今日推荐英文原文：《How to Work Better Remotely》
今日推荐英文原文：《How to Work Better Remotely》作者：Amanda Woo
How to Work Better Remotely
8 ways to master remote workingMost of us dream of working on a white-sand beach with the temptation of blue ocean waters just a few steps away. Our fantasy of a flexible working schedule, productively working in your pajamas from the couch and avoiding the long, stressful commute to and from work sounds amazing.
It really is until the honeymoon period of the remote work fades. Reality starts to kick in, and a whole new set of challenges begins to appear with remote working. From time-zone differences to feeling isolated and disconnected from the organization, remote work can be intimidating. A study revealed 70% of remote workers felt left out of the workplace.
Having said that, remote working is growing in popularity at a rapid rate. Between 2005-2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. Another study found that 55% of remote workers would be likely to look for another job if they were no longer allowed to work remotely.
Then, there are global events like the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak we’re currently in the mist of. The WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic, which has forced many organizations to try the remote-working trend, particularly via working from home. It’s become a mandatory norm.
Companies like Slack, GitLab, DuckDuckGo, and Buffer have established remote working across the globe for a while now. But there are many companies that are just starting to figure out how to enable and set up their employees for remote work.
This is no simple shift. Evolving an organizations culture to accept and integrate the remote-working practice is often one of the biggest challenges. Then there’s also the need to cover the foundational aspects, such as reliable, high-speed internet. But we won’t unravel that aspect in this article.
Today, we’ve become comfortable with integrating the internet into almost everything we do. This has made remote working highly attractive for both employers, employees, and freelancers. Businesses can benefit from significant cost savings and increased access to top talent while also improving employee retention and reducing mental illness. Remote working can help employees and freelancers to reduce stress, to improve their health and work-life balance, and to be more productive.
Whether you’re new to remote working or already work remotely, here are eight ways that have worked well for me over the past decade to establish a routine that keeps me productive when working outside of an office.
Note to reader: Please don’t feel like you need to try these all at once. You may already do some of these well. My suggestion would be to pick one to start with. Once you’ve got that working well, pick another.
1. Have a RoutineWhen we work at an office, we often have a morning routine that keeps us on some schedule.
This implicitly motivates one to plan and/or time box their activities (e.g., getting ready, workouts, making breakfast, etc.) in the morning. For example, if you need to be in the office by 9 a.m., you’d likely plan your wake up time by the number of activities you need to do and the time each activity will take.
How to establish a routine
- Set a time that you’ll start or “go to” work
- Define your getting-ready morning routine
- Wake up at the same time every day for work
- Change out of your pajamas so you’re mentally prepared for work
- Block out a break for lunch, even if its only 10 minutes
- Schedule in workouts and/or social activities after work in the same way you’d do when working at an office
2. Be OrganizedBeing organized isn’t always easy, but it’s a habit worth practicing. Organizing has several benefits — from giving you a sense of control to reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed. Additionally, it helps to clear your head of clutter and helps you to be more productive at work while reducing stress.
How to become organized
- Set daily and weekly goals
- Plan out your day before it starts
- Estimate and be reasonable with the time things will take to do
- Think about who you might need to collaborate with in advance
- Schedule meetings and discussions in advance so they happen in a timely manner
- Have a clear view of your tasks for the day (i.e., by using a notepad and/or calendar)
3. Set PrioritiesHave you been in a situation where you’ve worked extra hard on an initiative, then for some reason the direction changed and your effort and time felt wasted? There’s a high probability the priorities were not well defined before beginning this initiative.
The key to managing your time well and making progress on your goals is having a set of clearly defined priorities. Having well-defined priorities brings clarity to decisions you make, which then results in higher productivity. The reality is our work often involves and impacts the colleagues and stakeholders we need to collaborate with, so having a set of clear priorities enables good communication with others.
