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.
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.
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.
Then there’s the other stereotypes:
Coffee shop warriors
Full-Time Travel Blogger
3rd world country writer
What doesn’t get talked about a lot is what it’s like being a work from home parent.
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?
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.
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.
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
Things I find interesting on the internet
The great state of Oregon
Emergency car repair
Speakers and room acoustics
Cats vs. Dogs in the world of finance
Optimizing your digital life
How to parent
How NOT to parent
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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