The Top Expert Remote Work Tips Mother Forgot to Tell You

She spent her life in an office so, of course, she didn’t tell you. Here is the short version to catch you up.

Freedom!!! (remotely)

A productive career spent working remotely is the key to a happy, balanced life. But, unfortunately, so many get the wrong advice from the beginning. Here are six QUICK tips that you haven’t heard to make your remote job a success both for you and the company trusting you to work so far away.

Get ready… Go!

  1. Don’t be a desk slave
    A home office with a lockable door (if you have kids) is a valuable space to have but don’t become a slave to it. Moving yourself from the office to the living room couch, kitchen table or front porch periodically is a great tactic for re-energizing your concentration and making work seem a lot less like work.
  2. Kick yourself in the pants
    You must be self-motivated in order to get anything done. If your manager isn’t setting goals and deadlines for you to work towards, you need to do them yourself.
  3. You need a system
    Come up with a system to regulate concentration time and breaks. I have been using a modified version of the Pomodoro Technique for years but there are plenty of others.
  4. Communicate strategically
    Pick your communication method with managers, coworkers and clients appropriately. Email conversations producing confusion should quickly be converted to video conferences or phone calls (aka, the 3 exchange rule). If you need proof of a conversation (project ballpark or agreed deadline negotiations) don’t leave the conversation in Slack. Most of my communication happens via Slack, video conference, email and Basecamp but each one is a tool for a specific purpose. More tips along this line here.
  5. Remember your freedom
    Remind yourself periodically that you are no longer working in an office. It took me over a year to break myself of my office work habits when I first started working remotely. Take advantage of the flexibility to create an environment and process that fits your unique work and lifestyle. Don’t be a slave to the clock or mistake sitting at a desk for working. With remote work, the proof of productivity is in the results, not in the number of hours your butt logged in the chair.
  6. You are in charge
    Accept that the responsibility of establishing a good work-life balance is your own. Don’t expect comp time from your employer just because you worked into the evening or on Saturday morning. Create the boundaries that work for you and stick to them.

And remember to celebrate your new remote work lifestyle. For many, it’s the most positive change they have ever undertaken.

Gregory Sherrow is a remote career mentor and remote workforce consultant to companies and nonprofits. Join the Ask a Remote Manager Slack channel for personal advice.