Team Productivity

What it’s actually like to be a remote worker

David working remotely

Remote working is becoming increasingly more popular. According to recent studies giving employees the flexibility to work from home means they get more sleep and are more alert when working, which inevitably makes them happier and more productive.

Nimvelo team member and all-round nice guy, David, is one of these happy, productive remote workers. After moving to a different city 50 miles away, it would have been impossible for David to commute, therefore we agreed to him working remotely from his new home. So what is it actually like to be a remote employee? Do you become best friends with your cat? Are you really more productive? Do you wear nothing but pyjamas? Read on to find out.

How has remote working changed your way of working for Nimvelo?

I often get asked if working remotely has changed the way I work. Like many others, I am much more efficient working remotely. I still have the same equipment and tools available to me; as a programmer, all I need is a computer and a VPN back to the central office. But being in my own personal space, I’m able to create a comfortable working environment that is well suited to me.

Personally, one of the biggest changes of remote working is the extra time that’s freed up by not having to commute into work every day. The time I save in the morning allows me to go out running before I get ready for work. The time I gain after work allows me to enjoy my other interests, without having to spend my day worrying if I will have enough time later. I have found I’m less tired and distracted during the working day, and overall much healthier and happier generally.

People often tell me that they would easily get distracted when working from home, which I understand may be an issue if you live with other people, or in an especially busy environment. However this hasn’t been the case for myself. When working in the office I would sometimes struggle to focus on what I’d be doing, with so many other people around me – not to mention keyboards clicking, meetings and chatting… and the coffee machine. This can be very detrimental to productivity, especially for programmers. I was surprised when I first started working at home that I would have days in which I felt I’d accomplished more than I could in an entire week at the office.

What unexpected challenges have you faced?

Working remotely has come with some unexpected challenges. It can be difficult to know if anyone at the office needs any help; it is a lot easier to help someone when you can see they are struggling with something. Working remotely means I have to be more proactive in checking in to see how the rest of the team are doing, and if the team is in need of help.

A few other challenges that I have faced include:

  • A severe lack of plug sockets and extension cords;
  • The loss of free coffee, and having to make my own;
  • Resisting the urge to sit in a duvet during winter (a battle I’ve only lost twice, which I’d therefore call a success).

Do you feel like you’re still part of the team and working culture?

We’re a very strong team here at Nimvelo, and all of us play key parts in the working culture. On a day-to-day basis I am still talking with my team over the phone and via messaging. I try to talk with all of my colleagues, even those who I’m not directly working with on a daily basis, just to keep up to date on current events in the office. Twice a month I go into the office for a day, which is a great opportunity to catch up with everyone and to stay directly involved with the wider working culture.

What are the most effective tools for remote working and communication?

There are various tools that I find essential for remote working. I commonly use Slack for sending files and information to team members, as well as for keeping in the loop with the rest of the team.

When working on projects or large-scale discussions, talking it through over the phone is usually the best way to do it. For this I’m able to use our own business phone system (it’s kind of what we do) from home. All I had to do was take my phone with me, plug it into the Internet at home, and it connects just like it did before, without needing to change any of the settings. This also means that, when it’s especially busy at the office, I can jump in and take customer support or sales calls, just the same as if I was there in person.

Any advice for companies considering remote ways of working?

I would urge that you trial it, and figure out its suitability as soon as you can. Many think that remote working is the way of the future. A survey taken from the Global Leadership summit in London found that “34% said more of their full time workers will be working remotely by 2020.”

However, enabling remote working is not an easy process if you don’t have the tools and systems in place to enable your employees to do so. Make sure you have solutions in place to allow easy communications; services such as Slack and Nimvelo Phone are great for this. While it may require some initial legwork to put remote working in place, it is definitely a worthwhile opportunity for improving both productivity and employee satisfaction.

Time to go remote?

Has your business adapted to using remote working? What has worked for you? If you haven’t considered remote working then why not? Join the discussion below and let the Nimvelo Community what you think.

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