The traditional office environment provides an important structure for employees—when you’re expected to be at work, where you work from, built-in connections with peers and managers, and more. One of the biggest surprises for new remote workers is how this structure almost completely disappears once they’re not in the office anymore. The way that you communicate, receive, and share information becomes one step removed, and it’s just that little bit more difficult to get attention from others.
This isn’t just about scheduling your routine either—it’s important to dissociate a routine from the notion of time. Having a remote work routine doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work a typical 9–5 schedule, just from home instead of in an office (though for some people, this is just what they want!). But it does require that you understand how and when you’re most productive, whether or not you will need to be available to colleagues (for a standup or planning meeting, for example), and how you can work effectively no matter where you are.
We cover having a good routine in Setting and Keeping A Daily Routine.
If it doesn’t persist, it doesn’t exist.Luke Thomas, founder, Friday*
Some employers might think that remote workers are less accountable. You don’t have supervisors peering over your shoulder, and the lack of a physical presence can drive the perception that you’re not really “at work.”
Trust is a fundamental necessity in high-functioning remote teams, and accountability fosters trust. It’s essential that your team and manager trust that you’ll get your work done, and that you’re all focused on the same outcomes.
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