There are lots of survival guides, books, tips and ‘hacks’ for remote working and managing distributed teams. Seriously remote working, however, requires further consideration. Working from a remote cabin in the Scottish Highlands is a bit different to working one city over from your company’s HQ.
So here are a few tips and tricks for those who have embraced remote working in the far corners of the globe. With these, you’ll be better placed to manage your time and priorities, get things done and not go stir-crazy.
1. Bookmark a time zone converter
If you’re working from a remote location, chances are your colleagues are in different time zones.
Calculating the time difference between London and Paris isn’t so hard, but things get a bit trickier when we’re talking about places like Buenos Aires or Novosibirsk.
This is when a time zone converter comes in handy. Simple ones like this easily show you what time it is wherever your colleagues are. Some converters even let you compare times and dates in multiple cities.
A time zone converter will make it easier to plan meetings, set deadlines and generally keep you on track. Use one.
2. Boomerang your emails
You may be among the few who have the self-discipline to stay off email outside work hours, but the reality is that most of us are wired-in 24/7. That’s why, if you’re remote working, it can be nice to put a delay on sending emails until your colleagues are sitting at their desks for the day.
With your trusty time zone converter and an email-scheduling tool like Boomerang, you can make sure your emails don’t land in your colleague’s inbox at 9pm. It might seem like overkill, but caring about your team’s wellbeing is important – even from a distance. You wouldn’t spend the night at the office and bother team members while they’re home – so don’t do it just because it’s morning where you are!
3. Use technology to schedule meetings
Even with a time zone converter, scheduling meetings and conference calls from afar can be a nightmare.
Fortunately for you it’s 2016 and there are a number of tools to help you schedule mutually convenient meetings. There are a number of great tools out there worth trying, like NeedToMeet and Doodle. Give them a go and find one that works for you, your team and your clients.
4. Use project management software religiously
You’re likely to have project management software if your company is supportive of remote working. Use it.
Keep track of your activities and deliverables, comment on project discussions and share what you’re working on. Not only will this help your colleagues see what you’re up to, it will help you stay organised.
It can be difficult to know how to prioritise without a team around you, but with everything kept in one place you’ll be able to see what you need to do.
Remote working: no person is an island
Remote working can be tough, especially if you’re thousands of kilometres away and hours into the future.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult and lonely. Take advantage of technology, get a grip on time differences and project planning, and stay connected to your team. The secret to successful remote working is connectivity and communication. You got this.