Remote Working Best Practices – To be Successful, Try These

So, you want to work remotely but have you thought it through to ensure yourself the best chance of success? You may want to ask yourself what are the remote working best practices of many successful people who have gone before you.

Make sure you also check out “What do I Need to Work from Home” for great recommendations on everything you need to know to work remotely.

Remote Working Best Practices
Here is a list of some things you should consider before you start working at home, or better yet, start working in other places in your community and around the world.

Also, check out my YouTube video on Remote Working Best Practices if you would rather watch than read.

Personal Appearance

This one needs to go right at the top because many of us fall into the trap of working in our pajamas or t-shirt and shortsshaving tools and may not even take a shower until later and for us men, neglect to shave and fix our hair.

The most successful remote workers get cleaned up and dressed before they start working. This doesn’t mean you have to dress as you would go to the office but take that shower, shave, brush your teeth, put your makeup on or anything that you need to do to be more productive.

Here’s another thing to consider. Besides being more productive, you may get a surprise visitor or even worse, you may get called into the office for a meeting or have a surprise video conference call.

We should all be ready to respond for whatever our work, clients or colleagues require to get the job done.

Let’s stick with the personal issues and talk about personal responsibility.

Personal Responsibility

One of the first things you need to consider is your knowledge and expertise in what you have agreed to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s typing or analyzing a million dollar financial transactions. You need to be qualified in what you do so that it brings value to your client.

There are a lot of things to consider with personal responsibility so let me make it easier and provide some bullet points.

  • Let’s start with Work Life Balance. Click HERE to read this article.
  • Speak up when you’re struggling with something.
  • Make sure you see the big picture with your company and clients.Personal responsibility
  • Be self-directing. Don’t wait to have everything thing laid out perfect for you. This also means to not sit around and do nothing because someone hasn’t contacted you with your next task. I have some personal experience with this one where someone in particular always says, “I wasn’t working because no one told me what to do.” There’s a mentality mind set there that may indicate that person is not cut out for working remotely.
  • Find the right job for you. Ask yourself these questions:
    • What do I enjoy doing and have a passion for?
    • What am I good at?
    • How can I bring value to my company or client?
  • Find ways to be more productive and efficient with your time.
  • Switch up your workplace or environment. Why not go work at the coffee shop on some mornings or at the park on a beautiful day. There are many times you can get out of the house and be more productive primarily because you are stimulating your body and mind by doing something different and exciting. Isn’t that one of the reasons you wanted to work remotely in the first place?
  • Take pride in your work.
  • Persevere in difficult situations. They won’t last forever.
  • Schedule short walks or runs throughout the day to get your blood flowing. This will help with health issues and you will find that you think more clearly after that exercise.
  • Take time for lunch and know when to stop working. You need to find balance between you family, friends, exercise, nutrition, sleep and your work life. You noticed I put work last.
  • Enforce some work rules and don’t let family, friends and neighbors disrupt them, at least not on a regular basis.
  • Lastly, don’t become the errand person. My family thinks I have all the time in the world to run their errands because I work at home. There are days when I want to go back to the office.

Don’t Forget Social Engagement – Don’t Become a Hermit

Many of us are so excited about our first day working at home or working remotely and then we look up from our hole in the wall several years later and realize that we have locked ourselves away in the basement.

We need to come out and smell the roses. Literally! I for one have, far too often, worked all day and night in my t-shirt and shorts and realized I hadn’t taken a shower or shave in several days. Even if I wanted to be social, I have to take the time to shower, shave, brush my teeth and put some real close on just to go hang out with friends. Don’t you all know you’re taking me away from my work?

Now what does that sound like? Right, a hermit. Don’t go down that lonely road.

