their input (e.g. punctuality and unblemished attendance in a not strictly relevant context). (Paravano, 2017)
On the other hand, there are sure some disadvantages and which should not be taken lightly. You can imagine that if you are a full-time remote worker, there is no face-to-face interaction and employees might feel isolated or excluded, the bare temptation to use delaying tactics is higher and family members being around where you work can also be distracting.
Tips and tricks for being a successful remote worker in a team
Being a part of a high performing team and collaborating with them most effectively, demands from a leader to get everyone on the same page, use appropriate tech tools. Set expectations that matters, being open about everything and holding effective team meetings – and voila, you have a great base to start as a successful remote worker in a team wherever in the world you are.
1. I suggest you determine the right job that combines all that you like to do, you do best and what could contribute with value to a team. A quick Google or YouTube search would be the best place to start from. Especially on YouTube, you can find a bunch of advisors and bloggers promoting how to identify a career.
2. Check your equipment and reduce potential barriers as interrupted WiFi, unorganised folders on your laptop, calendar and timings for checking the company email. If there are no other internal communication tools think about potentially make time for “homeroom meetings”. A bit of systematic thinking here and there will also do be useful in this case.
3. Communication with the team is the key – try to be natural and open-minded in written form (explain a lot, use emojis if appropriate) and talk about your culture or habits occasionally. It can help you to interact more. No face-to-face communication could be agonizing already by itself. If possible you should visit each other when the opportunity presents itself.
4. Put some extra effort into report edits or other potential tasks for a coworker. You have to feel like a community where the team members have each other’s backs.
5. Track your time accordingly and if possible, let the leader and team member know when you are working on a particular task. A great solution is an online workflow and management software WorkflowMax (https://www.workflowmax.com/) in case the team does not use anything else.
6. Team spirit is the key – you are a significant part of your team and have to cooperate in order to excel and not just with your assignments, you can improve the project for everybody else.
And finally, do not forget that every time we learn a new task or take on challenges, mental torture is a sidekick. Even though, afterwards we feel a rewarding sense of achievement and our brains are stronger for having gone through the sweat. So just take pride in successfully managing yourself and maintaining a meaningful connection with your team along with your wellbeing.
And remember, a remote work is only a tool for choosing your own channels and to thrive in your work. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” is something that Molière believed in.
- Paravano, Mauro (2017) Remote Work & Productivity 101. Electronic source: https://books.google.si/books/about/Remote_Work_Productivity_101.html?id=P-pEDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
- ezTalks (2018) What Is Remote Collaboration. Electronic source: https://www.eztalks.com/unified-communications/what-is-remote-collaboration.html
- Bauch, M and Snowdon C. (2018) People Alchemy Ltd., Electronic source: https://www.alchemyformanagers.co.uk/topics/whKJy23z8nHLAFhf.html
- Donovan, M. Kate (2014) 7 Best Practice Tips For Successfully Working Remotely. Electronic source: https://www.fastcompany.com/3033902/7-best-practice-tips-for-successfully-working-remotely
- Newman, Daniel (2017) 5 Key Practices of successful remote work teams. Forbes. Electronic source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2017/10/10/5-key-practices-of-successful-remote-work-teams/#69530de25168
- Jones M. Jeffrey (2015) Gallup. Workplace. In U.S., Telecommuting for Work Climbs to 37%. Electronic source: https://news.gallup.com/poll/184649/telecommuting-work-climbs.aspx