Remote Work: 29 Simple Tips To Tame Telework [& Fight Covid-19]

I have always been a staunch supporter of Remote Work, which I have been practicing for over six years.

I see a lot of advantages in teleworking: 

  • increased productivity
  • less waste of time in transport
  • ecology
  • stress management
  • better reconciliation between professional and personal life 

Unfortunately, mentalities in India have been slow to change in this area.

Given the successive crises that we have gone through (repeated strikes at the end of the year) and facing, I wanted to bring my modest stone to the tower of Remote Work. 

Hoping these tips serve you (or your manager) to organize yourself in the coming weeks better.

Once the crisis has passed, I hope that you will take a liking to Remote Work and that you will continue the experience, even on a part-time basis.

Here are 29 tips for taming Remote Work 👇

1st Step: Build confidence in Remote Work

Teleworking can scare those who have never done it before. Will I be able to work? Will my work be recognized? How to organize me? What tools to use? How to collaborate effectively?

The manager can also ask himself some legitimate questions. How to organize the work of my teams? How to check that everyone is moving in the right direction? What is my role if I no longer have a team on-site? How to manage, in other words?

The only reasonable answer to be given is the trust that must be placed in human genius, in the procedures to be followed (they are fun), and the tools to be used (they are not complex).

But to build that trust, you have to get organized.

We must fight them one after the other to create an environment conducive to Remote Work.

This is what we will try to do. 👇

Clarify roles & objectives

It is essential to clarify the roles of each. 

Knowing your role in a business may seem obvious.

But when you are at a distance and have less opportunity to interact with your colleagues and superiors, your mission may seem much more blurred…

It is a source of stress!

Tip 1: Take the time to define your mission for the telework period clearly. 

This mission must be concrete:

  • What are your goals for deliverables
  • Who you will have to collaborate with
  • What are the missions of the people with whom you will collaborate

To organize yourself, the OKR method offers a structuring framework and allows you to obtain results quickly.

It consists of choosing objectives (“O”), which materialize by a goal to be achieved. 

It then involves selecting up to 5 key results (“KRs”) against which to measure progress towards achieving the goal. 

Each “OKR” can also include initiatives describing the work required to achieve the key results and associated metrics.

💡 Tip: you can use the “OKR Tracking” Airtable Template.

“ OKR Tracking ” Airtable Template .

Complete your OKRs and have them validated by your boss.

Ask him to do the same for the people with whom you will need to collaborate during your period of Remote.

You will thus all have a perfectly defined mission, objectives, and tasks.

This allows everyone to align themselves and to feel involved and concerned by a joint mission.

Use a collaborative tool such as Airtable to share your collective and individual OKRs ☝️

Clarify the rules

You spontaneously know the rules that apply to the office, such as hours, for example.

In Remote, your organization can be more accessible. For example, you can give yourself time during the day to accompany your children to school and pick them up when they leave. [Obviously, scrupulously respect the confinement]

Your schedules will, therefore, not necessarily be modeled on those you practice in the office.

The same goes for the organization of your work.

You will generally be much more productive than in the office, where the demands are constant. 

So you should be able to work better in less time. 💪

2nd tip: Play transparency on your working hours, and be clear about the time slots during which you can be contacted.

Schedule regular points with your manager. For example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 am.

Set an agenda for each scheduled item.

Define in advance when you need to go to the office.

Tip 3: Make sure this transparency is applied to the people you need to collaborate with. You need to know who you are going to meet physically when you are in the office (if you still have the opportunity) and who you will need to collaborate with remotely. 

A shared calendar with the days and times of each person’s face-to-face and distance is essential.

Find the proper organization.

It is not easy for everyone to work from home.

If this is the first time, start by taking care of your work environment. 

Do you have a room in your apartment that serves as an office? It’s perfect. 

Otherwise, choose a location that can serve as your office. Don’t change it.

Tip 4: Avoid working in your bed or on your sofa. Find a convenient place in your apartment and make it your office.

Make it as comfortable as possible.

Choose a chair that won’t hurt your back or tailbone after an hour. 

If you don’t have anything comfortable, invest in an Ikea office chair, for example.

If possible, bring decorative elements that make you think of your office in a company. 

Make sure to make it fun and enjoyable. 

Plants, photos, or paintings will probably do the trick.

