Here at Matter, our team of 80 plus employees works out of four main offices: the Newburyport headquarters, Boston, Providence and Portland, Oregon. In addition to those four offices, we also have other small offices that team members work out of, and we all share the need to occasionally work from home, especially since most of us are located in New England and road conditions can be dicey during the Winter months (is it Spring yet?). Furthermore, working in the public relations industry often means traveling for client events, tradeshows and media briefings, meaning almost any spot during those trips might be your desk for a short amount of time – your hotel room, a cab, a coffee shop, your lap. I personally work out of both the Matter Newburyport and Boston offices, and lately, I have been thinking about what makes a remote work environment conducive to, well… work.
Outlined below are several tips I find helpful to keep in mind for successfully working remotely.
- Bring your office essentials. First of all, don’t make a “rookie mistake” and forget your laptop charger or your phone charger. Leaving these at your permanent office or at home can mean falling out of communication with colleagues and clients. But this tip is also about identifying what makes you personally effective at doing your best work and making that work-enabling environment a reality. If you usually keep snacks at your permanent desk (guilty) bring them to your remote work location; if you like your desk area really clean (oops, guilty again), bring disinfectant wipes.
- Don’t fall into an email vortex. When I’m up in Newburyport, I like to walk around the office to have face-to-face conversations with my colleagues, not only because I genuinely enjoy chatting with coworkers and it’s nice to stop sitting for a while, but also because this often makes for higher quality, clearer discussions than phone and email allow for. This isn’t always possible when you’re working remotely, so if you can, check in with colleagues via phone instead of sending emails all day.
- Don’t forget to put some clothes on. What? OK, this may sound like a given, but what I mean is, look the part. Just because you’re alone in your house on a snowy day or in a hotel room during a trip doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your best face forward. In fact, I’m a firm believer in starting the day the exact same way every weekday. By treating it like any other work day, you’ll feel ready for a hard day’s work and confident about your professional self.
- Remember it’s often a privilege (unless it’s your only option) to work remotely. Everyone has trouble mustering motivation at different points in their career or on any given day. But it’s important to keep in mind that being able to work out of a location that’s more convenient for you (and perhaps less convenient for your colleagues or employer) is a nice perk. This means it’s essential to work just as hard, if not harder than you do on a typical day. Doing so boosts trust among colleagues and managers and helps ensure you maintain this privilege going forward. Win-win, right?
Do you have any advice for working remotely? And what type of environment do you find most conducive to hard work? Tell us in the comments below!