Tips on being a productive remote employee

Tips on being a productive remote employee

Living in a small Australian city means there are few local opportunities that match my career aspirations, so 2 years ago, I decided to find a remote front-end developer job and haven’t looked back. I can now work “when I want” and spend more quality time with my daughter.

However, remote work isn’t for everyone; it can be hard work if you’re not disciplined, dedicated and productive, but I hopefully succeed by following these rules:

1. Have a consistent routine

Often, one of the perks of remote work is being able to work when and wherever you want. But in reality, your team need to be able to count on you to support them when they’re in the office. Start and finish at similar times each day and try to overlap 80% of your hours with theirs.

2. Inform your team when there are changes to your routine

Need to work from the doctor’s waiting room for one afternoon or want to take your child to music class next week? Let your team know in advance that you may not be online and will be slower to respond.

3. Don’t slack off

Having your boss and team in view is a great subconscious motivator as colleagues in the office find it unfair when they can see someone wasting time on Facebook, Twitter or other Slack channels. Since they can’t see you while you’re home alone, it’s important that you recognise when you may be spending too much time on extracurricular activities.

4. Track your time

Without data, you don’t really know how much time you’ve actually spent working. I used to use WatchMe on Windows and now use Zone for macOS. Both are simple trackers that allow me to quickly start and stop timers and produce reports on hours worked for the week. Getting in to the habit of starting and stopping timers can take a while though.

5. Prompt communication

During “work hours”, always have your phone with you and have push notifications enabled. Since your colleagues can’t see when you’re not at your desk, they will expect timely responses at all times. Even if you can’t reply fully at the time, let them know that you’ll respond properly as soon as you’re back at the computer.

6. Provide regular updates of your work

Working in an agile team? Move your tasks across the board at the relevant time and ensure you’re present in every standup and meeting that you should be in. If you hit a hurdle on a task you’re working on, add a comment to the ticket or in Slack saying it now may take longer and why.

7. Try not to work too much

I’ve learned the hard way that working long hours isn’t healthy, however, I still find it hard to fully switch off and can find myself getting inspiration at random times during the night which I have to act upon otherwise I won’t sleep. I must remember to then “take back” that time somewhere else during the week, so will communicate to my team that I’ll make a change to my usual routine, just as I recommended earlier.

If you work remotely already, hopefully, these tips will help you to be more productive, or if you’re negotiating to go remote, you may be able to use these rules as leverage of your commitment.

This article was originally published for The Human In The Machine.

Source: Medium:Remote Working
Tips on being a productive remote employee

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