How I work as a remote worker

Being a remote worker for more than two years, I have learned few things to make it work. If you can find out what your best way to work remotely is. Working remotely will be more productive than working in the office when it comes to creative work.

The things I have learned

  • Be disciplined about your schedule. Some people think, being a remote worker, you can work whenever you want. It is not a case for me, To be productive, I need to have my own schedule. I normally start to from 9am to 5pm. When I have a meeting with my team in Asia, there will be an extra working time from 9pm to 11pm. 
  • Wear work clothes. The misconception about working remotely is you can always wear pajamas to work from home. I found wearing pajamas doesn’t put myself in work mode. Before I start to work, I will wear normal clothes, not pajamas.
  • Wear headphone. If the environment is noisy, I will wear a headphone and play mellow jazz to isolate myself from the noise. It also works for me when I work at a local cafe. With headphone and music, all the noise becomes background sound to help me concentrate on work.
  • Turn off desktop and phone notification. Desktop and phone notification is a distraction for me. I will turn on Do Not Disturb mode to concentrate on work. I do have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when I turn off notification. My solution is to make sure all my notification show up in my notification center of iPhone and Mac. When I finish my work, I will go check notification center.
  • Lear how to write precisely. Being a remote worker, I need to communicate online often. More than 70% of my communication is text-based. Learn how to express my thoughts precisely in writing will improve communication.
  • Schedule a concall when necessary. Text communication has its own benefits, but sometimes verbal communication is the most effective way. Whenever I think it would be difficult to discuss in text. I will schedule a concall.
  • It is okay to relax. I need to work at night at least twice a night. Whenever I know I work at night, I will take a nap on that day. Taking a nap will make me productive at night. Also, I will force myself to walk out of house to enjoy the sunshine during work break. Sunshine will put me in a relaxed and good mood. 
  • Change my work environment. I usually work from home, but changing work environment regularly makes me productive. I schedule to work at local cafe at least twice a week. You see people and hear white noise at cafe. It becomes stimulus for me to be more creative and productive. 
  • Meet your team in person. Although I normally get work done   remotely, It is still necessary for me to meet my teammates in person. I meet my team four times a year. Every time we meet up, we will have meetings, informal conversation, or just hang out together. It will bring better communication later when I work remotely. Getting to know someone better help me to figure out how to communicate with him/her effectively.
  • Take advantage of online communication tool. At dminorstudio, we use Trello, GitLab, and WeChat to collaborate online. There are a lot of time you don’t have to talk to your team during online meeting to get your job done. You can just leave message or change status on your tools to communicate with your team. 
  • Workout! Workout! Workout!. Just like other people, remote workers also need to exercise. Everyone knows the benefits of exercise, but it is always difficult to execute. Working from home, I can easily have lots of excuses not to work out. My solution is I will book a workout time on my calendar. Also, I will reward myself after I finish working out. Working out regularly will sharpen my mind and make myself productive. it is one of few things I will force myself to do.

The challenge

There are also challenges for me to work remotely. The top 1 would be sometimes it is difficult for me to leave work mode in my workplace. I am still learning how to switch work mode to off-work mode when I leave my workplace. After trying different ways, I found leaving my phone and laptop in my home office, a short meditation, and several deep breaths will help. It is a skill I need to keep practicing to learn. 

There are advantages and disadvantages of working remotely. I believe advantages are more than advantages. At dminorstudio, we can choose to work remotely or in the office, depending on personal productivity. Remote work will continue to be a trend for any positions which requires creativity and productivity in the future.