The key to successful remote work is understanding (and implementing) the factors that go into effectively managing yourself, your time and maintaining meaningful connections with your colleagues along with getting the job done. It’s about choosing your path to achieving results for clientele, whether that is done through a company or as a freelance consultant. Check out these quick tips below on how to work remotely with ease.
- FOCUS MORE BY REDUCING OBSTACLES IN YOUR WORKFLOW
One of the most critical ways of reducing obstructions in your workflow has to do with organizing and streamlining your work process to ensure productivity. Whether you work from home, in a coffee shop or in a shared workspace, organization (keeping physical files, work hard drives, etc within a specific place like a drawer on your desk so you know where it is at all times) is key. You may think that spending time to organize your work and workspace can feel like wasted time, taking you away from more urgent tasks such as meeting deadlines and replying to company emails, however don’t underestimate the importance of organizing. A messy environment (physical or virtual) can make for a disorganized mind. Spend a some minutes or a few hours on Sunday night or after work on a Monday or Friday to organize your files and this will save you hours of catch-up and self-induced frustration down the line.
- CONNECT WITH YOUR TEAM
When you’re working remotely, a good amount of communication with your company may feel unnatural because you don’t want to seem too needy. Nevertheless, nothing encourages people more than working within a connected team. In an office setting, you benefit from the privilege of running into a colleague in the break room and talking about how your weekends were. It may seem trivial, but it’s this person-to-person interaction that fortifies relationships, enables better project communication, and creates a sense of loyalty that leads people to make sacrifices for one another. On a professional level, putting that extra effort into making edits for a coworker, or taking on an extra task that your colleague doesn’t have time to complete, can be pivotal in the glue that keeps a team working effectively. In this kind of culture, you feel more like a community in which the members look out for each other. For example, let your manager know when you’re working on a particular assignment and offer updates. In a remote setting, your supervisors and teammates will not know when you’re working on something unless you tell them. Including away messages when you’re not working can also be helpful in keeping the lines of communication open and everyone on the same page. This kind of interaction, although virtual, is still significant and creates a more accessible community culture.
- MANAGE YOUR ENERGY, NOT YOUR TIME
Managing your energy makes sense because it’s something you can control. Time, on the other hand, is quite elusive: sometimes on our side, but more often not. Also, time is a finite resource, whereas energy can always be created. This means finding a way to produce more effective energy to fuel your work. Here’s how you do it: establish simple rituals that give you energy, rather drain it away. For example, insert 15-minute walks into your morning and afternoon work schedules and aim to stick to it. Although it may feel like a conflict of interest to tear yourself away from your computer and stop typing that one last email, the short break will get your blood flowing, increase oxygen to your brain, and fundamentally increase your energy. \
Likewise, making time for exercise or meditation can drastically increase your sense of well-being, let alone your actual physical health. Remember, the key is to stick to your schedule for this energy-inducing power time in order to create effective, lasting results in your work lifestyle.
Let this quote from Calvin Coolridge sink in:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
There are always painful hurdles to get over when it comes to ploughing through any type of work, and the best way to reach the finish line is often to simply take one step at a time until you’re on the other side.
- CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
After you’ve toiled and created your finished product, it’s just as important to applaud yourself for a job well-done. Celebrate! The feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that you achieve when you acknowledge your efforts will reinforce your subconscious to keep up the speed and continue making headway in your work.
—Maren Kate Donovan is CEO of Zirtual, a company comprised entirely of remote employees.