I’ve been working remotely for a while now. It’s been a great experience and a lot of lessons learned so, I’d like to share some thoughts on best practices and good manners.
Have a toolbox to help you communicate
Emails, IMs and group chats are good for near realtime conversations, but they do a lousy job on documentation and requirements specifications. Bring other tools like Basecamp or Pivotal Tracker into your workflow. But make sure it’s being productive . These tools are supposed to help you, if they’re not worth or being underused, you should look for alternatives.
Be accessible and responsive
Try not let people waiting forever until they can get an answer. And in case you’re really busy, a “just a sec” is much better than the sound of crickets chirping.
Even the most accessible and responsive person can be in a hurry sometimes, so avoid calling insistently. Waiting a few seconds won’t hurt, will it?
Let people know what you’re doing. If won’t be available for a couple of minutes, a “brb” should be enough. If you’re helping someone, make them aware of it. Helping people in silence may cause rework because you don’t know if there aren’t others doing exactly the same thing.
Be as clear and brief as possible
Specialy in text group chats. And don’t write
it pisses people off and
is hard to follow!
Put your ideas together in one sentence, respect the punctuation and double-check for spelling errors.
Just because you can
hubot meme in Campfire, it doesn’t mean
that you should do it all the time. Emoji are fun, but use it if care,
Watch out for interruptions
Try to find a balance between your tasks and talking to other people. Set your notifications to be unobtrusive to avoid losing focus. I personally disable sound notifications and set my chat client to alert me only when my name shows up on conversations.
If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to learn new stuff to make my working day more productive.