Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Everything You Need to Know to Succeed in Your New Remote Job

Starting a new remote job can be an exciting but nerve-wracking experience. When your office is your home, it takes some extra preparation and planning to make sure you're set up for success. Follow this complete guide to get ready for your remote job.

Choose Your Work Environment

One of the biggest decisions you'll make as you prepare to work remotely is choosing where in your home you want to set up your workspace. Look for a space that is quiet, has strong WiFi connectivity, and is free from distractions. If possible, have a door you can close to keep noise out and indicate when you're "in the office." Make sure you have room for your computer, phone, notebooks, and other work supplies. Natural lighting is helpful, but you may need lamps to avoid eyestrain. Don't overlook ergonomics - invest in a supportive office chair and elevate your laptop to the proper height. Taking the time to create the right work environment will make a big difference in your daily productivity and happiness. 

Set a Schedule

When you don't have to commute to an office every morning or log specific hours, it can be tempting to be lax with your schedule. Fight that urge by setting regular work hours for yourself as if you were going into an office. Block off time for breakfast, lunch, and snacks just like you would normally. Setting and sticking to a routine will help you stay focused during work hours and better disconnect in the evenings. Communicate your schedule with your manager and team to keep aligned. One perk of remote work is flexibility, so take advantage of the ability to adjust your hours as needed. Just be transparent so colleagues know when you're available.

Master Productivity Tools

Software and apps are your new colleagues, so take time getting to know the key tools you'll use every day. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom are essential to communicate with your team. Learn the controls before your first virtual meeting and test your mic and webcam. Cloud-based systems like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Asana help manage projects and keep everyone connected. Set notifications and become adept at using them. Take advantage of project management, communication, and productivity software provided by your company. Set up cloud storage and get tech support if needed. The more comfortable you become with these tools, the more effectively you'll be able to do your job.

Clarify Communication Expectations

When you aren't seeing your colleagues regularly, extra effort is required to communicate effectively. Discuss with your manager the team's preferences and expectations for contact. There may be standard hours or ways to get in touch depending on urgency. Make sure to over-communicate at first as you build new habits. Ask about the tone and frequency of emails, meeting etiquette, and deadlines for responses. Being aligned with your manager and team on communication norms from the start prevents future misunderstandings. Proactively provide status updates and ask clarifying questions over email or chat instead of waiting for meetings. Frequent communication creates connection in a virtual environment.

Learn Company Policies

In a remote setting, you'll be responsible for implementing many workplace policies and procedures on your own. Thoroughly read your company handbook and guidelines, save important contacts, and take notes on anything you need to follow up on. Get clarity on policies for time off, sick days, expense reimbursements, and equipment. Confirm onboarding requirements and advancement procedures as well. Don't be afraid to ask your manager any questions along the way. While companies aim to provide flexibility for remote employees, following established policies helps maintain fairness across the organization.

Define Your Role

Starting a new job remotely means you'll need to build an understanding of your role without the benefit of in-person interactions. Schedule one-on-one meetings with your manager and team members to learn about expectations. Define what success looks like in your position and how it ladders up to company goals. Request a 30, 60, and 90-day plan and use it to set milestones. Outline how you'll work with colleagues and your manager's preferences for meetings and checkpoints. The more clarity you gain early on regarding job responsibilities and team dynamics, the more focused you can be in your work.

Organize Your Technology

Get ready for your new job by organizing the technology you'll use for work. Designate your work laptop or device solely for professional use to avoid distractions. Make sure you have the right software installed and access to systems you'll need. Set up any new apps, accounts, passwords, and multifactor authentication required by your company. Make sure your internet connection is strong. Have chargers and accessories ready to go at your workspace. Test all equipment prior to your start date so you have peace of mind. Keep new employee documents, login credentials, and company contacts organized digitally and for quick access when you start.

Upgrade Your Video Call Setup 

Video calls quickly become indispensable when working remotely. Make sure you have a quality webcam, microphone, and headphones ready to go for meetings and training. Position your camera at eye level and aim for flattering lighting. Opt for simple backgrounds to avoid distractions. Check video call settings to customize your name display, mute controls, and viewing options. Practice joining test meetings to work out any kinks. Set reminders before virtual sessions. When video calling, look at the camera to make eye contact and speak clearly. A professional video presence makes you seem closer even when you aren't physically together.

Dress Appropriately 

You may be working from home, but that doesn't mean you should work in your pajamas. Establish a remote work wardrobe that signals to yourself you are in professional mode. You'll also feel more confident on video calls. Save the sweatpants for outside work hours. You don't necessarily need to wear business attire every day, but pull together a polished casual look. Stay camera-ready in case of impromptu video meetings. Keeping up appearances helps you get in a work mindset even when no one else can see you in person.

Minimize Distractions

Between kids, pets, partners, and deliveries, you'll have to manage many disruptions working from home. Do what you can to minimize distractions during set work hours. Hang a "do not disturb" sign, silence notifications, and use noise-cancelling headphones. Set house rules and boundaries with others you live with about respecting your workspace. Take breaks when you can and communicate your schedule to alleviate interruptions. When disruptions do occur, shift your mindset to stay patient, take a deep breath, and get back on track when you can. Creating separation between your work and home life will help you stay focused.

