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