Remote work. Some love it, some hate it! But the truth is, most people will have to work remotely at some point in their careers. With the rise of remote work in the last decade, especially in tech, SaaS, and online industries, more and more people have been moving from the office to the couch (or bed, or floor, or wherever you work). With that rise, we’ve seen a correlated rise in remote work and collaborative tools such as Slack, Asana, and Zoom, all with the intention of making remote work easier.
But remote work isn’t easy for everyone. Some struggle to prioritize when working from home, some feel stuck or claustrophobic, and even more struggle to connect with their teammates. So how do we do it? How can remote work become a blessing rather than a curse?
We reached out to our friends on LinkedIn and asked them to share their best remote work tips so we can help you hit the ground running when you can’t work in the office! From tools to tactics, below are our 15 best remote work tips and tricks.
1. Stay connected – 1:1s, Zoom calls, Zight (formerly CloudApp) visuals, Slack.
- Use video where possible to help convey non-verbal communications. Asynchronous video messaging apps like Marco Polo can be great for touching base without scheduling a meeting or disrupting someone’s flow with a call/IM. – Eric Andrew Hansen
- I remember working for a really great team and taking the time to get to know them on a more personal level would have made me feel more connected. Slack was great to chat with people, but I like to see faces for more of a human connection. I can’t wait to hear more about how others make this work. Even sending quick little videos throughout the day would do the trick using programs like Google Duo, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Zight (formerly CloudApp), and telegram. 😉 – Rumer Baxter
- WFH can feel really isolating if you aren’t doing it right. 3 things I would add:1. Morning team huddles! Just 15min… Plan a topic for each day. Examples include: talk about goals for the week, wins, stucks. Keep it short and sweet. 2. Schedule a weekly 1×1 calls with one of your peers (not just your manager or those you manage). 3. Quarterly time in person with the larger team (when Coronavirus isn’t an issue)
- Use video + a meeting agenda tool for daily scrum sessions and meetings. –Manuela Barcenas
2. Over-communicate with teammates and customers.
- I think over-communicating tasks is also helpful as silly as that sounds. I try and give a detailed overview of what I am working on. I also think if things get too many questions virtually – pick up the phone and have a quick chat – like you would go to someone’s desk in the office. – Charlotte Droney
- And as internal communication moves to Slack/Teams/G chat in a remote environment, thoughtfully over-communicate and get comfortable with being more forward. Ask for what you need and note when you need it. Be specific with the desired outcome and the time by which you need it! – Jake Holt
- Be responsive on slack if that is what you’re using as your communication tool. My rule is to respond within 15 minutes during working hours. This eases the pain for your co-workers when they need something. – Jack Kosakowski
3. Get out of the home office regularly.
- Leave the house every morning to get coffee or breakfast. It forces you to get ‘ready’ and keeps you accountable. – Dee Acosta
- I’ve worked remotely for 15 years. Getting out for a walk (or two) during the day is my lifesaver. I do it in heat, cold, sun, rain or snow without fail. Do not stay inside all day…ever! – Jeffrey Welch
- I’ve been freelancing from home for many years and here’s a tip. Go outside! Generally people have everything they need at home and it’s really easy to not go outside for a few days and never think about it. Especially if you have a lot of work. Go outside. Not only will this help keep your body’s internal clock straight but the sun also can brighten the mood, give you a much needed break from your house, and keep you from that mental foggy feeling when you’ve been inside too long. – Nathan Kellert
4. Block out your time.
- It can be easy to get distracted, create time blocks for deep work so you don’t get distracted by the laundry, TV, etc. – Joe Martin
- I second the recommendation for time blocks. Focus on tasks instead of just “putting in the time”. If you have time set apart to finish/work on specific tasks, it will prevent you from feeling aimless, etc! That one thing has been a lifesaver for me. – Ali Anderson
- Block off ‘Focus Time’ and give yourself time to be distracted. Free LinkedIn Learning courses on remote working are helpful for first-timers (myself included): https://www.linkedin.com/learning/paths/remote-working-setting-yourself-and-your-teams-up-for-success?u=104 – Daniel Hamilton
- Another tip to add is to not check your email until you are ready to start working for the day. –Elena Salazar
5. Create a specific space for work – find ways to separate work from home.
- Identify zones if you’re at home with a spouse & child! – Jennifer Montesano
- 1. Invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones (AirPods Pro are great if you don’t want big bulky ones). 2. Check your ergonomics. I know not everyone can set up a perfect home office for this period but try not to spend your whole day hunched over a laptop on the couch if you can. A 20 dollar laptop stand works wonders. 3. Keep your environment clean. It’s much more pleasant to work from a clean environment and you don’t have to worry about turning your camera on. 4. Get a plant! 5. Most important to me: your separation between work and life has now been almost entirely removed. Try to keep some barriers up: Designate physical working space, and stick to them. Designate working hours, and mute notifications outside of that time. Try to go through the morning rituals you have for the office. – Nick Valluri
- I recommend creating a ‘workspace’ that’s dedicated for work that’s away from the kitchen, living room, or bedroom. The separation of space has helped me mentally shift into / out of work-mode. – Jonathan Hau
- I suggest setting up a space in your home that is designated for working, whether it be at a desk, or the kitchen table, or up to the counter. I’ve found that sitting on the couch or bed or anywhere else comfortable makes me less productive. – Alexis Clukey