  • Face-to-face time is extremely important, at least periodically.
  • We often forget how much fun we can have with other team members after we have isolated ourselves.
  • Make sure to meet up at least once a month for dinner, drinks, and even a bigger get together once a year. Some remote teams even rent cabins in the mountains or condos at the beach where everyone can really hangout together every year. There is something to say about team building and camaraderie.
  • Schedule time to be social. You plan and schedule for everything else. Why not plan for social time. Schedule a video conference call if you have long distances between you and just hangout without always talking about work or the project.

Have some drinks with friends

  • Celebrate when you accomplish something great. Take off and head to your favorite hangout and relax a little. Take some time to celebrate your accomplishments. Your work will still be there tomorrow and your mind and body need a break once in a while.

Management – Even Remote Staff Need Management

Let’s list these items out again to make it easier to see.

  • Set expectations for what will be accomplished.Manage your projects
  • Don’t manage time, manage production or expectations.
  • If you’re going to work remotely, then don’t just do it a little. Embrace it and go for it.
  • Working across time zones can be a problem so you have to plan for this.
  • Take time on Mondays to go over last weeks objectives.
  • Have some downtime on Fridays. Don’t get together to chastise someone for not getting their work finished before the weekend but take the time to hangout and relax because you may be working the weekend.
  • You must form actionable items within your team.
  • Make sure you have well-thought-out ideas and not thoughts floating around here and there through emails.

Communicate More Often and More Precisely

One of the first things you should realize about working remotely is the need to communicate much more then you would in a normal office environment. You need to be more precise with your writing and more responsive when someone can’t see you nearby and then walk up and get an immediate answer.

  • Do your best to not use emails for personal internal communications. Many companies will access all past emails if there is any kind of legal action.
  • Use proper subject lines to make sure that the right team members are more likely to see the appropriate emails,Communication along with including them in the distribution list.
  • Remote workers need to be more up front with bring up problems or issues.
  • Create time for group collaboration efforts.
  • Look for people that can communicate well, and writing is of utmost importance here.
  • You need to be good on the phone, in emails, letters, and in person.
  • Realize how important non-verbal communication is and know you are not getting much of that when you work remotely. You may need to plan for more one-on-one get togethers or group meetings and/or video conference calls. Don’t just make your work about numbers and graphs.
  • The entire team needs to be trained on communications skills and the tools by which you will be communicating.

Equipment, Software & Security

Don’t overlook your equipment, software and security. Make sure you have the best equipment. Speed is critical to production and efficiency so buy the right laptop or P.C. Click HERE to see a more detailed breakdown of the equipment you will need for your remote office.

Make sure you have good monitors, speakers, microphone, keyboard, mouse and monitors. It’s best to buy a great quality noise canceling microphone so your team doesn’t hear all the typing when you’re bored with a particular topic on that conference call or worse yet, the client hears you typing while they are talking.

Don’t get too caught up in the latest video conferencing technology. More often then not, a good telephone and a conference call will work better. This is great if you are local and can get together often but if you are thousands of miles away and oceans apart then you better work all the kinks out before you try that video conference call for the first time.

Know your tools and where they are. It’s not good to be fumbling around when the client is on video and asking you to take care of something.

Make sure you take a few extra minutes to file your work and put things away. A clean desk and office will help you work more efficiently in the long run and a messy office doesn not look good on a conference call.

Cyber security
Consider using a VPN when traveling, especially when out of the country. Some countries will block websites that you are used to having access to. A VPN that will make it look like you are access the internet in New York City rather then Hong Kong may be invaluable to you, plus it will also help with security.

Be aware of the need for additional things like tablets, smartphones, anti-virus, firewalls, high speed modems and wireless routers.

The last thing to consider if your company does have an office is the potential to down size the office space if most of your staff is remote. This will save on rent and energy consumption.

Lastly, Company Culture

You’re remote and maybe a lot of your team members are also remote. Consider these last few items to improve your team and culture within the company.

