Anyone who has ever worked remotely knows the many advantages and freedoms that come alongside it. However, many people still steer clear of these opportunities, intimidated by the challenges working remotely poses to one's focus and productivity. We've compiled a list of simple strategies and tools to alleviate these fears and prove that one can work remotely and maintain a successful career.
Find a Remote-Friendly Company
First and foremost, it's important to find a company that embraces and recognizes the benefits of hiring remote-based employees! You'd be surprised how many employers are starting to open up to the idea of working remotely, especially as it increases their chances of finding a highly-skilled employee.
Fortunately we've created a website that allows you to easily keep track of all the remote jobs on several different job boards. Check it out here.
Establish Open Communication Channels
Communication can be tricky when you work remotely. It's important to ensure complete transparency, and you can achieve this by keeping your colleagues in the loop and providing updates on your work progress. Maintaining open communication channels and responding quickly to your team members' requests will benefit everyone.
An obvious challenge with remote-based employment is that you do not have the luxury of face-to-face contact with your team or supervisors. However, if you establish the right communication practices, this will become a lot easier than one might think.
It's important that your team know when you are at work and what you are doing. This can be achieved by utilizing your company's chat tools and sending out a simple "Hello" or "Good morning" each day. Making the most of the company's chat tools will not only help build relationships but also make you accessible. Providing progress updates via your company's project/task management tool (or via email) on a regular basis, will also keep your co-workers in the loop and let your supervisors know the status of the projects you are working on.
Use the Right Tools
To communicate effectively online, one must have the right resources at their disposal. Real-time communication tools like Slack, Skype, PukkaTeam, or Hipchat, to name a few, are excellent methods through which you can establish and maintain open communication channels. For project management, check out Trello, Jira, Asana, or Pivotal Tracker.
Pick Your Most Productive Environment
Location, location, location! Choosing an environment that is void of distractions is key. In what environment are you most productive? It could be a coffee shop, home office, or local library. No matter what your environment, ensure that you are somewhere free from distraction and available to communicate freely. Ultimately, it means finding a location that works best for you, personally, and if that means working poolside, somewhere tropical, so be it!
Tools to Maintain Focus
It can be hard to maintain focus at the best of times. If finding a distraction-free environment proves elusive or you simply need a bit of help staying in the groove, I'd recommend trying the following:
- Noisili: a great tool that allows you to mix together relaxing sounds to create the perfect ambience
- Noise-cancelling headphones: our number one product to keep us in the zone
- Pomotodo: based on the Pomodoro Technique and GTD to help you work more efficiently. Works on all devices!
- Daily Plans: creating and sharing your daily plan is a great way to keep on-track with what it is you want to accomplish in a full work day. It also holds you (and your colleagues) accountable for what you plan to complete each day.