Welcome to the remote workforce. This is truly the new way to work with over 50% of the workforce expected to work remotely in the near future. Whether you’re a solo freelancer, a member of a corporate remote team, or a manager who wants their telecommuting employees to achieve their full potential, here are the crucial do’s and don’ts of the modern remote work or telecommuting landscape.
Do: Get SaaS-y
A little SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) goes a long way. In our article on PM’s managing remote teams we looked at how virtual collaboration technologies are becoming more and more commonplace in competitive industries. Today’s top SaaS providers allow remote teams to virtually communicate, collaborate, and exchange vital work information within a unified platform. Typically, these platforms and tools can be easily scaled up or down, and adjustable to the changing communication needs of remote teams. “The rise of cloud-based SaaS software has been instrumental to the growth of remote work,” observes GetApp global vice president Thibaut de Lataillade, referencing a GetApp report which found that remote work grew by 400% within the last ten years. At the tip of this growth are simplified and unified communication tools like Slack, Google Drive, Microsoft Office, Adobe Suite, and a few other providers that comprise the top tier of the SaaS industry. Furthermore, de Lataillade explains how SaaS communication tools also play a key role in remote workers’ mental health. “Companies have much to gain by embracing remote work, but care must be taken to ensure employees are supported both professionally and emotionally.” Whatever knots need untangling, it’s easier with unified communications. As a remote worker, don’t think that you have to be alone.
Don’t: Avoid Automation
Don’t assume that automation is just for large and multinational companies. A lot of free or affordable software and services can allow everyone from solo freelancers to remote corporate-backed teams to reap the benefits of automation. The same laptops, smartphones, and other tools that enable you to be an effective remote worker can also help automate different tasks and chores in both your work and daily life. One of the most useful and simplest ways to apply automation is through automatic money transfers. A Marcus article on automating your finances explains how these automatic payments means a one-time sign up followed by never having to worry about being on-time to pay bills again. For remote team managers, automated payments and records can streamline the remuneration process, which is crucial to keeping remote workers motivated. Different financial apps and services now have an ‘autopay’ option that you can use to authorize automated transfers for savings, retirement, or any other dedicated accounts. And financial automation is just the tip of the iceberg.
If there’s a way to do it digitally, there’s an app for that. Tasker can automate literally hundreds of different tasks via your smartphone. Tasks can be customized to over 200 smartphone actions, triggers, rules, and parameters. This could allow you to automate almost every work task you can do from your phone. Email daily screenshots of project timelines to corroborate team progress. Log calls and keyword-isolated work messages in shared sheets. Customize audio notifications when you plug in earphones, including text-to-speech options for messages from specified contacts or appointments. It’s also useful for customizing Spotify playlists with GPS, accelerometer, and scheduling parameters, a virtual DJ for when you’re driving, working, or hitting the gym. Embracing automation can make your life and work much easier.
Do: Aim For Work-Life Balance
As a remote worker, don’t waste the opportunity of having your time in your hands. With the above tools at your disposal, you can build a routine or schedule that can shorten your work hours without sacrificing quality — giving you ample time for family and friends, exercise, meditation, or planning healthy meals. By not being tied to any physical office, remote workers are well poised to steer their time, resources, and efforts towards a healthy work-life balance. With a bit of planning and a lot of automating, anything is possible.
Written for pmstudent.com by Jane Jennings