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How To Survive As a Remote Worker

In 30 years time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

I just finished reading Remote: Office Not Required and while reading wrote a list of points that would help me survive as a remote-worker. This post is not about the benefits of remote work rather it already assumes remote-working is awesome. If you are looking for tips on how to make sure it works for you then keep reading.

  • Divide your work communication between highly-urgent, urgent, not-so-urgent:
    • 5% of your questions are highly-urgent i.e. use phone
    • 15% of your questions are urgent i.e. use instant messaging
    • 80% of your question are not-so-urgent i.e. use email
  • A successful remote working setup usually requires some overlap of working hours between co-workers otherwise it won’t be an ideal situation
  • Use screen-sharing (Google Hangout, Skype etc.) and screen-recording to describe or show work during meeting etc.
  • Everything should be accessible to everyone all the time (use DropBox, GitHub, Basecamp, Google Drive etc.) so that important stuff is not locked with only one person e.g. a shared team calendar is a good idea
  • A shared team chat room (e.g. Slack, Campfire) is good for social cohesion and to goof around with coworkers
  • Sometimes work from a co-working space, library, park, cafe etc as that’ll reduce loneliness. Your working space doesn’t always have to be your home-office.
  • Invest in the right chair, desk and screen so not to ruin your back, eyesight or anything else on your body.
  • The time and money saved by not commuting should be invested in exercise/gym and healthier lifestyle. Work from home not from bed 🙂
  • Your only way to win is by showing progress and work, its lot harder to fake things which is great news for team productivity.
  • Good writing skills are important as your majority communication is going to be email, chat, discussion boards
  • Worry about over-working and not under-working as without self-discipline you could end up working all day. Time tracking to put 40 hours a week on average works well.
  • Build a daily routine which not necessarily has to be 9-5 but the one that works best to accommodate work and family life perhaps working 4 hours then 2 hours family time and then working 4 hours again works best for you.
  • Remote work isn’t binary, you could work remotely in morning and come to office around lunch
  • The way to make sure you are not ignored being remote is by showing exceptional work/progress