Craft Your Office

Designing your remote office setup isn't just about function - it can also inspire you and bring work joy. Decorate your space in a way that motivates and uplifts you. Add personal touches like photos, artwork, soft furnishings, and inspiring quotes. Have snacks on hand to keep your energy up. Get a plant to add life to your workspace. Consider using a diffuser or soft music to promote focus. Create a detailed calendar to stay on top of deadlines. Use organizers and whiteboards to brainstorm ideas. Your office space should reflect your brand personal style while also being free from clutter.

Establish Boundaries

Balancing work and home in one space can be tricky. That's why setting firm boundaries is key when adjusting to remote work. Define specific work hours and locations where you'll take calls and meet deadlines. When time is up, transition out of work mode by changing your clothes, shut down devices, and switching locations. Limit checking emails and slack outside defined hours to avoid burnout. Be honest with household members about when you're unavailable. Learning to say no to non-work related asks during the workday prevents distraction and guilt. Establish tactics to truly "leave work at work" and be present at home. Boundaries take practice, but ultimately help you thrive in your role.  

Connect with Colleagues

When working remotely, it's important not to feel isolated from your team and company culture. Take advantage of opportunities to get to know colleagues on a personal level. Schedule video calls to put faces to names and learn about each other. Join virtual coffee breaks, team lunches, and watercooler conversations when possible. Attend remote social events to connect more casually. Get involved in employee resource groups aligning with your interests. Follow coworkers on social media and engage in conversations. And remember to share your own experiences as well to build trust and rapport. Fostering human connections virtually ensures you feel recognized, included, and supported even from afar.

Define Your Goals

Having clearly defined goals and metrics of success will help motivate you and measure progress as you transition into your new remote position. Ask your manager to outline short and long-term goals tied to company objectives. Break down larger goals into smaller milestones with target completion dates to stay on track. Outline how you'll collaborate with others to achieve deliverables. Develop an action plan for hazy areas of your role with quantifiable results. Regularly revisit your goals and track accomplishments. Collaborate on mid-year and annual reviews. Remote workers have to be proactive in defining and demonstrating their value through results. By continually aligning your efforts with company goals, you prove your impact even offsite. 

Master Time Management

When working on your own from home, it's easy to lose track of time or procrastinate. Refine your time management skills by breaking large projects down into tasks of 90 minutes or less to maintain momentum. Use schedules, to-do lists, calendars, and reminders to stay on top of your workload and avoid multitasking. Block time to tackle priorities and limit distractions. Take real lunch breaks to recharge. When you feel your energy lag, change locations or take a quick walk. Be diligent about meeting deadlines. Recording how long tasks take will help estimate work timelines. Define daily and weekly accomplishments to keep making steady progress. Working remotely requires self-discipline, so continually develop habits that maximize your productivity.

Care for Your Wellbeing

Your health and self-care must also remain a priority when getting accustomed to remote work's flexibility and isolation. Avoid spending all day at your desk without moving - build in time for exercise, stretching, and screen breaks. Hydrate often. Make nutritious eating choices rather than snacking all day. Adjust your workspace to prevent strain. Conduct meetings during normal hours instead of letting work bleed into nights and weekends. Take vacation and sick days when you need them. Make time for hobbies you enjoy and social connections outside of work. Set daily rituals that help you restart each morning. Take your full lunch break away from your computer. Listen to your body's limits and rest when you feel overwhelmed. Don't neglect your physical and mental wellbeing - they fuel your performance.

Ask for Help When Needed

When starting a new job remotely, don't struggle alone if something is unclear or you feel overwhelmed. Reach out early and often to your manager, teammates, HR department, and IT support when needed. Schedule regular check-ins and feedback sessions. Be transparent about your workload and any challenges you face. Ask questions to learn processes and expectations. It's better to over-communicate and clarify than miss objectives. Don't wait until issues escalate - nip problems in the bud before they become major roadblocks. Seek and accept help, advice, and resources. Develop allies who can lend different perspectives. While remote work requires independence, you shouldn't feel like you're on your own. Collaborating and communicating needs prevents misalignment.

Embrace Remote Work Perks

Working remotely certainly comes with its challenges, but keeping a positive perspective helps productivity and motivation. Appreciate the perks like no commute, comfortable clothes, and extra family time. Savor being able to make your own coffee and snacks. Take advantage of flexibility to get chores done during breaks and shift your schedule when needed. Blast your favorite music or podcasts while working. Enjoy operating at peak energy times rather than being bound to 9-5. Relish natural lighting and opening windows when you need a breath of fresh air. Leverage tech tools to find efficient workflows over traditional ways. Get creative having virtual lunch outings or coffee breaks with coworkers. Keeping an optimistic outlook helps you cherish the unique benefits and thrive in a remote environment.

With the right preparation and mindset, you can tackle your new remote job with confidence and succeed working from home. Follow these tips to get ready for your first day and smoothly adjust to virtual work. Maintain communication and connection with colleagues so you feel supported. Set a schedule that maximizes productivity but still allows work-life balance. Invest time mastering remote technology tools. Define goals and performance metrics based on company objectives. Proactively ask questions and request help when needed. And embrace an optimistic perspective to appreciate the advantages of remote work. By setting up the proper work environment, habits, communication channels, and goals, you will hit the ground running and quickly become a valued remote employee. Best of luck with your exciting new remote role!

1 comment:

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