Also, pay attention to the lighting. It should be sufficient so as not to strain your eyes. And if you can benefit from daylight, do not deprive yourself of it!

Tip 5: invest in the right equipment. This is an essential point. 

Don’t waste time with a stubborn old computer. Ask your company to provide you with a recent laptop. 

Also, invest in a good headset with a microphone if you don’t have one. It will serve you for your remote meetings.

Tip 6: invest in a good connection. 

Take the opportunity to switch to fiber if you haven’t already. Video meetings require a lot of bandwidth. 

There is nothing more stressful and annoying than having connection issues during an important meeting that is being held at a distance.

I prefer a wired connection to WIFI.

Tip 7: Be clear with your family. Once you’ve set up your workspace, let your family know that this is your workspace. 🚫

The rule should be straightforward: if you are sitting at your desk, you should not be disturbed under any circumstances, absolutely NONE!

Opt for effective routines

Distractions are plentiful, and motivation can quickly fail you in an environment that is not precisely the one you are used to working in.

Repeating the same ritual every day will help you:

stay focused on what you have to do

  • get to work and stay focused.
  • It’s good for self-confidence, in one’s ability to deliver!

8th tip: Adopt a ritual as soon as you wake up. For example, you are making your bed, having breakfast, doing yoga, stretching, or meditation. Take the children to school, oh well, they’re closed. 🤔 Arrange activities for children so that they are as independent as possible. You put them in front of a video game console. 🤪

Either way, don’t dive straight into your job. Schedule a time for yourself between waking up and going to work.

9th tip: Dress up! Yes, it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas at home. I know what I’m talking about 😜 

Why is this important? 

Because you have to build clear boundaries between work and your personal life, if you don’t, you risk quickly exhausting yourself by working too much or, on the contrary, dispersing yourself by being sucked into various distractions like watching your favorite series on Netflix.

So take a good shower and get dressed!

Tip 10: Establish clear rules about your working hours. 

This applies to you, but also to your coworkers – they need to know when they can contact you – or your family members – they need to know when they can disturb you.

Tip 11: Take breaks. 

At the office, they are spontaneous: a colleague who comes to tell you about his last vacation in the Bahamas, a coffee break, the lunch break…

At home, it is less obvious, and you can easily stay in front of your computer for long hours without ever stopping. 

It is a mistake. Exhaustion awaits, and the decline in creativity and motivation is inevitable.

Implement tip #10 and schedule breaks at set times. 

Close your computer, forget your smartphone, and do activities that have nothing to do with your work: walking, shopping, listening to music, cooking… [Obviously, strictly respect the confinement]

These breaks revitalize you, fuel your creativity and productivity.

Tip 12: Exercise. 

Usually, you walk to work, have a coffee at the distributor, meet an employee, make an appointment, or even eat…

remote work exercises

At home, your movements will be very restricted. 

This is obviously not good for your physique and your morale.

By applying tip 11, plan activities that require you to move, and if possible, get out of your home!

Tip 13: Eat a healthy diet and drink a lot (water, eh!). 

With you, the temptations are great. The cupboard full of cookies is close at hand, and laziness can prevent you from having a real “healthy” lunch break.

And I know what I’m talking about. I nibble all day, and I have lunch standing in 4th gear for junk food…

But while writing his lines, I decided to pull myself together 😁!

Hmm, not sure, actually 😋

2nd Step: Fight isolation

I could have contented myself with classifying this item in the previous chapter, but it is so crucial to your success as a “Remote Worker” that I preferred to devote a stand-alone chapter to it.

And this is all the more true with the health crisis we are currently going through.

In regular times, teleworking does not have to be synonymous with working from home.

Some Remote Workers prefer to settle in coworking spaces close to their place of residence or in cafes that accept and are adapted to this kind of practice.

Obviously, these are places of socialization, in which it is possible to meet people, have a coffee, discuss your holidays or discuss your work.

When you’re confined to your home, it’s more complicated.

And isolation can quickly become synonymous with loss of confidence, loss of identity, depression. 😱

It is therefore essential to combat this corrosive feeling. 🦠

How? ‘Or’ What?

By exchanging very regularly with your colleagues, partners, customers… 

14th tip: To talk and get out of the confinement of your “Home Office,” don’t just use the phone. 

Use the Remote Work tools, at the top of which are the video chat or online conferencing tools.

