Jobsity’s Top 5 Tips for a Positive Remote Work
Jobsity has been a remote team since it was founded in 2012. In fact, since our business model is to enable Latin American developers, coders, and tech workers to work as full-time employees for North American companies, remote work has long been our bread and butter. It’s not something we do from time to time; it’s something we do all the time—across 9 countries and with a team of 150.
If we understand two things well, it’s programming and it’s remote work. And now that so many other groups, companies, and individuals, forced by the recent proliferation of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, into the international arena are being asked to explore, experiment, and experience remote work, we wanted to share some of the principles and processes that we’ve developed over the last 8 years to help guide others to create an efficient, humane, and comfortable professional experience for their teammates, like we do for ours.
In the past, we’ve written about making an informed cost-based analysis of remote work versus in-office work, and we’ve helped teams explore their needs in order to make an informed workflow decision on whether or not to bring remote workers onto their existing teams. But when the choice is being made for you by outside factors over which you have no control, here are our top 5 tips for managing a positive remote work experience for you:
- Look for the positive.
Many people right now are being asked (or forced!) to work remotely without much choice. This can feel destabilizing, confusing, or even oppressive. We can recommend one thing to counteract this: focus on the positive! Remote work is above all flexible work. Remote work can be empowered work. Remote work can mean work breaks to play with your kids, catch up on YouTube, stretch, jog, nap, or eat (in your own kitchen!). Whatever you can do to focus on what’s good about this new shift in routine: focus on that. It’ll make the whole thing feel more rosey.
- Mark your territory.
It’s important when working remotely to have an area just for work— preferably separate from where you nap, play, eat, sleep, or chill. This helps create a psychological separation so that when you rest, you can rest fully, and when you work, you can work with full focus. Depending on how big your living space is and how many other people share it, this can be a challenge, but do what you can. Because of the openness and flexibility of remote work, focus is important, and spatial division can go a long way to helping you focus on what you need to get done.
- Remove your pajamas.
It can be tempting when working remotely to wake up, roll out of bed, open the ol’ laptop and get right to work—especially if your remote office is your home (which in the days of COVID-19, it likely will be for most!). This can be tempting. And let’s be honest, every now and then it can be a treat. But we don’t recommend making this part of your daily routine. Getting up a bit early for a coffee, some food, a shower, and even a hair coiffe can go a long way to creating a healthy separation between rest and professional engagement, and this separation can help trigger productivity when it’s needed as well as help you check out when the day is done. Instead of working all day in your jammies, consider slipping into your jammies at the end of the day —it can be your new after-office treat!
- Keep chatting.
There is no water cooler in remote work, but there is Slack, Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, and more. Use the tools at your disposal to continue checking in with colleagues, working collaboratively, sharing jokes, teasing the new guy, and making your day pass socially and as humanly as possible. We are made to be interactive social creatures, and remote doesn’t have to mean isolated. Take advantage of the ease of connection and make your new virtual watercooler the size of the world. Just make sure if you’re sending memes to the office, that they’re high quality. No one wants to be recycling old memes in front of the whole team.
- Create a routine.
Wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across your head. Then what? If you can’t answer this question as a newly minted remote worker, we recommend you take some time to make a plan. Adding a structured routine to your workday can take away a lot of the stress of remote work. Do you have weekly meetings that used to happen in person? Refigure them to happen online. Did you always get coffee with Jan from accounting on Tuesdays at 2? Make a coffee at home and then meet Jan on Zoom or Slack to recreate the feel. These routines will keep you sane, help you remain productive, and recreate the normalcy of work so that it doesn’t feel like we’re living in a post-apocalyptic world, but just maximizing our lives with the benefit of the best new technologies known to man (I mean the internet, not your Nespresso machine).
And a bonus: take advantage...of breaks, cakes, and frosted flakes.
Ever wanted to take a midday break to workout? You can do that now. Ever wanted to have dinner hot and ready the minute you finished work? That’s possible. Ever felt like it’d be ideal to have a beer while commuting home (but avoided it because it’s illegal and unsafe)? With no commute, that can be your reality. Ever wanted a window in your office? Possible, if you have a window at home. Ever wanted to eat frosted flakes for lunch instead of breakfast? This can be your new reality.
With the COVID-19 threat, economic instability, and a host of other unknowns on the horizon, these are going to be trying times, even for those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home. So if you are new to the remote working experience, don’t forget to make it a goal to enjoy the remote work perks, and to do your best to take advantage of as many of them as you can.
Stay safe out there, folks! And feel free to get in touch with any questions about remote work, or to add any tips of your own.
Interested in hiring talented (remote) LATAM developers to add capacity to your team? Drop us a line! Jobsity is the nearshore staff augmentation choice for U.S. companies.
Andres Garzon, Jobsity CEO and Founder, received an MBA from Fordham University in New York City after graduating from the USFQ in 2003. During his postgraduate studies, Andres bet everything on South American talent. Today, Jobsity has offices in NYC and a team of more than 110+ people based in NYC, Denver, Quito, Cartagena, and Medellín.