Remote Employees Share Their Tips for a Healthy Remote Work Environment

Remote Employees Share Their Tips for a Healthy Remote Work Environment

By Flux7 Labs
March 10, 2020

A Forbes report called remote work “standard operating procedure” for 50% of the U.S. population. Yet, if you aren’t among those who typically work from home — or are managing a remote team for the first time — you may be surprised to hear that there are definite skills and strategies to ensure your success. Whether your team is temporarily in a remote work situation or is looking to move to a more remote setup, our team who work remotely every day came together to offer their learned insights to help you create your own healthy remote work environment.

Set Structure and Boundaries for your Remote Work Environment 

Many Flux7-ites underscored the importance of creating a structured environment for yourself at home, including establishing healthy work/life boundaries. In addition to setting personal boundaries, job-related expectations for employees should be set. At Flux7, we have clear goals and metrics that we set with our teams which we establish through Sprints. Focused on outcomes, Sprints set global expectation and agreement within the team and a culture of accountability helps ensure goals are met. 

 

When it comes to structure and boundaries, our team recommends: 


“Know what is modular about your schedule. Set boundaries about when you will flex your schedule as well as when you will not. For new remote workers, one of the easiest traps to fall into is to get too flexible with your time. It is a balancing act at first. There is a discipline to working at home. Of course, avoid the other extreme of being constantly online. Try as a general principle to block time for “deep work”, especially if what you do requires a lot of abstract thought. Shifting gears from a meeting to an abstract thinking exercise and back to a meeting erodes value. ”

Ajit Kurup 

 

“Turn off your phone’s notification sound! It made a big difference for me.”

Matt Buchner

 

“I find the best things I did to set myself up for success were to set boundaries. For example, I get ready and dressed every day to remind myself I’m working, not just ‘working from home.’ I recommend that you turn off the TV and listen to music only — even the news can be a time-killing distraction. I keep to my designated workspace or at least use the coffee table if I need a change of seat. I thank my peers and say goodbye at the end of the day, and TURN OFF SLACK to help instill a separation between the times when I’m at work/I’m off of work.”

Melinda McGrath

 

“Balance is critical. Establish a work routine, including start and end times. Get up, get dressed, and “go to work.” This helps with the professional, productive mindset. Find a comfortable, yet productive, workspace that not only promotes good work habits but also allows for professionalism when on calls with teammates and/or customers. Take short, frequent breaks. Minimize distractions during designated “work hours”.”

David Potter

 

Communication & Collaboration are Key

From one-on-one conversations to access to important data, communication is critical to successful remote work. At Flux7, we make heavy use of tools like Slack for constant communication. In fact, this entire blog was written via comments shared over Slack! 

 

Collaboration is the flip side of the communication coin, and is what allows employees to feel like they are members of a team. Similarly, we have multiple tools like Trello, Google Hangouts, GitHub and more, that encourage collaboration. (For more ideas, read our blog on how technology can help foster communication and collaboration.)

Our employees suggest: 

 

“For people transitioning to remote work that still need to frequently interact with teams that are co-located in offices, be proactive about establishing new communication channels. The fact is that you will probably miss out on “hallway conversations”, so identify critical people that you need to interact with informally and determine if a regular checkpoint over IM or the phone will help you feel more connected. If you are left out of a conversation, do not take it personally. Part of this transition is about establishing new norms, and your former officemates are adjusting, too. Be clear with your manager about what they expect from you, and what support you need from your manager to help make these changes take root.”

Ajit Kurup

 

“Make information accessible; follow a consistent model of access.”

Tamarie Ellis

 

“I think of two ‘C’ words when I think of working remotely: Communication and Commitment.  Communication is always a big key to any working environment and relationships, but it is magnified when working remotely since we aren’t able to physically see one another every day and interact in passing. When working remotely, it takes a commitment not only to your team(s) and company but to yourself as well. You need to practice high standards in your work ethics and productivity levels. A level of commitment and dedication to your work really shows in reflection.”
Robyn Butler

 

Create a Supportive Culture of Accountability

Both management and employees play an important role in creating a culture that fosters healthy work from home habits. At Flux7 we conduct a remote work workshop to provide comprehensive skills to communicate effectively and build trust in our work relationships. The  workshop seeks to provide a foundation for a shared culture that supports the company’s core values of humility, innovation and transparency while giving team members a clear understanding of what Flux7’s remote work life is like. We seek to help employees find solutions to problems when/if they arise and give them confidence in their own remote work scalability.

 

Our team also emphasizes the importance of culture in their comments:

 

“While Slack is the framework that holds the company together, providing us the means to communicate in real-time, culture is the glue that binds us. Enabling your workforce to work remotely is not about “flipping a switch” and suddenly it’s effective. You have to promote a culture of inclusivity, honesty, trust, and bias to action. Many companies who try and hop on the remote work bandwagon will say it is not for them once the present crisis is over, and they’ll be right. They’ll be right because they haven’t fostered a culture that enables remote work. A wise man once told me “culture eats everything”.” 

Derek Magill  

 

“I agree that a culture of trust, honesty, inclusivity, and bias to action must be taken seriously. While it may sound challenging to promote each one of these, meticulous planning across all project delivery and company goals by company leadership will set you up for success every time.”

Roshan Chittoor

 

Stay Connected

At Flux7, we use several tools to help employees feel connected. For example, we show constant appreciation through HeyTaco!, giving feedback that actively illustrates that people — and their work — do not go unnoticed. We also have a Slack #sleep-health-fitness channel where employees can actively support each other in their efforts to stay active and healthy.

 

Our team emphasizes the importance of building connection:

 

I think it’s really important to check in with each other and chat about things that aren’t work. It’s easy to feel like an island and putting a little work into personal connections keeps me from feeling isolated.”

Elysia Lock

 

“Reach out to a family member or friend in order to stay connected to non-remote people. Stay connected with people who are physically present!”

David Potter

 

Mix it Up 

Know yourself well enough to recognize when a change of pace or scenery will help make your day more successful. Even something as seemingly small as a handful of jumping jacks or standing during a conference call can make a big difference in motivation and focus. 

 

Flux7 employees have several tips for mixing it up:

 

“Do not underestimate the power of a change of venue. If it helps, go to a nearby place with wifi, bring your headphones, and get separation from your home office. I am a huge fan of music, but even white noise does the trick.”

Ajit Kurup 

 

“Working from home is a luxury that I’m grateful for. To clear my head, I get outside. Once during lunch and for a bit after work to turn off that part of my brain and separate my day. This helps me to decompress and helps mitigate that ‘still at work’ mentality.” 

Melinda McGrath  

 

At Flux7, we value diversity. Working remotely allows us to work with the best and brightest in their fields while growing the diversity of our our talent. Do you value diversity, and the ability to work autonomously with accountability? Join our remote team. Check out our current remote job opportunities:

Join our remote team.

Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7, an NTT DATA Company, is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.