How to establish priorities
- Define/understand the goals
- Determine which goals are the most important and why
- Assess value, urgency, and importance
- Obtain an estimated effort
- Be adaptable and flexible toward change and uncertainty
4. Eliminate DistractionsEliminating distractions is interrelated with some of the other ways to master remote working: having a routine(#1) , being organized (#2), taking breaks (#7), and practicing self-disciplined (#8).
It’s important that boundaries for working hours are defined — such as no Netflix during working hours.
How to minimize distractions
- Block out time for you to do work
- Define an area of your home that’ll be the working space
- Set up a working space that’s optimized for productivity (i.e., maybe you’d like a laptop stand, keyboard, office chair, etc.)
- Maintain a clean, clutter-free working space
- Enable “do not disturb” on all things to increase focus
- Recognize when you’re being unproductive, and switch tasks or take a break
5. Communicate With IntentTo communicate effectively is to communicate with intent. When working from home or remotely, the quality of communication is magnified.
Either things are lost in translation because we lack the complementary visual of facial expression and the tone of voice or we’re forced to think more carefully about the purpose of our communication before acting on it, which can create nonaction. It tends to be the former. There are also less opportunities to have ad-hoc conversations, such as the random afternoon coffee mingling sessions or the quick in-between meeting talks.
How to communicate with intent
- Speak both candidly and empathetically
- Use visuals (e.g., video chat or diagrams) as often as possible
- Be explicit about the purpose and desired outcome of the conversation
- Articulate your goal for the conversation
- Share your feelings openly
- Be an active listener
Finding alternative opportunities to simulate face-to-face and spontaneous communication are necessary for encouraging information flow and relationship building across teams and the broader organization.
6. Use Your VideoDid you know that people retain 65% of the information three days later if a relevant image is paired with that same information compared to remembering only 10% of that information three days later if an image isn’t used?
Conducting video instead of voice calls enables us to have more empathetic and engaging conversations. We can observe in real time how our colleagues and stakeholders are reacting to the conversation.
This visual context creates a better understanding and awareness of other people’s body language (e.g., facial expressions) as well as our own. Video also helps to create better engagement on the calls since it gives you the opportunity to use hand cues and facial expressions and to continuously gauge when you’re losing people’s attention.
How to get comfortable with video
- Pretend as if this meeting was in person (dress comfortably)
- Test your video setup before getting on the actual call
- Turn your camera on by default for meetings
- Use “gallery mode,” so you can see all of the participants in the meeting
- Consider using icebreakers/energizers
7. Take BreaksWe work in demanding, fast-paced environments where it’s often difficult to pause and take a break during the day. Usually, we’re caught eating lunch at our desk or during a meeting.
However, being deliberate about taking breaks can help to reduce distractions and stress. It’s about practicing self-care so you’re motivated and performing well. This ensures you’re more focused and fosters critical thinking — thus increasing productivity and creativity.
How to incorporate breaks
- Regularly block out some time in your day for lunch
- If its a nice day, eat your lunch outside (e.g., at a nearby park)
- When you can’t focus, go for a short walk or stand up and stretch
- Treat yourself to a coffee at the local cafe
- Leverage breaks as an opportunity to get to know colleagues
8. Practice Self-DisciplineStudies show people with self-discipline are happier. Owl Labs also found people who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive. Discipline helps to create a separation between work and personal time, especially when you’re working and living in the same place.
How to learn self-discipline
- Recognize your weaknesses
- Remove distractions (i.e., out of sight, out of mind)
- Focus on accomplishing achievements (e.g., set and meet your goals)
- Pick one new habit at a time to instill
- Adjust your perception
ConclusionWorking remotely is a trend that’s here to stay and will only continue to evolve. Practicing all the approaches above will help you become a master of remote working, whether it’s at home, a coworking space, a cafe, or the beach.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind there are some prerequisites, such as having a high-quality internet connection. Without this, communication will break down. leading to a rapid decline in productivity due to frustrations building up between you and your colleagues.
The best way to get started is to just get started. Pick one of the approaches above. Practice and refine it until it becomes a habit. Then, pick another to start mastering.
Thanks for reading!