While there are a number of benefits to working remotely (no commute, working in pjs, flexibility), there are challenges as well. Here are a few tips to create a healthy, happy and productive remote work environment for yourself and your team.
- Practice good meeting etiquette
- Create a schedule and block time
- Prioritize documentation and clear communication
- Create boundaries between work and life
- Stay visible at work
- Connect with your teammates
- Debrief on key projects
- Define responsibilities
Having video conferences are a good way to connect with the team. Seeing one another goes a long way to help people feel more together and trust each other. When participating in video meetings, make sure you wear a shirt and pants. Please.
Be sure to follow standard meeting best practices too. Create and share meeting agendas before the meeting starts. Take down notes, action items and follow ups, and share them with the team afterwards.
Stick to a routine similar to what you had at the office and consider the times when you are most productive and want to do deeper focused work, and when you should do less intellectually stimulating work. Blocking out specific time to work on certain projects helps in creating accountability and keeps you on track.
Remote work requires purposeful and planned communication. Document more than you normally would to avoid getting misunderstood or never communicated in the first place. Share documents and discuss with your team so that everyone is on the same page.
Decide when you’re working and stop once your day is done. Unplugging is important. Creating boundaries will help avoid burn out, social isolation, even depression.
Keep people up to date on what you’re working on. Be responsive to questions or comments. That’s not to say you should be constantly available at all hours, but timely responses can help people see that you’re hard at work.
Getting to know your teammates beyond just work will help you feel connected, be more productive and feel happier at work. Even if you mostly work alone, feeling connected to the team will help you enjoy the work you do.
Debriefing addresses the biggest challenge with remote working: communication and documentation. Whenever a project is completed, run through the details of the project and discuss as a team what worked and what didn’t so that the team is even better for the next project.
Start by defining responsibilities on a project. Then, write down who is responsible for what, and share it with the team. Getting it documented means way less confusion and wasted time.