Remote workers can learn from entrepreneurs

The expression “New Normal” is getting old don’t you think? In any event, it’s time to take this opportunity and make something great out of it. Working remotely used to be a benefit given to top management and some top talent. The beauty of what the COVID-19 has shown is that it works far better than anticipated and now it’s a level playing field for those working remote since… so is everyone else. 

A large number of companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Siemens, RBC, ABN AMRO, Google, and many, many others are either not re-opening all their offices or are allowing #WFH (work from home) or #WFA (work from anywhere) several days per week to employees were the work is doable anywhere. In surveys, a majority of workers and entrepreneurs believe that a hybrid solution will be the most common in the next few years where people work both at home and in the office. The role of the office will be transformed. 

This provides a great opportunity for many people to produce their best work. Employees can craft a work situation that suits the personality, lifestyle and family situation along with taking into account the possibilities of having a reasonable home office. 

As always, planning work and life are crucial and some soulsearching is needed to help yourself and your team to work well together and alone. Even people with very clear ideas on how they work best can benefit from testing new ways and places to work. Change in itself is stimulating. 

Remote workers are for all practical purposes becoming entrepreneurs and will have to draw on the skills that this group has honed for years or they wouldn’t survive. The following skills will be essential; 

  • Self Motivation
  • Ability to structure work
  • Focus
  • Be accountable to colleagues and clients to deliver your part on time and in full
  • Willingness to try new things until you have a formula that works for you

How do I do my best work? 

Do you work best alone or with other people, or both depending on the task? 

Does walking meetings work well for you? 

Do you work best in a silent or busy environment?

Where do you do your best work? 

There’s a time and place for everything. 

How about thinking a bit about your place of work. Does it benefit you to have the same place to sit each day which signals that now it’s time to work? 

A work station should be ergonomically right and it’s your responsibility and your employer’s to make sure that your workplace, wherever that is, is not harmful to your body. Employees and employers can work together to create a good workspace with an appropriate desk, chair, and lighting. Don’t wait to get this done, having a place dedicated to working and set it up so you can do your best work. 

If you are in a cluttered space, then you will be less productive. Marie Kondo’s book  #Joy at Work” can be a great inspiration. 

When do you do your best work? 

Remote work often adds a bit of flexibility to your schedule and most companies will now look at your output rather than the hours (and what hours) you put in. 

  • In Sweden most workplaces already have flex time which gives people the flexibility to have a work-life balance, to set times for when collaboration and expected contacts to be possible are now the next steps. 
  • Have you noticed that you do certain tasks better and faster in the morning or in the evening? 
  • When do you have your creative time and when are administrative tasks a way to use the time well? 

What do you do best? 

When you work remotely it becomes very clear who delivers on time and in full, hence it’s important to balance your strengths over the day, months, and years. To swim downstream is infinitely easier than struggling with your shortcomings. Some of them may be crucial enough in any job that you have to address and change it, while other things may be removed for you to do your best work.

  • What tasks put a spring in your step and a smile on your face? 
  • Figure out what tasks you always push ahead, forget about, ignore and that make you feel bad. See if they can be delegated, stopped altogether (a lot of things we do are not necessary) think of the ADD model. Automate, Delegate, Delete and you will be surprised how much easier your workload can be. 

Why must you do certain things & how can you do avoid pain?

Most people have roles that require a broad skill set, but even if you are an amazing lawyer, graphic designer, or management consultant it’s likely that there is an element of reporting and administration needed around your task. Over the years, I have seen that quite a few people have a resistance to the reporting bit and especially if the reporting systems are many and clunky. Yet, it needs to get done. 

  • Some start the day with their most important and hardest tasks and can enjoy the rest of the day rather than worrying about having it left to do. 
  • Scheduling the tedious, yet essential reporting or administrative tasks into chunks in your calendar. Let’s say you ave to compile all your receipts, travel expenses (as if in COVID times..), or other tasks that are small but interrupt your day into a once per week event with a time limit of 25 minutes.  

As an entrepreneur, I have had reason to explore, learn, and experiment with different ways of working for many years. I have had mentors, courses, and done a great deal of self-study on this topic which is why I’m more than prepared for remote work. Entrepreneurs are always monitoring what works and what doesn’t and are typically fast to add tools and methods to help them for the simple reason that if it doesn’t work, you can’t pay the bills. Having mentors has been infinitely useful to save time as engaging any expert always will benefit you almost instantly. Reinventing the wheel shouldn’t be necessary for 2020 and beyond. That being said, finding your own best work style is individual but getting some help on the way will likely save you time and you can avoid some pain. 

Stay tuned for the Remote Work Program that will be launched to support Virtual Leaders from September 2020 and onwards. In the meanwhile our blogs will hopefully help you make a great transition to a happy remote worker and team lead. It’s your moment to shine! 

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