6 tips for working remote during these social distancing times

In the light of recent events (read that COVID-19) a lot of companies are going remote for the first time in their existence. These are troubling times but also time for evolution to take place. The human race is brilliant, bringing sound solutions to complicated scenarios. So when we are asked to practice social distancing, we move our businesses online. I've been working remote for close to 2 years at Sonatype, here are some tips that helped me thrive in this environment.

Get ready for work
I'm serious, it's super important. I wake, shower, shave, and put on jeans every workday. This to me is my way of gearing up for the day. It's a mental practice I carried from my days of office work that I still do because if I didn't I don't feel I'd be ready mentally.

Dedicated space
Critical, you have to have an office, for a few reasons. First, having a dedicated quiet space is a way to block off other family that may be home with you. It allows your brain to know, it's time for work. Long term, having a good office chair is better for your back over the couch. People you live with know you are working if you are in the office space.

Use a dedicated machine for work
Having all your work accounts on your work computer makes sense. Having your work accounts on your gaming PC doesn't. If you combine the two it is easy to get distracted by the other activity. Stay focused, keep these two world's apart. If that is not possible, use Chrome's profiles. Only login to work under your work profile, and same for personal. Keep them separate. 

Use the first few minutes of a meeting for socializing
In an office people usually gather before the meeting starts and have a bit of a chat. In remote culture people join the meeting and get right down to the subject at hand. I've found that it goes a long way to take the first few minutes and chat about the day. Bring up a topic of interest with one of the individuals, or mention something that happened with you today. This is a) a great way to get people engaged and b) is a great substitute for water cooler time.

Say hello and goodbye
Communication is critical with your teammates. A simple hello and goodnight in your team chat room is the remote way of saying pleasantries as you would in the office. This also helps people know where you are at. Where do you do this communication? An instant messaging solution, like Slack. Slack is free (or pay if you want fanciness). Create one for your team/business if you don't have one already. It's also important to use the same one across the organization. So everyone has the same access to everyone else. Less silos, more interaction. I'll probably create another post sometime soon on Slack etiquette.

Write down everything
In order for async communication to work effectively, you have to create a way for others to review your thoughts/work async. This means, write it down and share. To sum it up, OVER COMMUNICATE EVERYTHING!

These are just my top 6, but there are a lot of resources out there. Check these out as well. If you have questions, hit me up on Twitter (@timtim192). If you are looking to revamp your organization to a remote first organization, chat with my friend Mark Kilby.


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