7 Tips for Working Remotely from 2,500 Miles Away
June 2, 2017
Quadsimia calls central New York home, but I have never even been to the state of New York. I have only met one person on the team in person, our Project Manager/Marketing Manager, Nick Souza. In fact, I live three time zones away from the Quadsimia office, working remotely from over 2,500 miles away.
I was given the unique and awesome opportunity to become a remote employee at Quadsimia. This means that instead of moving to New York to become the newest employee at Quadsimia, I get to stay in Idaho. Now I will be the first admit that this was a remarkable stroke of luck. Not many companies will hire you, sight-unseen, and trust you to be a productive employee with little oversight, especially when you live over 2,500 miles away.
Realizing that the leadership at Quadsimia were putting their confidence in me to be a productive employee who brings value to the company, I started looking into best practices for working remotely. I wanted to make working remotely as good of an experience as possible. Here is what I found:
1. Investing in a Dedicated Workspace
This could mean a lot of things, but it is vital that you have a designated location to do your job. This may involve:
- Buying a desk for a small work space in your home.
- Converting a guest room into an office.
- Upgrading and buying supplies that would help to increase productivity.
I was lucky enough to find some very inexpensive office space in my town. I have found that having a workspace that is completely separate from my home-life has been great for my productivity as well as my work-life balance.
2. Don’t Work in Pajamas.
I tried this one day. Work from bed in your PJ’s, sounds like a dream come true? Well, it is not.
I found that focusing was more difficult, and I was getting less done than I should have. It only took about an hour for me to realize that taking a shower and working at a desk was a necessity for any work day.
3. Boost Productivity Through Music
When you have your own space to work, a lot fewer interesting things are going on around you to spice things up. I have found that listening to music while working does an excellent job of filling that void. Music also helps avoid spending 8 hours of your life each day in total silence.
4. Purposely Engage with Colleagues.
This is an area that I have identified as critical to me. I want to get to know my team as well as possible, and being 2,500 miles away is not helpful in this regard.
I am currently still focused on learning the ins-and-outs of my responsibilities but getting to know my co-workers is at the top of my agenda.
5. Stand up
When you are alone at your desk for an entire day, it can become very easy to end up sitting for eight full hours.
I make a point to stand up and walk around during the day. For one, this is just a healthy habit. It is also helpful in remaining focused. Staring at your computer working on the same task can actually make your mind wander. I choose to stretch my legs every hour or two and let my mind wander for a few minutes so that I can refocus.
This is the big one. You have to stay on top of communication like it is your job, because as a remote employee it is.
- When I have no tasks left to work on, I have to say so, or else nobody will know, and I’ll just be sitting there doing nothing.
- As I am learning, I have to ask questions when I am confused.
- I have to say when I am away, or when I am not away.
- I have to let people know when I get in for the day.
Communication is the part of the puzzle that ensures that you are on top of things and that you don’t drop the ball. Without solid communication, it is impossible to be a good employee.
7. Choose to be Successful
The most important thing to do when trying to be a successful remote employee is to decide to be a successful remote employee.
You have to be disciplined. You have to commit to not slacking off. You become your own boss in many ways. It will take a lot longer for people to notice you are not pulling your weight, so you have to be the one that makes sure you are an asset to your company.