Tips and Tricks for Remote Employees

By Sanya Weathers

For Protip Friday, I’ve got some a few tips and tricks on working remotely from the experts – the Metaverse team:

Share your bio. Tamara says:  “Just telling [an employer] that “MMS trains every team member thoroughly and every person on your project was chosen for a reason,” is rarely good enough. Sharing a short bio [tells the employer] what makes each team member qualified and why that person was interested in the project. It helps them understand that the mods in their worlds are highly trained professionals who happen to work from home, not the feared slacker on the couch with one eye on the TV and one eye on the computer.”

The virtual watercooler. Ask the boss to create the email list, or the message board, where employees should go to discuss games, movies, TV, humor, and more. Upload photos of each employee to a central place. Both of these exercises will allow the remote and onsite employees alike to put faces with names, and personalities with faces. If the company has more than 75 people, the onsite staff needs this resource almost as much as the offsite people do.

Create your own advancement opportunities. The fact is, us remote people get consistently overlooked when it comes to being handed opportunities to advance. If you see something that’s not getting done, make a point of doing it. Documentation, analysis, customer outreach, customer followup – these are all things that lead to tangible results and raise your profile.

Your (older) kids need to learn that you’re working. Susan says “I taught my kids a habit which I highly recommend for any family.  Rather than have them stand beside me and say, “Mom.  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.” to get my attention, I taught them to stand beside me and put their hand on my arm, with no words.  I knew they were there, and could finish what I was doing before acknowledging them, or I could give them immediate attention, if I was able.  If I was on the phone, they were not interrupting my work, but if I was just doing something that could wait, I was right there for them.  You have to acknowledge them somehow, though… otherwise they’ll go back to the “Mom, Mom, Mom” thing.  :-)”

Your family and friends need to learn that you’re working. You’re working remotely for the flexibility, but you are working. Your house will not be spotless, and you’re not available for three hour lunches or extended playdates. Anyone who expects either is just… wrong.

Got a baby? Hire help. Working from home doesn’t always mean you can avoid child care costs. If your kids aren’t in school, you need to hire some help for at least a few hours a day, so that you can make phone calls or attend meetings with your webcam.

Get dressed to the shoes. I joke a lot about remote employment being the ultimate pants-free lifestyle, but I’ll tell you my dirty secret: It’s just a joke. I’m sure some people have the ability to separate their mind and their body so perfectly that their clothes don’t matter. For the rest of us, sloppy is as sloppy does. I just do better work when I’m dressed, wearing shoes, with my hair and teeth brushed. No one’s going to see you except you… but you (and your pride) count for more than anything. You can skip the contact lenses, though.

Use tools to achieve balance. Unlike working in an office, with its regular meetings and Donut Wednesday (oh how I miss you, Donut Wednesday, buying my own just isn’t the same), my work schedule is seven days a week. Almost all of us at MMS have said that our heads are with our jobs more than they were when we had onsite jobs, even though we took these jobs to be more available to our families. I track everything religiously to make sure I’m really truly balancing work and home.

Buy a phone with a headset jack. Then buy a headset with a mute button. Just trust us on this one.

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