The Keys to Effective Remote Working

By Sara Drury

We are living in a connected world.  Technology has changed how we work.  We no longer fax, we email.  We no longer call, we text.  We no longer write, we type.  We no longer meet face-to-face, we dial in to online meetings and engage in online chat to connect with our teams. Distance is really becoming obsolete and is no longer a restriction or obstacle in connecting with others.

This is a world I have always dreamed of.  Where our community, tribe or workplace is not based in a physical location, but in a place of ‘shared values’ and collaboration, connected like a web around the world.

This is the world I believe in. Can you really imagine that your physical location doesn’t matter or doesn’t impact your ability to work?

I have been testing this theory since 2007, and it feels truer than ever in 2019. Luckily, I am finding more and more companies, who believe the same. Last year I went to Spain and the UK while working from the road for another business. This year, I’ve travelled across Asia while working for Redback Connect.

While working this way is possible, it is not as easy as it sounds.  There are important keys to making it a success…. and you need all three:

Key 1 – Systems And Processes

Having clear systems and processes in place for working remotely with your team is the first thing you need. How is your team going about their tasks?  If there is uncertainty and a member of your team always needs to check-in to see what the next step is, this can make working very inefficient.

For example, for marketing, it is important we all know the process for sending the monthly Redback newsletter. How is each data point gathered? How are the images chosen? What sizes does everything need to be?  Having a clear process means that the work can get done, and there is no longer the need to constantly check-in to see what to do next.

Key 2 – Technology And Tools

The tools you use to get your work done can really make a difference.  The hardware and software you have can make or break your efficiency as a remote worker.  I have an MSi 1.18kg laptop with an ultra-light protective case.  I have my smartphone with me, and I always get a local SIM card with fast data, in case there is trouble with the WIFI. I find a good working space – co-working space, quiet coffee shop, hotel lobby – with great WIFI.  This is very important.

For communication software, I use OneTouch web conferencing, Microsoft Teams and Whats App for chat, Sharepoint/ One Drive for document sharing, Confluence and Trello for project management, as well as WordPress and Pardot for executing the marketing tactics.

Having effective tools that meet the businesses key communication and coordination needs are a must!

Key 3- Availability And Timezones

When I travel, my team needs to know exactly when I am available.  Australia is in a painful timezone for the rest of the world, so I need to adjust my day so I can connect with my team.

When I was in Europe, I would start my day at 7am, for the 4pm crossover with Sydney.  That would give an hour for the team to be online, and cover any issues.  When I was in Asia, which is only 1 or 2 hour difference, I really didn’t need to move many meetings at all.

Overall, be clear on when you are available for “emergencies” and when you are available for chats and check-ins.  Having good communication with your team is a must when you are working from different locations.

Do you have flexi-work or remote-working options in your company and role? I would love to hear what is working (or not working) for you.

TAG: remote working, teleconferencing,