How to Excel At Remote Work

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How to Build Culture, Get Results, Work and Lead Teams From Home Like a Pro.

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Working from home can be very misunderstood. Some assume it makes people lazy and others swear it is their most productive time.

As of writing this in March/April 2020, we are going through one of the biggest work from home experiments with the Coronavirus at its peak.

I've been working 100% from home for 4 years and have led a team virtually for 2 years. Companies like Gitlab, have no office. They are entirely remote, with 1200 employees in 65 countries and are highly successful and productive.

How do they do it? It takes some mindset changes and ideas you may not have thought of. Here's a collection of lessons on how to work virtually and lead a team virtually like a pro to make it both highly engaging and productive.

Lesson 1: Find Ways to Switch Into Work Mode

If you go to an office, you’ll have some sort of pre-work routine. You wake up, grab a coffee, maybe watch the news, get changed into your work clothes, and head out the door with your favorite music in your ears.

That’s just an example, but I’m sure you can identify things you do every day before you go to work.

Because you’ve done these so many times, they’ve become habit. And because you’re on the way to work, carrying out these habits signal to your brain that it’s nearly time to work. This helps you get in the right frame of mind.

When you’re working from home, your routine is totally broken, so it can be hard to get into the mindset needed to work. Pulling your laptop into bed while you’re still in your pajamas doesn’t help to switch your mind into productive mode.
I recommend creating a new routine.

Brush your teeth, have a shower, get dressed, and do as many of the things you would normally do as you can.

Once that’s done, it’s time to ‘go’ to work. Some people are still able to go out to coffee shops, but for many, non-essential businesses have been closed down, meaning home is the only place you can work from. If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, then this definitely helps.

Otherwise, think about a spare space in your home that you could designate to work only. If you have a spare room, of course this is ideal. But if you don’t, a spare side table and chair can be enough. Tuck it away somewhere you’re unlikely to be disturbed.

Of course, a lot of people have their kids at home now too, so even this might be a struggle. If noise is a problem where you are, why not choose some uplifting, energizing music as your ‘work music’. Put your headphones in as soon as you get to your desk. Before you know it, this will become a new work habit for you, and you’ll be able to switch into feeling productive as soon as those earbuds are in.

Head to Lesson 2