If you’re a full-time freelancer, work for a remote company, or work remotely on a side gig this is for you. Some of these tips might be a no brainer, some of them I hope to enlighten you. I have been working remotely for about 3 years now and have improved my remote working skill dramatically. Please learn from my mistakes and the things I have personally experienced.
- Don’t have a video meeting in your bed. Honestly, even if you’re on the phone, don’t be laying down in your bed. I have had meetings with people and I’m guilty my self of being in bed while on a meeting. In my defense, I didn’t know my damn video was going to come on! Ughh! You live and you learn. I immediately turned off my video and ran up to my office. Luckily the client didn’t fire me. However, I have seen people in a professional meeting just chilling in bed on their laptop like it’s nothing…no big deal. Personally, I think it’s unprofessional. I would stay clear of being in your bed while working and especially on video meetings with clients or peers you’re working with.
- Do respond in a timely manner. One thing that is so important about working remotely is communicating. In fact, I recommend OVER communicating. Just slacking someone a half butt explanation of a project is bound to end up in failure. I recommend ZOOM. There are a ton of Face to Face video conferencing software out there you can use. Get with the time people. I also recommend having a Face to Face video calls over slack or just a phone call on anything that is a complex situation. If you are spending our wring paragraphs in slack or instant messaging…Here is an idea…. Have a face to face video meeting really quick. Nothing is more annoying than 20 million slack or instant message or even emails that could be communicated via video conferencing in one fourth of the time. Please understand the difference in situations that need 3D communication and situations that need 2D communication. I SEE THIS ALL THE TIME! If it’s a complex situation as in it’s not a yes or no answer and will take you more than 15-20 minutes to communicate via email or instant message… Pick up the phone or better yet have a quick video call. Things get lost so much in communication working remote. So please over-communicate when working remotely. I have improved my communication skill tremendously form working remote. Could my communication skills be better? YES, but it is a strong skill you need to be successful working remotely.
- Kids and Dogs – This is a tricky one. I understand that some companies are different and having your kid or dog in an internal meeting might not be the end of the world. In fact, some companies let you bring your dog to work! Just think if it’s a distraction during a meeting to others who are on the video meeting call. I would have to say kids and dogs during interviews or sales calls with a remote client or potential employer is a hard pass. I’m not saying it’s a huge NO NO, but use your judgment on what’s professional and what’s not. Some companies are pretty laid back for internal meetings. If you aren’t sure about the company culture, then I would pass on having kids or dogs join in on video meetings.
- Guys – Do put on a shirt….Always! (girls too, but I didn’t think that needed to be said out loud)
- Try and have a presentable working area. If you don’t have enough room at your current residence for a small little office or nook. Then do some research for a co-working place. These places are pretty popular and most towns have them.
- SCREEN SHARING
- Try not to have IM open when you’re screen sharing. Someone could message you something inappropriate and it could pop up on your screen. This goes for personal Facebook messenger and professional IM tools you use.
- Don’t have 20 million or even 20 tabs open and waste people’s time clicking through all of them. This is very important during important and official meetings. It looks unprofessional to have a ton of tabs open, you get lost when sharing your screen AND it lags the video sharing.
- Don’t have Netflix open, especially when sharing your screen with your boss or client…refer to back to #b.
- Disable those “pop up desktop notifications” I don’t know anyone who actually likes those. But, if they are constantly going off every 10 seconds when you’re sharing your screen not only is it annoying, but something could “pop up” that you didn’t want the other party to see. Example: slack message, email, spa appointment ect.
- Make sure you desktop background is appropriate. Also, try and keep it clean and organized. It just looks more professional. Not a huge offense if you have a junky desktop, but it looks better If it’s well organized. (I’m guilty of this)
- Stop Screen sharing when you don’t need to. It’s terrible if your forget that you are sharing your screen and you google something or open a IM tab and you’re still sharing your screen. It’s better to just be on the safe side.
- Have reliable internet! Working remotely will be a nightmare if you don’t have reliable internet. If you need to upgrade your internet speed…just do it! It’s worth it trust me. Also, it’s nice to have a back up in case your home internet does go out. Know where your community library or local coffee shop that free Wi-Fi is located.