We will discuss them a little later in this article. 👇

Remember here that you have to be active on these remote communication tools and that you should not use them only for professional exchanges.

Show a little imagination and invite your colleagues to small extraordinary events such as a “lunch in Remote” to be reproduced every Tuesday and Thursday, for example, or a debate on the latest series of the moment which hit every Friday. At 18 o’clock.

I’m sure you’ll find plenty of ideas and don’t hesitate to share them in the comments. 👇

Step 3: Adopt the best productivity techniques

Sincerely, take advantage of being at home to work better, but less!

This will give you time for your passions, or why not launch a side project that will soon make you extremely rich (online training on crochet, a video series on how to become the absolute master on Fortnite, an online business selling FFP2 masks…).

I’m serious!

It’s a great opportunity to learn about the productivity techniques of the best entrepreneurs.

There are, of course, hundreds of them. 

They are also very personal. Some will work on you, while others will be completely ineffective.

I will present mine to you as well as a bibliography that will allow you to do your market.

Apply them to test them and make them your own. Of course, drop those that have no effect on you.

Tip 15: Your calendar is an atomic weapon. 

At the weekend, plan your work for the entire week ahead from a “macro” perspective.

Example:

Monday

  • From 9 am to 9.30 am do the quick tasks to do you get rid of small tasks that can stay in your mind all day and pollute it if they have not been done: “damn, I mustn’t forget to do this and that…”,
  • From 9:30 am to 11:00 am “Client A” file
  • from 11 am to 12:30 pm processing emails, phone calls, slack, social networks
  • from 2 pm to 4 pm remote meetings
  • from 4 pm to 5 pm break
  • from 5 pm to 7 pm “Organization of the next customer event” file

Ditto for the other days of the week

Then each evening, complete your agenda with the actual tasks you need to accomplish.

Example:

Monday 

  • Client A: prepare the mission schedule, open, collaborative space with the client, prepare the preliminary questions necessary to launch the project, etc.

Why is this important?

Simply because you will no longer need to think about what to do when you start your day.

And believe me, it’s a hell of a comfort.

If not, here’s what you risk:

  • Hang out on social media, news sites, dating sites…
  • Process your emails as soon as you attack your day.

I know it’s super tempting, but it’s a grave mistake because you risk dispersing yourself. One of your clients urgently asks you for something (when he can easily reach, we agree, eh, and then otherwise he would go by phone), you answer it and bim, your organization is shattered; or you decide not to answer it and bim, your brain will only think about it, your stress rate will skyrocket. 😒

  • Depends on your inspiration. There are days when it works, others when it is much more uncertain.

As a result, you don’t know what to do to start your day; you think that you don’t have much urgent to do, your morale takes a hit because you feel like you are useless when in fact, the whole earth is counting on you…

Get in the habit of systematically ending each day by planning the tasks for the next day.

You will see, you will boost. 🚀

Why your calendar rather than a dedicated application such as Todos management? 

Simply because you will only have to manage one tool, not two, and a calendar view is more efficient than a stack of to-dos.

You can simply organize your calendar with different colors to quickly identify your appointments, your phone meetings, and your to-dos, for example.

Tip 16: Break up your projects into small tasks. 

It’s good for morale and for efficiency. The OKR method discussed above will help you.

For example, you need to make the following website for your business.

What to start with? 🤔 The design, the editorial, the rubric, the choice of a service provider, the specifications, the selection of techno, the objectives of the site…?

You can see that if you put a task in your diary: “build the website,” you run the risk of getting lost, and above all of being faced with a mountain that will seem impassable to you. 🏔

Everest type what! 

It’s complicated… you’re going to give up your sanity once again. 🤕

So prefer perfectly achievable tasks. It is enough to divide the significant actions into small tasks.

If you write in your diary “define the first level items,” it will seem much simpler to you than “create the website.”

In addition, you organize your project and, therefore, your time much better every day = a perfectly achievable task.

Tip 17: Opt for an application that allows you to block access to certain websites at certain times of the day.

It’s frankly simple, and you are at home, you no longer feel the social pressure on your shoulders; suddenly, you will be flitting on social media, news sites, and other distractions… 

The solution?

Block these sites during your working hours! 🚫

So, you won’t even be tempted to go. 

It is magic.

I use Rescue time. But there are many other solutions. FocusMe also looks good to me.