  • Hire the best people that have discipline, knowledge, self-motivation and who are great communicators, especially written communication.
  • Communication and team building are crucial.
  • Did I mention communication?
  • Better understanding builds trust and trust……well, you just can’t live without trust when working remotely.
Team building

Remember that you may feel like you are on an island sometimes working remotely, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I hope I have shown you some incredible tips on how to make working remotely a great experience and that it’s still possible to build a team atmosphere even though there are thousands of miles between you.

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12 Comments on “Remote Working Best Practices – To be Successful, Try These”

  1. Beautiful article! There are so many things here that I have to remind myself of daily while working from home. Having 2 in home businesses sometimes means getting away with doing the laundry or even being in my jammies all day but I find I am much more productive when I get myself dressed and looking great!

    1. Thank you. I find myself not dressing sometimes and it’s nice to not have to get dressed up at once in a while but I see the value in getting ready to work and I know I need to do it. I also feel better and more awake when I take a shower and clean up a little.

      Getting ready for work can still mean you wear shorts and a relaxed shirt. It’s more about doing the things that get your mind and body in a better place so that we’re more productive and efficient. The last thing I will add is that there are times I get called into a last minute meeting and I need to be ready to get on the road fairly fast.

  2. Some great tips here, I especially like when you talk about personal appearance i agree with that, when working from home I used to fall into the trap of staying in the same clothes for days but you’ve got to treat it like a proper day job. Set a time , get up, get dressed and you feel better and your mind is more clear for doing it!

    1. I have many years of doing things incorrectly but I am determined to make many positive changes in my life.

      I enjoy getting cleaned up and ready for work, even at home and there are many times, especially beautiful mornings, that I would love to go sit at a coffee shop and get a little work done or go to the park and work. It’s much easier to do when we’re cleaned up and ready to walk out of the house.

  3. First off, I’d just like to say that I love the photo you have for your website header. Stunning.

    I actually work remotely and I can relate to the very first point on your list extremely well. You can tend to neglect your appearance when working from home. You get lazy at times in that regard. And another one of your points about becoming a hermit. that can happen as well.

    I’ve picked up some great tips after reading this so I can up my game. Cheers.

    1. I’m glad to be able to help and thank you for the compliment on the header. I grew up Oregon and Washington and love the mountains.

      The sad thing is that so many things on that list are things I need to incorporate and improve on but I am doing one of the things today. 

      I was talking on the phone to one of my team members and we’re working really hard to get a project out and I asked him if he wanted to take a break and grab a late lunch. He was wanting to bring a lot of work to go over and I told him it would be fine to talk about a few things but we just need to hang out, relax and take a short break before the hectic pace we’re going to have in the next few days.

      I’m learning from what I wrote about and this is one thing I am putting into action today.

  4. Hi Rick,

    Such a great post! I am looking to get to be working remotely in a few years ; sometimes we all need a reminder of these little things we tend to forget that makes so much of difference!

    Great to read something that brings one back to basics again!

    1. I’m glad you liked it. Writing it sure helped me to see some areas I need to improve in and also some things that will make my remote experience that much greater.

      Stop back by at some point if you think of something I need to add to the list.

  5. Great post! I read a few things you said not to do that I am guilty of.
    1. I sit in my pajamas til noon most days – and then take a shower. I have been “caught” unshowered and not ready for company!
    2. I also become a hermit… but I get out at least twice a week and more if summer ever gets here I golf as often as I can.
    3. Cybersecurity – I need more of that.

    Great reminders. Don’t do what I do. 🙂

    1. LOL. We all do it. I am working on taking a shower at least once a week. Just joking.

      My wife and I went to dinner tonight and I have to say that I had gone almost 48 hours without a shower and there was no way I was going to dinner without cleaning up. I felt so much better after getting cleaned up and dressed and this goes to the point many people make about getting ready to work. You don’t have to dress up like you’re going to the office but clean up a little and put on some different clothes, even if it is shorts and a “clean” t-shirt.

      We all have our own style and methods for working remotely and that’s what’s great. You don’t have to listen to a word I am saying but I did love your candor and honesty. I too have many things I need to improve on.

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