7 tips for the remote worker
In this ever changing world, more and more employers are providing flexible work arrangements for their employees. I am fortunate to be included in this new style of workforce. When forced with the necessity to move away from my work location my employer insisted that my employment was valued and suggested working remotely.
I’m a Personal Assistant as well as the Human Resource Manager. Although very happy with the opportunity, I was also very scared and wondered how it would work. After twelve months in the new arrangements I have learnt the following tips:
- Technology – I can’t stress enough the importance of reliable, up-to-date technology. My essentials include a laptop, mobile phone, iPad, landline and fast reliable internet.
- Find the right programs – Skype is a valuable tool for meetings and communication. I have successfully used Skype to conduct employee inductions and interviews. Team Viewer lets you ‘take over’ another persons computer when you need to show them something or for training purposes. Citrix lets you connect to your company server. Microsoft Outlook for time management and coordination. There are so many to choose from. When making your choices, remember to consider the help that is available, ongoing costs and ease of use.
- Work environment – permanently set up a workspace. It helps you get in the right frame of mind. When in the workspace, you are there to work. You have everything you need in the workspace so that you can get through the work. Consider what essential tools you require including printer, scanner, laptop or desktop computer, comfortable chair, desk and stationery.
- Remember to get up and walk around. It’s easy when you are working on your own to forget and spend too much time without breaks. Go for a walk at lunch time and get out of the house.
- Communication – the key glue that holds everything together is communication. Stay connected, attend meetings (phone or Skype), email staff, and phone in on a daily basis. This is vital in order to stay connected and informed. Stay connected with key employees. If possible, travel to the main office twice a year to renew the bond with staff and attend important functions (Team building days, parties, training etc.)
- Set boundaries – the final tip is something that is easy to forget. It’s afterhours and you are finished for the day. But you remember you were expecting an important email so you log back on. Or you didn’t get a task finished so you log in on the weekend to do that one quick job. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. You may find yourself logging on early and logging off late. You may find friends and family wanting to drop around or phone you because they know you are at home. Be firm with them and set boundaries on when they can call or visit. Don’t forget to take your breaks. Remember to get out of the house, go for a walk at lunch time. Display a sign on the door to keep sales people away. Follow the rules of your organisation, if you are not permitted personal calls during the day, then don’t take them from your home workstation. Work and home need to be separate so it is important you work as if you were in the main office. By not having strong boundaries you may find yourself burning out.
- Trust – this is a vital element to any working relationship. The employer trusts that you will manage your workflow in a reasonable time frame and accurately record the time on the timesheet. They will trust that you are giving your work 100% of your focus, as if you were physically working in the office environment. The employee needs to trust that the employer will keep them informed, communicate their needs and ensure the employee is included. It’s the little touches that make the different.
Kerri Schulz | HR Manager | The Money Edge | Bundaberg