To Keep A Remote Job, Remind Your Co-Workers of These 3 Things

Proving your worth is good advice for any job you work at, but when you work for a remote company, it’s absolutely essential.

There was this one guy I worked with at a remote company, we’ll call him Alvin. I remember when Alvin introduced himself to the company on a team-wide call right after he was hired, and I remember thinking ‘he seems like a decent guy’. He had a lot of good ideas and seemed to have energy enough to pull them off.

9 months went by.

After about 9 months, I asked another co-worker where Alvin was. Turns out, Alvin had been let go 3 months before. I didn’t even know.

When you work remotely, you have to consistently remind your co-workers three things:

  1. You’re a valuable asset to the company.
  2. You’re making/saving the company more money than your salary with your extra projects/ideas.
  3. You’re a good culture fit.

Showing You’re a Valuable Asset

When you first get to a remote company, as quickly as you can handle, help as many people as you can. Word of mouth travels surprisingly fast in a company, especially when people are discussing a new hire.

“Boy, that new guy is really great, he jumped right in and helped my get those reports sorted out.”

“The new girl in HR sorted out my dental problem in like two days. She’s sharp.”

“Yeah the new hire is super nice, helped me find the data I needed.”

Continue helping your co-workers and leaders as much as you can throughout your time at the company.

Save/Make The Company More Then They Pay You

When a company is deciding who to keep on during layoffs, you need to be a no-brainer choice. One of the best ways to do that is to find ideas outside your normal day-to-day that will save or make the company more money than they’re paying you.

If the company pays you $70,000, and you performed your job well AND brought in $85,000, why would they ever let you go?

If you can continue to provide this kind of value to the company, you’ll have job security, you’ll get promotions, and you’re going to enjoy your work more.

You’re a Good Culture Fit

I’ve seen extremely talented individuals let go because they didn’t fit into the company culture. Here are some tips to becoming a good culture fit.

  • Don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable with sexist/racist/etc. humor.
  • Always be willing to listen to someone.
  • Be on time to meetings and value people’s time.
  • People appreciate short meetings, don’t let yours drag on.
  • Be kind.
  • Make sure your profile picture is set everywhere it can be, Slack, Google, Confluence, Etc.
  • Participate in conversations where you can.
  • Give people shout-outs when they do something well.
  • Try to find ways to boost the culture where you can.
  • Avoid negative gossip.
  • Know your coworkers, ask them how they’re doing.
  • Avoid political discussions.
  • Don’t ever put yourself in a situation that could get you called into HR.
  • Watch yourself at company outings.
  • Offer positive reinforcement as well as kind criticism.
  • Use appropriate memes/gifs to communicate.

Constantly reminding your co-workers of your worth to the company is crucial in a remote company. Don’t be like Alvin, if you ever get let go, you want it to leave a big hole.

Everything I Miss From When I Had A Work Commute

Here’s what I miss about my work commute:

  • Podcasts
  • Sometimes seeing cool weather patterns while driving home.
Probably shouldn’t be taking pictures while I’m driving.

Oh and if you’re interested, here’s what I don’t miss:

  • Having to get up at least an hour before work started so I could be at my desk on time.
  • Eating a breakfast behind the wheel of a car or missing breakfast completely.
  • Traffic.
  • That jerk in the silver BMW who cut me off and now I’m mad about it for the rest of my day.
  • That feeling of nausea you get when you didn’t get enough sleep and you step outside to get in your car when it’s cold out.
  • Leaving for work and realizing you’re out of gas, so you’re going to have to stop in a gas station during rush hour.
  • Finding a parking space.
  • Leaving work in the middle of the summer and the interior of your car is hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • When your spouse calls you and says your kid broke their leg and they need your help, so you run to your boss and tell them you have to run, then you get in your car and drive through traffic for half an hour the whole time panicking about your kid’s leg.
  • Leaving for work in the middle of the winter and having to scrape the ice off your windshield.
  • Having to shovel your driveway before you leave in the morning so when you drive over the snow it doesn’t become perma-ice on your driveway all winter.
  • Realizing you forgot your lunch, so now you need to decide if you want to drive back home or just go grab some fast food during lunch.
  • Seeing that you’re due for an oil change and it hits you just how many miles you’re putting on this car.
  • That one time you tried to be healthy and so you rode your bike to work but you didn’t realize just how long it takes for you to stop sweating so your work clothes are soaked by 9:30 am.
  • Making plans with your family but trying to figure out if you have time to get home and get changed or if you should just go straight there.
  • How often you buy new tires.
  • Realizing 1 hour of my day, which is 5 hours a week, which is around 250 hours a year, which is basically 10 days of my year, 15 if you’re only looking at waking hours, which over a 40 year career is 600 days, which is oh my gosh I’m going to spend TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE COMMUTING TO WORK.
  • When you spill the strawberry jam off your toast onto your shirt in the morning.

