How to win at remote work?
Remote Work Wonders: A Simple Guide to Success
Introduction: My name is Tushar Saroch and my remote work experience of 6+ years qualifies me to share tips, tricks, and hacks to make you WIN in a remote working environment.
You should read this till the end if you are working remotely, aspire to work remotely, or only think that remote work is easy work.
This is strictly my POV but is open to feedback, criticism, and appreciation as well.
Remote work offers numerous advantages, but it's crucial to recognize that this shift can lead to certain challenges, such as the development of a sedentary lifestyle.
Let's explore how adapting to remote work also means adapting to a more active and healthier daily routine.
Avoid the sedentary lifestyle
So you are not commuting to your workplace anymore, saving a lot of time and even snoozing your alarm till the last minute.
It takes less than 30 seconds for your slept laptop to wake up and it takes hours for you to get into the groove, to get things done.
If the start of your day at work follows this pattern then soon this will be developed into a sedentary lifestyle.
It's time to understand how important it is for your mind and body to adapt to remote settings.
Waking up 30-45 minutes before your work schedule is necessary to boot up to reality, shake away the desire to slumber and be ready to kick some t(AAS)ks off your checklist.
As per Dr ChatGPT, a sedentary lifestyle gives birth to problems like Weight Gain, Cardiovascular Issues, Muscle Weakness, Back and Posture Problems, Metabolic Disorders, Reduced Lung Function, Mental Health Issues, Digestive Problems, Reduced Productivity, Social Isolation, Sleep Problems, Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases.
To steer away from a sedentary lifestyle make a weekly activity plan. Make sure to indulge in some physical activity thrice a week and remember more the frequency the better. I recommend playing a sport of interest because it will have multiple benefits improving both physical and mental wellbeing. So do not forget to curate a schedule and stick to it.
Is visibility really a challenge in a remote work environment?
While adjusting to a remote work environment, we need to be conscious of both our physical health and our professional presence.
One significant aspect that often comes up is visibility.
I have heard the majority of pro-office work breed, claiming that remote work kills visibility. I being the advocate of remote work would like to challenge this claim.
What is visibility?
Attaching a name to a face and being remembered not just for your work but for your resourcefulness sums up to be visibility at the workplace.
Remote work kills the traditional channels of visibility.
You no longer can prove yourself to be resourceful by just booking a meeting room, holding lifts for your team members or catching a smoke break with your senior.
You have to utilise the larger group virtual meetings to discuss about ideas, give feedback, ask questions and contribute by paying attention to the speaker. I remember when I was working at Amazon and during all the virtual meetings there was complete silence when the Q&A slide used to come up. I was usually the only one asking questions and appreciating the content shared by the speaker. I am a firm believer that “No question is stupid” and if there is an opportunity to discuss ideas or give feedback it should be utilised.
If you are already practising this and also accomplishing the humongous task of turning the camera on then you my friend have more visibility than a lighthouse on a dark, stormy night.
I think I won the case against the pro-office work breed!!
Understanding conflict in remote communication
As we discuss visibility, it's important to acknowledge that remote work not only changes how we're seen in our professional roles but also how we communicate effectively, especially considering the limitations of written messages.
I remember discussing an initiative with my team member on messages and we had some disagreements.
We continued to post our comments and when the discussion was over my tone was perceived to be rude/bossy by my team member.
There is no one's mistake here!
text is not meant to communicate emotions.
How did I fix it?
I right away apologised if I came out to be rude and the next day squashed all the misunderstandings on a call.
The worst mode of solving conflict or having a discussion is via messages.
The reason is that messages do not convey the tone and emotions.
One can perceive your concern to be an attack and your applaud to be sarcastic.
Always remember to choose the right channels for communication.
After all, you would never want to debate on the topic of Messi VS Ronaldo on messages and trust me refrain from taking this debate to virtual meetings as well.
Some topics are better not to be discussed and kept away from professional settings.
Have a dedicated work setup
Now, shifting our focus from effective communication, let's talk about the importance of your workspace.
While your bed may be comfortable, remote work demands a table and chair.
As per my personal experience, I'm least productive when working on my bed.
I used to nap during work, sometimes for 2-3 hours.
This pattern is unhealthy for both focus and performance at work.
Avoid working at the dining table, as you'll be tempted by food, which can make you less productive and contribute to weight gain.
Trust me, the table and chair combination will bring zen to your life.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
After giving gyaan on the importance of a workstation, let's focus on the role of family, friends or your partner with whom you share the space.
How can I strike a balance among work and life?
It is quite simple actually, I tend to complete all my work during working hours and do not pile up things to be completed during off hours or the weekends. I do have a priority list in life which helps me choose between work and life in a particular situation. If in a situation I have to attend to an emergency where my dear one is involved, I will take off from work and prioritise supporting my dear one.
If you constantly hear remarks like 'you're working 24/7, this is slavery,' it's a sign you might be overworking.
Do not let remote work prove to be the reason for your foul or irritating behaviour with your loved ones.
Don’t frown when someone cleans your room while you are in a meeting, don’t lose your temper when your mother asks you to take a break and have your meals and don’t stall meeting your close friends on weekends.
Remote work has given the liberty of working inside your comfort space of four walls but this does not mean that you should lose the exploration instinct.
Work diligently during work hours and cherish quality time with loved ones during non-work hours.
Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is truly a blessing.
A final note (if you made it till here)
I've saved a golden tip for you if you've read this far.
Think about how it feels when someone celebrates your achievements with you; it's an amazing feeling, right? So, the next time you witness someone getting rewarded, praised, or promoted, join in their happiness.
And if you notice someone struggling at work, it might be a good time to ask, 'How are you doing, my friend?'
Be a listening ear if someone sees you as their safe space and speak up against any injustice.
In a nutshell, practice empathy and kindness.
Feel confident about your remote work journey, and remember, whether you work remotely or not, the world finds its balance.