Remote work is taking the world by storm, and this new work model is here to stay. Almost 48% of the employees surveyed by OWL labs said they would start looking for new opportunities if their employers switched back to an office-based culture. Employees also report higher satisfaction at work because of remote and hybrid work models. Amidst a recession, remote work allows employees the flexibility to work for anyone, anywhere, expanding their employment opportunities.
On the flip side, new challenges have emerged with this shift in work culture. Some women are experiencing a less equitable distribution of unpaid labor at home, and many remote work employees reported experiencing a darker, unexpected side of this newfound flexibility, including higher work intensity and isolation.
While most people’s experience with remote work falls somewhere in the middle, you can take some steps to ensure an easier transition and that your expectations are being met.
Here is our list of top dos and don’ts for remote work:
1. Create a dedicated workspace:
Make sure you have a stable internet connection, a comfortable chair, and your work space is separate from your sleeping or relaxing space. Keeping areas together can unconsciously make it easier for work-life boundaries to blur. Think about what helps you focus and bring it to your space – lighting, temperature, and views are all things to consider.
2. Set boundaries:
Your home is becoming your workplace, and you must consider setting physical and immaterial boundaries with yourself, your colleagues, and your family. Consider what is important to you and set reasonable boundaries and expectations with those around you. Some actions widely accepted in remote-work cultures are setting work hours and marking down breaks, holidays, leave, and focus times on your calendar.
3. Engage in virtual meetings:
The best meetings encourage collaboration! To keep things productive, mute yourself unless you’re speaking, and always turn your video on unless there is a mutual consensus for cameras to be turned off. It’s an unspoken truth that some people may think you’re not engaged in the meeting if your camera is off, even if you are.
4. Double-check your messages:
The ability to sit with your thoughts before pressing send is honestly a great benefit of the remote workplace! Take full advantage of your newfound superpower by carefully reading your emails and messages before firing away. Consider tone, grammar, and content when reviewing your work. Bonus points for tools like Grammarly or Language Tool.
5. Consider cultural differences:
If you work in a diverse or global company, you must recognize some of the communication differences you may have with your colleagues. Understanding your communication style and observing the people you interact with may help you determine if it is appropriate to spend the first 15 minutes of a meeting on chit-chat or if you should get right to business instead. Pro tip: Look up local news for relevant conversation topics if you’re meeting someone from a different country.
1. Set up unnecessary meetings:
The meeting real state has become highly crowded and can sometimes hinder you and your colleagues from getting work done. Asynchronous collaborations allow you to work with someone across the globe at a convenient time, and it’s a skill you should practice. The best async collaborators are proactive, communicate their ideas via the company’s established communication channels, have a solution-oriented mindset, and set daily goals and priorities.
2. Have bad meeting manners:
No one enjoys virtual meetings with distracting background noises or where people constantly interrupt each other. If you have anything to contribute, perhaps use the “raise hand” feature, and always take advantage of the chat function if you’re in large meetings.
3. Ignore messages or emails:
Communication is the key to success in a remote work environment. Lack of communication can create distrust among your team and leave even your boss wondering what you’re doing. Many companies won’t ask you to log in your hours, but you may be expected to use a project managing tool. Keep your projects updated, and always respond to emails within 24 hours. It’s ok to say, “Hey, I saw your email, but I’m waiting on X before I can give you a proper answer. I’ll follow up on X”.
4. Forget about timezones and respect other’s availability:
To contribute to a healthy remote-work culture that prioritizes work-life balance and employee well-being, you must always consider the lives of your colleagues. Check your coworker’s availability on their calendars before booking meetings or send them a quick message, and when reasonable, be flexible.
If you’ve decided remote work is for you, congratulations! We made the move too. Even though remote work looks very different than the typical in-office model (children and pets will crash your meetings), with some healthy boundary setting, anyone can be successful!
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