In partnership with seven remote work-oriented organizations, the fully remote software company Buffer recently released its 2019 State of Remote Work report. Incorporating the perspectives of 2,500 remote workers, the report is packed with great takeaways and productivity tips for remote employees (and their managers, too). Here are our top three highlights.
Define Your Work Environment
31% of remote workers say they work primarily from a dedicated home office. This is the most popular remote work location, followed by the living room (27%). Since remote workers’ number-one struggle is being able to unplug after work, it makes sense that many of them prioritize having a designated workspace—even if there’s ample space at the kitchen table. This need shows in the market for home office furniture, too. Boundaries are important.
It’s also helpful to realize that the “work environment” goes beyond the physical. When asked about their ambient sound preferences, veteran remote workers were far from indifferent. In fact, they knew exactly which soundscapes supported their productivity. 25% need some background noise (e.g. radio or TV), 21% need silence, and 21% promote focus with specific meditative music.
Especially if you’re new to remote work, make a point to craft a work environment—both physical and auditory—that works for you and not against you.
Have a Plan to Combat Loneliness
Right after the challenge of unplugging after work, loneliness tops the list of challenges remote workers face. The problem of loneliness is so widespread that Buffer takes active measures to help alleviate it. Each week, a different teammate is matched with a new hire for a “pair call” to help them bond with their team members.
Buffer describes these pair calls as “a chance to get to know someone new, often someone who they don’t work with directly), and for each person to share more about themselves, their goals, and the ways they’re working on self-growth.”
Actively Develop Your Communication Skills
The phrase “communication skills” gets thrown around a lot without a concrete definition. Yet, this skill set is universally reported as the most important for remote workers. “Communication skills” really boil down to three key things:
- Good teamwork practices, including frequent, honest communication habits as well as the ability to give and receive feedback.
- The ability to simplify complicated ideas and break them down into steps.
- Fluent use of communication technologies, which remote employees say are the core technological tools for their work.
With the right habits, training, and tools, highly productive remote work is possible our customers prove that to us daily. GlobalMeet helps more than 100 million people communicate efficiently and productively around the world.