Let's talk about remote work

Working remotely is becoming more and more common. From full time remote positions, to part time or remote-friendly positions.

During my relatively short career, I have had the opportunity of experiencing all different flavors of remote working. From my full time remote position at WWCRC to my current position at iZettle, where remote work is normalized and allows me to spend some days/weeks abroad without having to use my vacation days.

In this post, I want to share some practices that I’ve found very useful to increase my productivity when working remote. These tips also help remote workers to keep feeling part of a team.

First things first: Does it work?

YES, remote work works. Many companies are still afraid that remote workers will not perform. Some people are still skeptical when someone is working remotely.

In my experience, remote work not only works, but it helps me to charge batteries and disconnect from routine.

Of course, there are some things/practices that work better than others. So… what can you and your team do to improve productivity and cooperativeness when part of the team is working remotely?

What can I do?

If you have ever read any blog post or article about remote working, this will sound familiar. Here are some of the things I do to feel comfortable and more productive when working remotely:

  1. Follow a schedule: Try to follow the same schedule that you would follow in your work place. It is very easy to just keep working when you’re working from home. It is also easy to grab your laptop on a weekend and do some work if you’re working abroad, with no office that is empty on a Saturday evening. If you would not do this normally, don’t do it when working remotely.

  2. Set up a proper working place: It is okay to lay on the couch for a while, move around the house or go to a coffee place. However, try to have a well prepared, comfortable place where you work most of the time. This will just help you focus and make your body comfortable. This does not exclude of course good an necessary practices like taking :coffee: breaks, going for walks, etc.

  3. Be communicative: I find this extremely important. It is tremendously easy to focus on your own work and ignore what others are doing when you are not in your office. This is, in my humble opinion, a big mistake. In my experience, this leads in the end to a feeling of loneliness and exclusion, since you end up not taking part of discussions, and thus decisions, about what you are at the end working on. There are tons of tools to help you communicate with your team when you’re away. Use them! Slack, Appear.in or Google Meet are some examples.

What can we (as a team) do?

There are some easy but important tips that will help the team keep up when people is working remote.

  1. Be communicative: Overlapping with point 3 above, being communicative is important for everyone. As a team, involve your remote colleagues in discussions and meetings. Talk to them! If someone would join a discussion in the office, theyshould join it when working remotely.

    As a remote employee, a small thing that I find really nice is to greet everyone when starting and finishing your work day. Informing about long breaks (lunch, walk, run…) also helps the team know you won’t be responsive for a while.

  2. Be proactive: Be proactive when it comes to collaboration and discussions. As said before, it is very easy to end up focusing on your work and ignoring the rest of the world. Join standups if you do them, make your team stream talks you are interested in, join meetings, discussions, etc.

    Here a capture of my team on a standup using appear.in while I was working from Barcelona, Sofia was working from Östersund, and the rest of the team in the Stockholm office. You can tell it is a Friday, huh? Happy faces, empty desks… :smile:

    Remote standup

  3. Be remote ready, always: Be always ready to welcome remote workers into discussions and meeting. Be always ready to join discussions and meetings. Set up properly equipped conference rooms prior to the meetings in the office, be on a quiet place where you can listen and talk, etc. You know the drill :wink:


As you can see, all these tips focus around the idea of collaboration on both sides. It is all about inclusion and will :smile:.

I think remote work is good and at least for me, necessary from time to time. It is a nice way to change routine, take a break from monotonous life, see your friends and family if you are working abroad, conciliate family with work, etc.

I hope you find this useful or at least slightly interesting :joy: If you do, share! Opinions, experiences? would love to discuss them with you, write a comment!

Guillermo Carrasco

In automation, we trust.