While the pandemic brought working from home front and center, many workers have been a member of the remote workforce for several years. As an increasing number of companies have successfully adopted a remote workforce model, it is evident that this kind of model is here to stay. Your office environment may be different as a remote worker, but the needs of your company and clients remain the same. You still need to regularly communicate with your team, stay connected with your clients, and remain up to date on the latest projects. Those who are new to working remotely may be concerned that being away from the office will make these tasks difficult. However, it is possible to be an active and informed member of the team while working mostly at home.
One of the myths surrounding working from home is that remote workers are disconnected from those working on site. Although you cannot walk to your co-worker’s cubicle to ask a question while at home, there are a myriad of ways to connect with your team. Regular communication is the key. When it comes to communication, those working remotely need to act as if they are in the office. If you would approach a manager or co-worker with a question at the office, then do not hesitate to reach out remotely. Even a short and simple Teams message will often suffice. Some may feel that while working remotely they should only contact others when absolutely necessary, that somehow asking a question online is bothering a co-worker, while asking in person is not. To be a successful remote worker, you need to let go of that assumption. Your team will appreciate (not be bothered by) your efforts to keep in touch and stay updated on the latest projects and clients.
You do not need to be an expert in technology to regularly communicate with your co-workers at home. What is needed is familiarity with common applications such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet. Pay particular attention to the applications your company’s clients prefer and make sure to be up to speed on them. It is okay to reach out to your IT department for help, as technical glitches happen to even the most seasoned remote workers. However, having a solid understanding of these applications will only make you a more confident and effective employee.
Remote workers must also familiarize themselves with systems such as Microsoft Suite to participate in projects from home. Certain projects may require you to input information on an Excel spreadsheet or draft a manual using specific formatting and styles on Word. These systems are common both on and off site, so they are worth learning.
Working from home does not need to be overly complicated, and many people have discovered that they are even more efficient and productive at home. Keeping in touch with your co-workers and clients and understanding common applications and systems are vital components to successful remote work. With these points in mind, you can add value to your company and perform your best work while working remotely.