- Don’t work in bed. Don’t check your phone in bed. – Scott Smith
6. Make a plan for the day.
- Plan your day — whiteboard with your 3-5 focus items – Scott Smith
- Get a really great white board and calendar combo. When working remote, it’s extremely important to stay on task and get through all your daily responsibilities. To do this, I like to constantly update my progress… this is where the white board comes in. I like to utilize my white/calendar board to outline my daily tasks and objectives. It helps me stay focused and stay disciplined. May be a bit old school for some, but it works great for me. – Kevin Lynam
- Encourage your team to know their personal schedule. What works for them? Night owls? Early birds? Busy family schedules? Work with them to identify what makes sense and help hold them to it. – Julia Bahu
- The morning whiteboard of the to-do’s for the day is super helpful for me to be more productive. I erase it every morning and put down the list for the day. Ideally it doesn’t have rollovers from the day before but when it does the rewriting is that extra kick to finish it up. – Kevin Karner
7. Mental breaks are a must.
- Don’t check Slack/emails at lunch, do something else not in front of a computer! 🙂 (I go play some music for 5-10min then make food) – Seraphin Hochart
- My favorite work from home tip which truly does make an impact on my day when I do it:Start your day with a walk – pretend you’re walking to work.End your day with a walk – pretend you’re walking home from work.It’s a nice way to open the book in the morning, and close it at the end of the work day. Gets my mind in the right space and helps me start / shut down work. – Jake Bartlett
- Set private meetings on your calendar that are intended for downtime (mental breaks). This was a game-changer for me. I need this time to process and reflect so that I can stay optimal throughout the day. – Jonathan Hau
- Take mental breaks. If you love TMZ, take time to catch up with your favorite celebs. Or play Snood. – Scott Smith
8. Exercise regularly!
- Get exercise. It’s done wonders for me both stress and confidence wise. Now you have time. – Dee Acosta
- Get exercise. Fill your body with endorphins and goodness. – Scott Smith
9. Make human connections.
- Using video facility on Microsoft Teams when on team calls helps connect on a more personal level with colleagues – Mary Reynolds
- Don’t forget to take the time to say hi, good morning, etc. with team mates. When we are in the office, we always start the day with that type of conversation. It is important not to lose it when working from home. – Jane Hext
- Make your group channels/convos pop off with the best memes. Show and tell w/ special home items on zoom meetings. Pet co worker threads for days. – Zack Jenkins
- If you’re remote, you might not be able to do ‘meet for coffee’ but you can do a ‘coffee call’ (or hot cocoa!) – Scott Smith
- Embrace remote and bring people into your world — let them meet your kids/dogs/cats/ birds/etc. They’re not distractions, they’re part of your life, and one of the best parts of remote work is the integration of both during the work day. – Tim Thyne
10. Always take calls with your video on.
- I think it’s super important to be cognizant of virtual meeting etiquette and to not let yourself forget when you are/aren’t able to be seen/heard. When you’re not used to a remote environment it can be easy to make embarrassing mistakes that are amplified by the virtual platform. – Joshua Mines
- For video conferencing… always remember to light the front of your head, not the back! And just generally keep your surroundings top-of-mind as they reflect you, and for customer facing folks, they represent the company. – Jake Holt
11. Set boundaries.
- You can’t (and don’t want to) always jump on a quick call. – Scott Smith
- Create a one page user guide that explains when something should be an email, a 1:1 video chat, a phone chat, or text message. Can include other things like how you’ll report feedback on projects, staying up to date on other things, etc. Extremely helpful if your company doesn’t have slack or other software. –Bryant Galindo
12. Log/record your work.
- If you’re new to leading remote teams, there’s no shame in having your team complete daily “work logs” where they spend 10 minutes at the end of the day documenting what they completed that day. Bonus points for having all team members complete their work logs in a single shared google doc so they can review, shout each other out, and still feel like the team is still moving forward together. – Josh Vernon
13. Make sure your kids are taken care of.
- Finding creative childcare options for people with young children–especially if schools and daycares close. We are seeing an influx of users at momni.com – Jessica Bryan
14. Create a regular routine.
- Get dressed for the day – no jammies when working. – Jennifer Montesano
- Don’t change your morning routine or any other routine. Treat your home office like you would your regular office, and the only thing that changes is your commute. – Ray Smith
- Personalised rituals and routines create a framework to separate work and personal life while being more flexible than a strict office structure. – Mathew Patterson
15. Have fun!
- Put on an amazing playlist when you’re not in meetings! My favorite type of music to listen to when I write or research is Lo-Fi Beats. Here’s one of my favorites I also find other instrumental music and podcasts to be helpful depending on my mood. Whatever relaxes you. –Catherine Trestini
- Try to make it fun 🙂 Here is a new toy I recently found for remote work/collaboration: https://vibe.us/ – Matthew Blood
- When I worked for a remote company, we would participate in “whiparounds.” These are essentially just funny questions we asked to get to know each other during meetings or when Slack was dead. –Savannah Morgan