General by Leon Hitchens on May 09, 2016
Working remotely has its pros and its cons, but if done right, you can become more productive and happier with work. At Ninjality, we work remotely and don’t have an office beyond each of our home offices. While I prefer an office with everyone in one location, Sunny and Kyle has proven time and time again how productive and efficient working remotely is.
I’ve gathered a few tips and tricks from Sunny and Kyle, which have helped me to become a remote working ninja overnight. While I’d still love to have an office with them in one city, so we could drink and hang out together, the pro’s are too much for us to change the ways. Companies like Buffer, a social media service to manage multiple accounts, have completely abolished having one central office. They’ve become a distributed team across almost every time zone, which has enabled them to work 24 hours a day seven days a week. While we’re only distributed across two time zones, we’ve all adapted widely different work schedules, which has enabled us to work a majority of the day.
That’s enough about how we do things, instead, let’s jump into the articles tips and tricks to become a remote working ninja!
Communication is essential when you don’t see someone in a physical office. We use Slack and of course email, but we also stay in constant contact. We communicate a lot on Slack, but a few communications, ones where we need approval from everyone or are imperative go onto email so we can have a clear cut trail. Other conversations like what we’re currently working on go into Slack so we can get instant replies.
Of Course, we don’t always talk about work. We’re talking about new apps, news from tech, and other general life topics. We’re coworkers but were also a close team, which we would even say we’re family. We share interesting articles, discuss them and even plan times to play a round of Rainbow Six Siege or Rocket League together.
Now since you’re working from home, you could stay inside all day, and while that’s nice, we need sunlight and a little exercise each day. I start my days early, around 3 am each day, and I know it’s early, but I feel more productive in the mornings after I’m up and out of bed. When I wake up, I make coffee, watch a TV show, and then I surf Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see what is going on. I enjoy looking at social media early in the morning because they’re slow, and I’m able to reply to a lot of people. After the all this I typically start by writing for an hour or two, and by the time I’m done with this it’s around 6 am. At this period, I’m usually getting dressed and showered to go “commute to work.”
My commute to work includes walking to check the mail, and that’s it. I’m out of the house for 5 to 10 minutes, but it gives me a sense of driving or in my case walking to work. This small walk get’s my mind in the work mode and gives me the idea that I’m going to work. Some folks recommend biking or going to the gym and then starting work, but do anything which gets you out of the house and then step into the office.
I’ve tried to set work hours for each day, and while I work more than 8 hours on an average day, I have some set aside for just work. I know you’re probably saying the whole idea of working from home is not having to have set hours, but it’s a good idea to have set hours. This gives your employer an idea when it’s appropriate to contact you and hear a response, but it also gives friends a family and idea when you’re ‘working.’
Now, I’m flexible with my work hours because I have a baby. Sometimes things get planned while I have to work, but I try to stay to this routine each day:
Of course, I feel more productive in the mornings, but you can work anytime you feel that you’ll get the most work done. Sunny’s taken to working later at night, and Kyle regularly slates 3-hour burst to work throughout the day. Either way, we all have an idea when someone is working and when someone is spending time with friends or family.
Working remotely is lonely, and can get boring quickly. Trust me; I’ve struggled with working remotely because I crave and need human interaction. I’ve survived through spending time with my baby and wife, but also attending meetups and planning trips to see Kyle or Sunny. I’m located in Texas while Kyle’s in Missouri and Sunny’s in North Carolina. I’ve planned a trip to meet up and hang out with Kyle when he’s going to Chicago for some work, and later in the year, I’ll likely plan a trip to see Sunny and hang out with him.
I also use the meetup app to find meetings of local technology and freelance journalists. Luckily, San Antonio, Texas has a technology coworking space which hosts monthly meetups for startup owners and tech geeks. I’m able to hang out with like-minded folks who love technology and many times work from the coworking space or remotely as I do.
Working remotely might not suit you, but sometimes you have to do it to find employment or have the flexibility to spend time with your family. I’ve struggled with being lonely, but there are ways to make friends and have still be productive. After adjusting to my new remote working lifestyle, I’ve become happier and had more time to see my daughter grow up.
It’s also given me the space to work from anywhere, and travel as I need. I have attended conferences in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Austin, and have others planned in Germany, New York, and Florida.
While I don’t write on a beach every day, I do get to do what I love; write about technology, internet culture, and startup business from the comfort of my home. You can do the same with these tips and tricks from the Ninjality team!