Rescue time

18th tip: The “zero inbox”! Doesn’t it stress you to have dozens and dozens of emails in your inbox? 

You might not feel like it, but it’s actually bad for your morale!

The solution, end your day by emptying your inbox!

How? ‘Or’ What?

It’s pretty simple:

  1. respond to emails that require a quick response
  2. once done, file them in the appropriate folders to make them disappear from your inbox

Those who call for an action that takes longer than a simple answer acknowledge receipt so that your interlocutor is reassured that you are going to handle their request and schedule a reminder for the day and time you want to process them.

It will thus disappear from your inbox. It makes all the difference because you won’t think about it until the day you have to treat it.

Tip 19: Eliminate all your notifications except the ABSOLUTELY necessary ones.

4th Step: Learn to tame remote meetings

Meetings don’t have to be stressful. 

This is true face-to-face, but it is even more true in the distance.

Keep in mind that Remote Work meetings are “highlights” because they bring the team together.

With the few tips below, you should be able to organize and run successful meetings.

Tip 20: Define the expected outcomes of the meeting. In other words, if the objectives of the online meeting are not clear, you have every chance of quickly demotivating the participants.

So be super clear about the goals, but don’t be too ambitious.

A rule can be applied here as much as possible: a meeting = “a clear, precise, attainable objective.”

The idea is not to disperse, stay focused on the objective, and involve all the participants.

Tip 21: Work ahead of your meeting. 

Think of the preparatory work as a way to give your people access to the information they will need to prepare for and participate in the meeting.

Invite them to do the same on their own. If they need input from other people to prepare for the meeting and participate in it by providing solutions, they should not reach D-Day to collect this information.

Otherwise, they will be unable to provide solutions and discuss them, they will only collect the information they need, and they will slow down the progress of the project.

Tip 22: “Heat up” the meeting.

The idea here is to align all participants with the purpose of the meeting.

They can indeed arrive with other things in mind (a previous meeting, a call that went wrong, a file on which they were focused…). Therefore, they must be aligned with the objective of the meeting, its duration, and the outputs that should come out of it.

Tip 23: Adopt the funnel technique.

At the start of the meeting, everyone presents possible solutions. This is the adversarial phase. Then reduce the discussion to only solutions that are worth discussing, and finally act. 

Tip 24: Conclude the meeting effectively with three points:

  • ask if there are any questions
  • make sure everyone leaves with their to-do list
  • clearly indicate the next step

25th tip: Always ask participants for feedback. A few hours after the end of the meeting, send an email to the participants so that they can “rate” the quality of the meeting and possibly submit constructive criticisms to you for the next meetings.

Tip 25: Demand that everyone activate their camera. On the one hand, it is much more user-friendly, and on the other hand, the expression of your interlocutors often makes it possible to avoid misunderstandings which can be annoying.

It can be a little intimidating at first to activate your camera, but you quickly get caught up in the game and see the faces of your interlocutors. It’s still a lot better!

5th Step: Choose the right tools

There are four key areas that require tools to collaborate effectively remotely.

Real-time communication

Being able to communicate in real-time is obviously essential when everyone is working remotely.

Real-time communication

Tip 26: Opt for agile solutions such as Zoom, Hangout. Test both and choose.

Asynchronous communication

The asynchronous communication within a project team is, of course, essential. 

It allows you to work efficiently between meetings, as well as across multiple time zones.

Try to set precise rules between asynchronous communication and real-time communication. 

The two complement each other naturally, but they should not be confused. They serve different purposes.

Write a short guide: “When to use real-time communication and when to communicate asynchronously.” And give examples.

Tip 27: Go for an agile solution like Slack. Test both and choose. 

Avoid relying too much on email.

Document sharing

Sharing documents (videos, documents, spreadsheets, etc.) is again essential.  

Tip 28: Opt for solutions that allow you to simply share documents and collaborate with several people on a shared document. 

Google Drive is invaluable here, but you can opt for OneDrive if you are Microsoft or other solutions.

The organization with small onions

Stay organized to track available resources, events, and to-dos to keep the team aligned.

Tip 29: You can opt for tools like Asana, Trello, Basecamp.

To end this article, here are some recommended reads:

Consider sharing this content with everyone who might need it.

And comment on it to share your best practices on Remote Work with us.

Yours Sincerely, Devansh Pathak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *