Useful Remote Work Tips For All

Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash

ew week! New beginnings!! New challenge!!!

Over the last few months, the universe has sent me multiple nudges to write and share my experiences regarding remote work and productivity. Sadly, I think I started overthinking it and didn’t do much about it.

The final straw that was thrown at me was this thought …….

“If the founders of critical remote work companies like Slack and Zoom didn’t act when they did, this would have been a very long and less productive global lockdown!”

So here’s take one; with all its beautiful flaws and crinkles. I do hope that these tips are helpful!

1. Build your remote workspace

This is a very fundamental factor that is critical for productive remote work experience. It doesn’t have to be all glamorous but it should be something that works for you. This is vital for you to get into your “work” mode. Try not to use your bed (I will explain this in a later series). If you don’t have a work table and chair at the moment, you can always use regular household items like your dining table, storage boxes, ironing board (😁), etc.

Even if you have a small space to work with, try to have a “work-corner” that you “commute” to every day.

The key aim here is that you have a place with most or all of what you need to get work done effectively!

2. Investing in adequate technology tools

We live in different parts of the world so our technology experience and/or infrastructure could vary.

If you’re living in countries that provide you with good technology infrastructure, you simply need to be sure you have the right software and/ or hardware to get your job done. If you don’t, then you might need to spend more to set up adequate technology infrastructure.

As much as you can, try to invest in a good pair of headphones, MiFi, laptop, learning or productivity (technology) tools like Zoom, Trello, Asana, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, etc. Some of which could be free or gotten from affordable stores.

The key goal here is that you have the necessary tools that would make you productive and reduce possible work or mental stress. To drive the essence of this key goal, I’ll leave you with this video from Tripp and Tyler.

3. Communication

I would reword this to say “Overcommunicate”. Lack of communication often sends the wrong message that we might not know what to do or be doing anything. I know that we all hate it when our efforts are not recognized. However, we also don’t expect the people we work with, to be virtual mind readers. If we don’t share updates and/or the output of our work, then we might as well be ghost workers/ team members!

It is critical to ensure that you have open lines of communication with your team. As a direct report, own the process of scheduling your one-to-one (1:1) check-in meetings with your Manager. If you can, do make it a frequent (say weekly) meeting. This way, you are able to share details about your work, your goals, and use that as an opportunity to get feedback on-line-real-time. As a manager, always be available to support and build the team. Above all, praise the team when they do well and be honest regarding ways that they could be better.

4. Know yourself and how you work

If you work better in the morning, then plan your day where most of what you need to do, happen in the morning. You can then take meetings later in the day. If you are not a morning person, then maybe try the reverse. There is no hard and fast rule here but know what works best for you. I don’t have meetings before 10 am. I also try not to be on Slack or Whatsapp by that time. I use that time to plan my day, meditate, and work out before I start making my mark on the sands of time. 😁

5. Have a Remote Tribe

Our physical office space helps us to easily “connect” with people and we’re able to build good and supportive working relationships. However, it’s not that easy when you’re remote. So, you’ll have to be more intentional in horning or utilizing your networking skills.

If this doesn’t come easily to you, ask for help. In doing so, always remember to give back when you can. If you’re within a working relationship where all you do is take, then you’ll end up draining others when you don’t give back.

It should be a give and take relationship where people can learn from you and vice-versa.

6. Creating a work Ecosystem

I know that for a number of us, we don’t live alone. While this can be fun, it can also be challenging. So you’ll need to create your work and if I might add, your support ecosystem.

Where possible, try to let family members/housemates/ friends know that when you are at your workstation and have your headphones, you’re either trying to resolve something at work or you are on a call. I know that kids might not always understand this, but do try where you can and/or explore ways to keep them busy.

(Again, I emphasize the word “try”, especially if you’re living with toddlers and/or elderly parents who worry when they don’t hear you talk for a while).

It will take time but start creating the desired ecosystem that you want and hopefully, it all comes to manifestation.

7. Take care of yourself!!!

This is so critical for our mental wellbeing.

While it might be easy to log-off and “dash” out of the physical office, it’s hard to do this when you’re working from home. This is why I recommended earlier that you should try not to use your bed as your work station. As this could alter your sleep pattern because your brain isn’t sure what your bed is used for anymore! 😁

Take short breaks during your work-time to stretch or take a power nap if needed. They can help you relax, ease the stress from work, and also keep you healthy.

I tell my friends that aside from having a “work-space”, try to have a “fun zone”. Here, you can do something fun like dancing, learning Spanish, or binging on Netflix. I try to do this on Friday and Saturday nights where I get my popcorn/ snacks and get ready to have fun!

If you can, try to dedicate one day a week where you catch up with family and friends. They are the constant parts of our lives that would always be there to support us. My siblings and I have a group chat and we try to say “Hi” every single day. Then over the weekends, we gist, praise, banter, pray, or fight! 😁

There you have it, folks.

Hasta la proxima vez! (i.e. Spanish for “Until next time!”)

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Ivy Akonam(Ak) Ikpelue

People (HR) Consultant & Manager|| Food enthusiast|| Teen Counsellor|| Mentor || Coach|| Laughter champ||