5 Things to Consider for Success When Working from Home
Allshore thrives in a virtual work environment and is continuously evolving our processes to enhance team coordination in this type of set up. Our IT staff is located throughout Pakistan and we have facilitated and fostered professional partnerships with clientele from across the U.S, Europe, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
I have found myself in a very unique position at Allshore that has allowed me to tap into potential I had not expected to find. After working from our Norman office for two years, I ended up relocating to a town several hours away. By that point, Allshore had invested a lot of time and training in me and we had a very trusting professional relationship. This allowed us to make a mutually beneficial decision to keep me on staff, but as a remote employee.
Fortunately, Allshore was founded upon the idea of combining the benefits of outsourcing with the stability and structure of an in-house team, which gave us a solid foundation to start with. However, being in a permanent work from home set up I wanted to prove myself as just as productive, if not more so than ever before. It became my mission to redefine what it means to work with remotely based employees.
Recent studies have shown that companies allowing remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work (Owl Labs). For organizations considering allowing their own employees the freedom to work remotely, here are the main obstacles I have found in a long-term remote work set up and how I have been able to turn them into positives for both Allshore and myself:
- Communication: I had to find new and creative ways to ensure that the physical distance did not negatively affect communication with my team. With my co-workers no longer just around the corner, I began establishing better habits during calls and meetings. Now, I remove possible distractions, close my home office door, and practice active listening while taking a lot of notes to refer easily back to. To help avoid misunderstandings, I speak up a lot more frequently, ask questions for immediate clarifications, and verbally recap main points at the end of calls.
Scheduling routine meetings with certain co-workers has also proven to be very helpful in making sure that we keep each other well informed. I highly recommend taking calls a step further and getting on video chats together to help keep team connections even closer with “face to face” interactions.
- Organization: Since my supervisors can no longer see me sitting at my desk knocking out tasks, it became even more important to ensure my productivity could still be accounted for. To help establish better transparency, I added several new steps into my daily routine. I learned to start each shift by filling out my daily planner which consists of my daily goals, priorities, tasks, notes, and scheduled meeting times. I then share what my main goals and priorities will be for the day with my team. This helps them to know where my focus for the day will be and who I will be reaching out to coordinate with.
Throughout my shift, I also ensure to report any significant updates to those needed. At the end of the day, I take the list of goals and priorities that I shared with the team at the beginning and add summarized updates on what was accomplished or will be rolled over to the next day and why.
- Flexibility: As long as I have a computer and Internet connection, I can work from just about anywhere. This has greatly helped me lower the amount of unscheduled PTO. Being that I can travel for longer periods of time while still putting in my hours, I am able to plan out my leave time more in advance. When I am sick, I am also able to still work remotely without risking the heath of my co-workers.
In addition, this has allowed more time for traveling and time spent with family located out of state. Having this freedom has made a substantial difference in balancing my work and personal life, which has contributed to me being a happier and more productive employee.
- Professional Development: Working remotely did alter the social aspect of my job. I had to find other ways to continue challenging myself to ensure that I did not become too stagnant or complacent in my role. Therefore, I started attending local workshops and seminars that I probably wouldn’t have branched out to as much had I not been working from home. Through these events I have met a lot of interesting people, networked, and learned a lot about the latest information in my field of HR and IT.
- Autonomy: I get to decide how my work should be done with less direction from my supervisors. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to abide by certain rules and regulations set by them, and in fact, more rules and regulations have been established as a result of me working remotely. Although, having the freedom to make decisions, and to prioritize my tasks and goals, gives me a greater sense of responsibility for the quality of my work.
Working under a more self-managed routine has increased my independence, self-initiative, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. The primary reason employees reported working from home was for better focus and increased productivity (Owl Labs), which I can attest to!
Approximately 3.9 million Americans reported working from home in 2018 (FlexJobs) and I am thrilled to be one of them! Every day on the clock I am striving towards the betterment of my company, myself, and redefining what it means to “work remotely.” Not being tied down to one stationary location has opened up a lot of unexpected doors for me both professionally and personally.
What are some ways that working remotely has enhanced your role and methods used within your company?