February 11, 2015

Random Tips for Remote Working

This is the transcription of the lightning talk I did at $fooBar Mini-Conference #1 last night in Basel. I was asked to talk about remote working for 5-10 minutes so I picked up some random tips I often mention in longer talks about remote working.

  1. You’re (almost) invisible! You’re not in the office so no one can see if you’re at your desk or not. Fortunately your physical presence is replace by your online presence in the tool the team uses to keep in touch and where all (most) of the communication happens. First of all you should say “hi” when you join and “bye” when you leave so everyone knows you’re arrived or you’re leaving. Also all of these tools (Skype, HipChat, Slack, IRC, whatever) allow you to set a status (available, do not disturb, away…) so you can talk more without really having to write that. Last thing remember to mention if you need to brb (toilet anyone?), go afk (getting a tea? Amazon delivery?) or event bbl 15 mins. At the office is easy to understand if someone is not at his desk, not that easy for with a remote teammate. This way there will be no surprises “I tried to call you but you weren’t there” or “wrote you 10 minutes ago, are you still there?”. Trust is everything.

  2. Get out (and get dressed). And possibly have a shower. Not having to commute to the office doesn’t mean that you should just sleep more and wake up 5 minutes before starting your working day. It will happen, I promise. So take care of yourself and to make it easier push yourself to go out: walk your dog, have a coffee somewhere or just have a walk. People will see you so you’ll hardly get out in pants.

  3. The couch is not your office Couch is not your office, especially if you work from home. Find a space (room, a corner of your house/flat) where you can focus w/o distractions (television, fridge, PS4) and you can identify as working space. This will help you to have a separation between work and private life. Also will prevent interruptions from your partner when you’re there.

Here the slides I used during my talk.

If you wanna learn more about remote working I suggest you reading these books: The Year Without Pants and Remote. Start from the latter which is better as an introduction and then jump to The Year Without Pants.

If you like podcasts I suggest Home Work which is “A weekly advice podcast for people who work from home, whether freelancer or telecommuter”.