How to be a Good Remote Employee

It's a zoom meetingA lot of people are focused on the mechanics of working from home like the perfect workplace, how to manage your children or the effects of isolation. All are very important but one thing that can be overlooked is how to present yourself as a good remote worker and make your boss keep the faith in your ability to be remote.

Determine What Kind of Boss Do You Have

The first thing to figure out is how sensitive your boss is to how fast you respond to things. I have dealt with some bosses that are not bothered by a delay in response and I’ve also been spoken to if I do not respond to a boss within 30 seconds. One of the best tell tale signs on figuring this out is pay attention to how your boss refers to work from home in general or their own situation. My belief is most bosses only take into account their own personal feelings on work from home when making up their minds on how others will act when they work from home. If a boss prefers to be in the office because they feel they will be distracted at home, unfortunately they will probably assume the worst of you. Pay attention to this and make sure you make this type of bosses communication a priority, it can be easy for them to make assumptions about you.

Figure out Your Boss/Team Communication Preferences

The second thing to figure out is if your boss/team has communication preferences. If you have not worked remotely before this can seem pretty basic but it’s pretty huge. Some bosses like to talk on the phone, some want scheduled meetings, some want video conferencing. Let’s go through each one;

  • Phone talkers not scheduled – This type of communication is pretty basic and self explanatory, but this can honestly be the most difficult. If you have kids running about or a significant other meandering about this can be challenging. Do your best to try to cut this down to a minimum.
  • Phone talkers scheduled – This can be a lifesaver. I have coordinated meetings to try to fool people on the other side of the line that my house is a den of serenity and peace when in reality I may have just set up outside with the kids being watched or skillfully only accept meetings during nap time. Take advantage of that propose new time button to make this work.Side Note: Do not get caught being away from your desk. I know it’s tempting to go for an extended lunch or take an unscheduled trip to the coffee shop, but this can destroy your work from home credibility. Just set an away flag and own it. There is nothing worse than listening to someone pretend they are near a computer and we aren’t hearing the wind blow on their phone.
  • Video junkies – This type seems to always want a video going. Now in my opinion if I decide to shower before a work from home day that should be my business but we need to take this person into account. What I do on those lazy days is make sure to run a comb through my hair or you could accessorize with a #workfromhome hairband or something along those lines. Now in your work area keep a nice “Skype shirt” or a “Teams tee” to quickly make yourself presentable. Let the lazy unite! Also side note: do not make jokes about your beach background they are worn into the ground by now.

Communicate More

The last thing to make yourself a great work from home employee is unfortunately the thing that sometimes is the struggle, communicate more. Now this may seem counterintuitive, but an email with a pun or making sure to copy your boss on a few extra emails of items you are completing can go a long way. This keeps a level of transparency to your boss and makes them feel informed, which every boss appreciates. When you don’t seem to be working in a black hole, even if all they did was walk past you once a day, it helps to keep things closer.

Well I hope this helps you maintain or improve your work from home time. Remember to enjoy it while we can! If you are like me being comfortable at home is important. Checkout this standing desk which can give you the options to sit or stand at work.

If you are looking for a job that allows work from home days or your exploring new career choices or want access to information about prior, current, or future bosses grade your boss or search for bosses here on Boss Report Card.

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