The 3 Don'ts of Remote Working.

The majority of us are working remotely, which in the future, will continue to happen for many of us that call ourselves knowledge workers. One way or another, it appears that remote working will be a continuous part of our life. For many of us, it’ll be the only way that we’re going to work. For a whole bunch of others, it’s going to be a hybrid kind of a way.

Nevertheless, what are some things that we should not do? Let’s jump right into the don’ts. Thoughtfully we should be investing in the ‘do’ kind of way, but this is going to be a very quick and rapid-fire couple of don’ts.

Do not suffer in silence.

This is very important and applies to whether you are working on a project, a work situation, or a personal situation. The one difference is that when we’re around campus, or around an office environment, and people see us regularly, even when we don’t meet with them, they can often observe if we’re not having our best day or when we are struggling.  It’s a little tougher on these digital platforms because you jump in and out, so it’s incumbent on you, and me and leaders (this is a double emphasis for you) to ask for help. Do not suffer in silence.

Suffering in silence stops you from taking these three actions:

  • Increase confidence, relationships, and trust. Authenticity to these increases psychological safety, because it makes you open to just getting help.
  • You can and you should invite others to do the same thing.
  • You need some help, and so you get it.

Don’t be afraid to set clear boundaries.

Set boundaries around your remote workspace with people at home. We’ve been told, and you know we need to set boundaries around working time, and of course, we don’t want to be 24/7 on our devices. People get that, so you have to shut it off and unplug at the same time.

When you’ve got people around your workplace, setting boundaries can be tough when you’ve got toddlers. I get it. Right now, we have a grandchild, she just turned four and another one that’s on her way to three. They understand, they know when you gently nudge them along — they get it. You just need to set the boundaries for everybody. And yes, every once in a while, you want a four-legged critter on your lap, and that’s fine. But at the same time, you do need some boundaries. No need to have yellow construction tape around your area. 

Please, please, please do not celebrate long hours.

Every once in a while, it’s important to acknowledge long hours. Right now, for some, it’s tax season. People in the finance tax world are working crazy hours, or you know sometimes, you’ve got a project that you’ve got to get over the goal line, you’ve got a board meeting coming up, so yeah, of course, acknowledge that you know when something has to be done. But please don’t celebrate to the point where it now looks like that’s the primary way you would reward people for their work.

If you do that, it means that people will just do extra crazy stuff, and focus on that instead of focusing on results, right? So be cautious about that time. Start to change that mentality around just measuring hours as some kind of a dumb metric.

Start thinking more and more of the environment you want to move into going forward, both as a follower and as a leader.  

Think remote, start small, act now (remotely), 
Lorne Rubis


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