Remote Working Thoughts

At my current company, I work in a remote office and typically only work in the office three days a week. The rest of the week, I work from home. I also will occasionally work from home on other days as well if there is something that is keeping near home such as an appointment. So, while I am not working 100% remote, there are a number of remote aspects to my current job.

Remote certainly has some challenges, but it also has some huge benefits that I greatly appreciate. For me, one of the biggest benefits of working from home is the ability to be flexible with my schedule. As a parent this flexibility is highly valuable. The other benefit is the ability to focus outside an office environment.

Working remote can be a really great way to work and is successful if there is commitment from everyone in the company to make remote work possible. Trello ( link | twitter ) has produced a cool PDF that goes over some tried and tested strategies for making remote work successful in your company.

If you are interested you should certainly read the entire document. Although it seems long based on the number of pages, it is a fairly short read. Overall, I think everything comes down to treating your remote and non-remote workers at the same level. If there is shared pain, then people will organize to solve it. If it is a pain only suffered by remote employees there will be no concerted effort to solve it.

Some of the key points that I found important in my remote work journey are:

– Video Conference Tool – They recommend Zoom and I would second that opinion. We used it for remote mobbing sessions and it performed extremely well.

– Collaboration Tools – These need to be the central organizing tool so everyone is on the same page on status. If there are status updates shared outside the collaboration tool (especially in person) there are people being left out of the loop.
– No meetings with mixed participants – This is an interesting one that people outside the conference room may not be aware of. Audio quality can be of mixed results, mulitple conversations are hard to track and conversation lag (among others) are all problems when you have a group in a conference room with people joining virtually. This points directly back to putting everyone on the same playing field.
– Making Time for Personal Interaction – One thing that gets lost is the personal interaction that happens before/after a meeting, around the water cooler, etc. Setting aside time in a team meeting for personal items or making dedicated time for personal interactions seems like a good policy to have.

In my view, having a good culture of supporting remote workers is not only good for your remote workers, but also good for you non-remote workers as it tends to support greater transparency and communication among all your employees. However, there needs to be focus and buy-in from your non-remote employees to experience some of the pain that remote workers feel and have a shared dedication to resolving some of those pain points for the betterment of the entire company.

Thoughts, Comments? Let me know in the comments below.

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