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Mastering The Remote Maze – Advice for Budding Telecommuters

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

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As the gargantuan shift from office cubicles to the homely nooks progresses, employees globally are attempting to navigate the labyrinth of remote work. This novel change is like a two-edged sword - one edge promises flexibility and convenience, and the other can cut one deep with the unique challenges it poses. This is especially true for those stumbling timidly into this brave new world for the first time.

Read on the post to master remote maze!!

1. Embrace Agile

The agile methodology is becoming increasingly popular in the business world. Agile organizations are people-centered, focused on collaboration and innovation, and able to respond quickly and efficiently to the ever-changing business landscape. Agile transformation is key to improving collaboration and efficiency across remote teams. When remote teams work well together, trust is built faster, problems are solved quicker, instant communication is more easily facilitated, and quick decision making is supported.

Fortunately, agile transformation needn’t be difficult. Video conferencing tools, instant messaging platforms, and virtual whiteboards, in particular, are excellent agile tools that can aid remote workers. These tools promote participation and collaboration — although they usually work best when ground rules are set. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to start talking over each other in virtual settings. But, if each speaker name’s the next presenter due to speak after them, this confusion can easily be avoided.

2. Shine in the Virtual Spotlight

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In a remote work scenario, your visibility extends beyond the physical and settles in your actions. You need to be proactive to stop yourself falling into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap. And fortunately, there’s plenty of ways you can make a positive, lasting impression on your remote boss.

For example, don’t simply wait to be handed tasks or instructions. Keep an eye out for opportunities to suggest solutions to problems, or get involved in new projects that’ll help your career development. Your boss will notice your initiative, and your actions will show you’re motivated and dedicated to your job.

3. No Static on this Line: Communication is Key

Effective communication is essential for staying connected with your team, maintaining morale, and optimizing your performance while remote working. Remembering the three C’s — clear, consistent, and concise — can help you craft effective messages.

Clear communication involves keeping your message simple and easy to understand. Consistency means sticking to the same communication platforms, so people know what to expect from you. And, being concise means keeping it brief and to the point.

4. Find a Mentor

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Finding a mentor can be a great way to combat the isolation that can occur while remote working, while also aiding your personal and professional development. A key benefit of mentorship is gaining access to someone else’s knowledge, expertise, and experience. You’ll also get to learn best practices that can help you excel in your career.

When approaching a potential mentor, take time to craft a polite and respectful message. Let the person know why you’re impressed with their work and career development; what goals you have for the mentorship; and how exactly their advice can directly benefit your career.

5. Cultivate a Sense of Belonging

A sense of belonging is crucial for employees. In fact, high belonging among employees has been linked to a massive 56% increase in job performance, as well as 50% drop in turnover risk, according to Harvard Business Review. Prioritizing communication is a key way to ensure you feel included and part of a positive team culture despite working remotely. For example, take the time to have casual chats whenever possible with your coworkers.

Simple chit-chat — like “how are you?” and “how was your weekend” — goes a long way to foster connections and boost morale. You can fit these friendly chats in before the start of virtual team meetings, as well as on calls with remote coworkers, for example

Adjusting to remote work can be challenging, but by adopting a positive and proactive approach, you can succeed as a remote employee. By taking a number of smart steps — like embracing agile, impressing your remote boss, prioritizing communication, finding a mentor, and cultivating a sense of belonging — you can successfully aid your professional development and improve job satisfaction while working remotely

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