Remote working is becoming more popular and accepted than ever before. The U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2015, more than 23% of Americans were working remotely, compared to 19% in 2003. Software service provider PGIA also conducted a global survey in which 60% of people who work remotely said they would gladly leave their current job for a full-time remote position if they could.
So, if you're a remote developer, you're not really on the wrong track. But hey, how do you work from home? How do you make sure you leave the couch, and do your job effectively? While it’s good to break the ice and come out with your own “new” ways to work efficiently from home, It is not always good to waste time rearranging your entire day.
A more productive way to use your time is to research and find out what the most successful executives in your industry usually do. Although their job descriptions may be different, all successful remote workers have some common habits - habits that set them aside from the pack and make them more successful than other corporate employees. Our goal here at Salahkaar is to help remote employees be more efficient, and achieve their goals.
Overall, the question is: What are the common habits amongst the most successful remote employees? Let's find out:
1. Highly productive employees take the tougher route:
Some project managers call it a “frog account”. But, it’s time to retire from that unpleasant term. Here's a little less graphic description: As soon a remote employee gets to work (yes, it's okay to get a cup of coffee first), high-end employees choose something from their to-do list, which most people might be scared of and give up on. This could be a meeting scheduled with the manager, an email to be sent, or reaching out to a difficult stakeholder, and so on. You get the idea! This is not easy, but the important thing is moving beyond the negative feeling that arises before a difficult task (anxiety, fear, confidence) towards the positive feeling we earn later (confidence, sense of accomplishment, optimism). Very productive employees use that boost to push themselves forward for the rest of the day.
2. Limit your distractions
Working from home can bring about a unique set of distractions. The dogs start barking when someone visits. Babies start screaming when it is their nap time. The lack of separation between work and home makes certain circumstances difficult to control. However, when you are in a meeting, focus on what’s ahead of you, not around you. My manager and I communicate via GoToMeeting every day. These meetings help us to be up to update on specific projects, review work in real-time, and discuss new opportunities. We spend most of our days working independently - these daily meetings are crucial for collaboration, and any distractions hinder productivity. Try to work in a specific space with doors that limit loud noises. If the noise comes out of your control, take the initiative to shut it out and keep distractions at bay.
3. Autonomy to Create your Workday
One of the great things about remote work is that you have the freedom to create your schedule. Are you a night owl that does more after sunset? Does a lunchtime workout help you focus every afternoon? Remote work is more self-directed - which means you have the autonomy to create your workday. High-performance teams don’t work until 9-5. But there is still a responsibility to stay in touch with your team. They need to be assured that you are working on the right projects and giving them results. Before you leave for that 12:30 spin class, have an honest conversation with your boss. Put across your main goals on the table for achievement. Design a schedule that allows you to contribute towards achieving these goals. This gives you a sense of ownership, as well as keeps your colleagues informed.
4. Create remote performance management routines
With limited physical communication, maintaining uniform performance and performance appraisals can be a challenge. Good performance management is important for maintaining performance-based incentives when your employees work remotely. But performance management should always be tailored to each employee. According to research by Ian Marek, there is a balanced divide between the average number of employees who prefer quarterly, monthly, and weekly feedback. It is also important to consider how you provide feedback. Whether it's written - such as email and instant messaging - or put across via a video call. The mode and method of feedback delivery can have a significant impact on employees and business outcomes.
5. They think and act like managers
Think like a manager. Successful remote workers understand that working remotely requires working at home, without the supervision of any manager. They also understand that to do their job well, they need to be their immediate supervisor and think and act like managers, not employees. And if you want to succeed, you need to do the same.
How do managers think and act? First, they take charge of their work. Managers think strategically about what needs to be done and then they take action. Managers learn to consolidate resources to achieve their objectives. Equally, administrators take care of the administrative part. For example, as a remote employee, you should be able to have a work-life balance. You should be able to manage workflows and contribute meaningfully to business processes.
There you have it, five habits to make you a productive remote employee! Go ahead, take your pick, and start incorporating these habits into your daily routine.