Due to recent events, hundreds of thousands of people globally have found themselves having to work from home. But what happens when someone now finds themselves out of their daily routine, without structure, and alienated from a lack of social interaction?
Auth0 has been a remote company from Day 1, with our two founders starting the company seven years ago while living in the USA and Argentina. We grew and scaled our workforce by hiring people from all around the world. Below are the key lessons for employers and employees to smooth the transition to remote working.
7 Lessons for Successful Remote Working
Lesson 1: Trust Your Peers
There are two essential components for the success of remote working. Trust is one of them — when you can't work next to each other, trust becomes primordial. You have to trust your peers will continue to give their best while working from home, that they are doing what they say they are doing, and will deliver quality work on time.
Trust will empower them to thrive.
Lesson 2: Clear Communication
Communication is the other essential component. Without face-to-face interactions, ensuring clear, constant, and transparent communication is of utmost importance. Maintain regular communications with your peers, whether it's via chat or video, by setting up weekly syncs, 1:1s, or brainstorm sessions.
Tools play a key role in making this an enjoyable and efficient experience. There are plenty of options, but our communications trifecta is Slack, Zoom, and Confluence for chat, video, and documentation. We also use Mural for whiteboarding, Figma for real-time collaboration between our designers, and Lattice for feedback, surveys, and 1:1 conversations, just to name a few more.
Lesson 3: Respect Others' Time
Meetings can be tempting when working remotely (it's an opportunity to see a face!) but think twice before scheduling one. Ask yourself, can this be managed via message/email or maybe even a short video call? If yes, then there is no need to schedule a meeting. The meeting is needed? Ok, but make sure to set up an agenda and respect the starting and ending times.
Don't expect instant responses from colleagues. Your messages/emails don't have to be answered instantly. Everyone needs time to focus on their projects, so take into account that your requests can't be answered right away and learn to respect the 'Do Not Disturb' status.
Lesson 4: Manage Your Time
Making the switch to remote is not easy and can have an impact on your productivity, but many things can help:
- Start by organizing your day — structure is key.
- To-Do lists are your friend.
- Plan in advance.
- Implement a time management technique — we recommend the Pomodoro technique.
- Block your calendar with focus sessions.
- Setup the don't disturb status.
Lesson 5: WorkSpace
"It will be amazing to work from my bed or couch" is a common first thought when starting to work from home. Although the idea is very tempting, having a dedicated space for working is essential.
It doesn't have to be a fancy office with 3 screens and full of gadgets, it's about having a space that suits you, where you feel relaxed and happy, and which enables you to focus and set your creativity free.
Tips to set up a quick workspace: find a space in your house close to the internet (you don't want to lose connection during a video call) where you can work without disruptions, take your most comfortable chair and desk, order nice headphones, and you are ready to work.
Lesson 6: Work-Life Balance
Working from home can blur the lines that divide personal and professional time. The most important thing is to set up boundaries by implementing office hours. Forget about the typical 9-5 (you are free from that), but choose what suits you best. The important thing is to divide your two lives.
Remember to take breaks during your office hours. Taking breaks doesn't come as easy when working from home, but they are important for your mental health and productivity. Try planning and scheduling your breaks in advance and most importantly: get away from your desk.
Another big one is exercise. Sedentarism is one of the few cons of remote working, but there are plenty of great routines you can do right there in your house.
Now you can't justify not doing exercise because of the lack of time... you have hours free because you are not commuting anymore.
Lesson 7: Don't Overlook Security
The sudden growth of remote working comes with an increase of cybersecurity challenges: new devices to be hacked, networks to be probed, credentials to be stolen, and targeted phishing attempts, to name just a few
Here are 3 tips that can help overcome these challenges:
Cybersecurity Guidance: education is the main way to overcome these challenges. Educate your organization about security by creating best practices guides and setting up training sessions.
Single Sign-On: reduce password fatigue, mitigate credential theft, and make life easy for everyone by setting up Single Sign-On.
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): the much needed extra layer of security. Implement MFA and safeguard your data from unauthorized access.
Welcome to the remote club. We hope these lessons based on our experience of 7 years as a remote company can help you get the best of your remote time and maintain the same productivity as working from an office.
Are you a remote worker specialist and want to share some of your lessons? Or you just started remote work and have some questions? Please go ahead and leave a comment.