By Monika Ochoki, Customer Support Specialist
Working remotely is a hot topic, some companies like IBM are implementing a move or leave program whereas Amazon is hiring 200 people to work from home. I’ve had the fortune to work remotely for big companies and small start-ups. As a customer support specialist at SEDNA, I have the flexibility to work remotely from our London office.
There are pros and cons to working remotely. I have learned a great deal about how I work, what is important in a work environment and how amazing it can be have the freedom of not having to be in an office every day.
Below are six of the most important things I’ve learned from working remotely.
Communication is Key
I’m the type of person who loves to talk to everybody and will talk about almost anything from your weekend to the documentary I think everybody should watch. When it comes to getting the job done, communicating remotely means a lack of face to face time and possible time zone differences that means the people I need to speak with may be difficult to reach. This requires me to communicate in different ways using a variety of tools such as SEDNA, Slack, video calls, text, etc.
It’s important to know who you are communicating with and how they like to engage as how you communicate is perceived differently by everybody. Knowing when to use emojis or GIF’s instead of a detailed message or conference call depends on who you are talking with and the topic you are sharing.If there is one thing to remember it is to over-communicate; having too much information is always better than leaving anything up for interpretation.
Trust Your Colleagues
Out of site, out of mind can be an issue when working remotely and you are relying on someone to complete a job for you. It’s easy when you work in an office to stop by a person’s desk or ask for a quick update when you pass them in the hallway. But working remotely you have to trust that your colleagues will complete the task as promised. We all work towards a common goal and nobody in a company will want you to fail or falter. So trust your colleagues and realize by not hovering near someone’s desk or constantly checking in it means less interruptions for people and greater likelihood they will complete your project.
You Will Work Odd Hours
There’s nothing I love more than when the UK goes through a time change before Vancouver and we have a week or so where the overlap is greater; resulting in better meeting times and more collaboration. Sadly, this week goes by quickly. Working with colleagues in different time zones means that everybody will have to sacrifice some time in order to make a meeting work – this may require waking up earlier or working later.
Make the Most of Face Time
I will forever advocate making use of video calling instead of a voice calling when working remotely. Being on a video call with somebody not only gives you the ability to see who you’re speaking with but also gives you a moment to catch up with that person and possible catch a few other colleagues who may happen to pass by their computer screen. It also means that when you are in the office, your meetings are focused and your time with other colleagues is maximized. This reduces the potential for people to multitask in a meeting and getting someone’s full attention.
Have a Good Playlist on Hand
Music is something that I have always listened to while trying to get anything done and have found this to be a crucial element of my day. When I really need to focus, I play my go-to playlist filled with songs that help me concentrate and get my foot tapping. Listening to music may not work for everybody, so I have also listened to podcasts, had a video playing in a web browser window and wearing my headphones with nothing playing at all. Whatever it may be that you listen to, the most important thing is that it excites you and helps you focus
Always Make Time for Yourself
Working remotely means that you are always connecting to work through your computer and will have some work apps on your phone, making it hard to disconnect. There will always be that late-night message, a project you want to finish and, ultimately, if you love your job you will want to keep working. It is important to remember to keep doing the things you love and unplug from work when it comes time to do that thing. For me, I love cooking and every day after I’ve shut off for the day I go into the kitchen, turn on the podcast I’m listening to and cook my dinner while forgetting about work.
Working remotely can be a challenge at times but I wouldn’t change the flexibility I have for anything. I hope these suggestions help you and your team. While this list is only a few things I’ve learned, I am continually learning more about how I work, how to work better and how to enjoy work more.
Monika is a customer support specialist at SEDNA. You can find her jumping to our customers’ aid at a moment’s notice and sharing the funniest memes. She works from our London office.