If you’d like to receive updates on this project and learn more about working from home, how to work from home, how to find a remote job, etc. I’ve got an email newsletter, where I can send you this stuff. Sign up here:

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When working from home, keep your clothes on.

When I first started working remotely, we had scheduled a meeting with a new software development company. It started like every video call, people joining every few seconds. The software development companies representative “Jack” said his engineer “Mike” would be joining shortly, but we could go ahead and get started without him.

We started going through the various services they offered, then we heard a ping.

Mike had showed up.

The problem was, Mike didn’t know he joined, Mike didn’t know his webcam was on, and Mike wasn’t wearing clothes. Jack started yelling at Mike that his webcam was on, Mike didn’t notice or hear, he just took his time, got himself situated, then put his headset on. Once he heard Jack yelling, we saw him knock his webcam to the floor trying to block it.

We didn’t choose that vendor.

There’s a lot of morals we could go into from this story about professionalism, dressing for success, etc. but I’m going to keep it simple and practical and just talk about what to do with your webcam.

When you’re video conferencing:

  • Test your audio and video beforehand.
  • Keep your clothes on during working hours, pretend your webcam is always on.
  • Clean your room behind you, your background says a lot about you and your personality.
  • Make sure your camera angle is level with your face. Too high and you look like you’re cowering, too low and c’mon, that’s not a good angle for anybody.

It’s very easy to get too casual working from home. Keep your clothes on.

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Everything there is to know about being a remote working parent.

When most people think of working remotely, some stereotypical images pop into their head.

First, the #vanlife, touring-a-european-country, working-from-a-macbook-air-on-a-beach digital nomad.

Photo by Nick Dunlap on Unsplash

They get to work where they want, when they want, their only boundary is the horizon, they wake up every morning to the smell of the next big adventure, all while collecting a nice steady paycheck.

The second one is the worker chilling in a co-working space, surrounded by fellow remote workers, stopping their email to play a game of ping pong, swapping ideas, going out for lunch/happy hour and smiling the whole time.

Photo by Pejmon Hodaee on Unsplash

Then there’s the other stereotypes:

  • Coffee shop warriors
  • Basement hermits
  • Jetsetters
  • Full-Time Travel Blogger
  • 3rd world country writer
  • etc.

What doesn’t get talked about a lot is what it’s like being a work from home parent.

My glamorous desk (note the multi-vitamins)

I’ll go into more detail over the next few months, but for most remote parent workers, you work from a spare bedroom, trying to negotiate nap times, daycare runs, and kids running into your meetings. Occasionally you get to work from a car, maybe go to a coffee shop, but the majority of the time you’re in the same spot every time.

So why do it?

  • No commute.
  • You can go to vacation areas without taking vacation PTO.
  • Save on lunch and gas.
  • You can listen to your music as loud as your family will let you.
  • No one steals your lunch.
  • Your schedule is generally more flexible.
  • Your own fridge, bathroom and nap space for lunch.
  • Easier to focus (if you set yourself up right).
  • Your office is setup the way you want.
  • Your work tasks and home tasks can become melded together.
  • You can work while you’re sick (this is a pro and a con).
  • You can see your kids more than you would ever want.

For me, seeing my wife and kids (wife works from home too) whenever I want is absolutely the best thing about working from home. Also having quick access to my fridge, shower and bed.

After spending a lot of time in the remote working space, I’ve learned there’s some tips and tricks you should know if you want to work remotely.

  • Work for a 100% remote company if you can.
  • If you can’t, work for a company that’s in your area.
  • You need to be smart about a remote position interview, it’s not the same.
  • Always wear a shirt in front of a webcam.
  • Know your time zones.
  • You need a to-do list, or you will fail.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  • Make friends.
  • Know your boss so you can preemptively help them.
  • Be marketable.
  • Don’t eat a big lunch.
  • Prove your worth.
  • Maximize your time, so you can minimize your time.
  • Technical issues are a real issue, make your computer a priority.
  • Know how to work the webcam.
  • Profile pictures everywhere.
  • Get involved.
  • Have boundaries.
  • Know thyself.
  • Mute thyself.

I’m using this blog post as a running list of articles about remote work. I’ll be linking to them from this article as I write them. If you’d like to receive updates on this project, I’ve got an email newsletter, where I’ll be sending you stuff like the above and this:

  • How you can find a remote position
  • What it’s like to work from home
  • Marketing automation/email marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Business tactics
  • Things I find interesting on the internet
  • The great state of Oregon
  • Emergency car repair
  • Appalachian dulcimers
  • Gummy multivitamins
  • Networking
  • Insomnia tips/tricks
  • Speakers and room acoustics
  • Ideas
  • Cats vs. Dogs in the world of finance
  • Optimizing your digital life
  • How to parent
  • How NOT to parent
  • Board games
  • The best pen you can buy for under 5$
  • and other opinions on things I don’t have a right to have an opinion about

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