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7 Hacks To Keep Your Job Away From The Office

Employees love remote work. Employers are increasingly skeptical, which some are reporting means that up to 90% of all remote workers will be back to the office by the end of 2024.

So how do you keep your remote gig remote? Adapting these seven tips may help you as your employer considers getting rid of your remote status this year.

1.Results Will Keep Remote Status

The main premise behind remote work after the lockdowns was, “I don’t care where you work, as long as you get your job done.” As with nearly anything in hiring and firing, results, speak louder than anything else. As I have pointed out in other columns, resumes should highlight accomplishments, not dreams. The same is true with remote work. Are you proactively showing your manager that you are producing results or are you telling them what you are going to do? Show results, don’t tell about dreams.

Remote Hack: At the end of every day, send a bulleted list of accomplishments to your hiring manager. You might start it with a simple, subject line like: “Here are the results I achieved today.” Your manager may or may not read this every day, but she or he will certainly see the subject line and remember it when they’re trying to recall what your face looks like and whether you keep your remote status.

2.Keep (and show off) Regular Office Hours

One of the biggest complaints managers have about remote work is not knowing when their employees are working for them and if they’re truly putting in the time they’re being paid for. The Economic Times did a study and found that a significant percentage of remote employees were working more than one job at a time. All because they could, since jobs were remote. Moonlighting is pretty hard when you’re at a desk in an office, but the temptation to take a side hustle is super high when you’re in your own home. How can you show your manager that you were devoted to working steady office hours for your employer?

Remote Hack: If you aren’t offering Calendar access to your manager, you might consider doing that through Google Calendar. You might also schedule a time to send messages throughout the day to coworkers. This doesn’t mean scheduling emails, but typing a quick live chat through whatever platform your company uses. The more you can show that you’re actually working during the hours that everyone in the office is, the more likely your manager will be to allow you to stay remote.

3.Bring Cookies to the “Real” Office.

This may sound counterintuitive, but a KPMG study shows that when remote employees drop by the office to say hello and spend a day there working on an important project, it engenders tremendous goodwill from managers and coworkers. We see this in our own office, and extensive studies have shown the same. You might think it’s better to fly low while working, remote and not be visible. You might be tempted to think that by staying invisible, people will grow accustomed to you working remotely. The opposite is actually true. Especially if your company is in a hybrid work model, those who are working at the office might become disconnected and perhaps even envious of those who are not in the office. A simple drop in visit can go a long way.

Remote Hack: When you go to your physical office, take some results, and take a cookie. When you go by the office, take something to your workers to show them what you have been doing while remote. Ideally, this would be work that will help them. Your drop-in has now turned into a value add for your colleagues. And if you want bonus points, go grab some cookies from the bakery. They aren’t expensive. And everyone loves a cookie. Even those were dieting during January will appreciate the gesture more than you might think.

4.Show You Are Connected to the Mission and Vision of your Company

New research from Gallup confirms what many have feared: Remote employees are perceived as disengaged from the company, cause, mission, and vision. Employees who work remotely say the same thing. If you want to maintain remote status at your company, become the champion of your company’s mission, vision, and cause. See it as your personal mission to let others know that you’ve bought into and support the big picture of the company. By doing so, you’ll diffuse one of the most sensitive concerns that your managers may have about remote work.

Remote hack: Identify where you have seen a co-worker live out part of your values and or mission, and send them (and their boss) a note describing how you saw the big picture at work in a teammate’s efforts.

5.Show Off Your Office at Home (and the Boundaries You Have to Protect It).

Good remote workers keep good boundaries, especially when it comes to where they work at home. Long before the pandemic, we were studying remote workers, and the profile of those who can work from home successfully. It’s a great myth that humans can multitask. Doctors have proven that we can actually only listen to one thing at a time (many apologies to those who are listening to music while reading this article).

Managers get nervous when they get a mental picture of remote workers paying attention to work out of one eye and a toddler out of the other eye. Managers get nervous when workers are unable to have boundaries between their office at home and their home. Even the smallest distraction, like a dog interrupting your day, or the washer and dryer alarm sounding can distract an employee, reduce productivity, and cause managers to rethink remote hiring.

Remote Hack: Spend some time this January creating a dedicated space for your remote work. Show it off to your boss. Guard it with your life.

Bonus Remote Hack: Write a tip sheet for other remote workers about how you have created boundaries to separate your work from home from your home.

6.Spend Twice as Much Time Proactively Communicating with Your Team

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, managers and coworkers of remote employees feel like communication is lost when people are not in the office. That’s a real problem for your remote status, because when communication drops, trust drops. If you want your coworkers and managers to trust you as you work remotely, you’ll need to work twice as hard to communicate with coworkers, and not just managers. What can you do as a proactive communication plan to make sure people know that you are engaged with the work even while you’re not there?

Remote Hack: Set up a schedule for an email or quick call with a different coworker three times a week. It can be short, but must be focused and related to work, with a few minutes spent building your relationship.

7.Dress for the Job (Top to Bottom)

Old advice from my mother still proves to be good: “Those who dress for the job, will win the job.”

That’s never been more true than in a remote environment. As much as I have enjoyed the lockdown attire of athleisure, the world has moved on from the pandemic. And it’s time to start dressing the part. Psychologists have identified that dressing up for work actually improves the quality of work.

Remote Hack: when you are doing video calls, make sure you get up and move around for something (work related) briefly during each call. That will let people know that you’re not working in shorts with the dress shirt. It will show people that you have a professional attire.

Bonus Remote Back: Change clothes on schedule. Just like Mr. Rogers used to change shoes at the beginning of his show, changing clothes at the beginning, and the end of a workday helps to define the day mentally. Set a schedule for when you will get dressed for work, and once work is over, put on that at leisure and enjoy your time off.

My guess is remote work is not going to go the way of the dinosaur. It appears that hybrid work environments are here to stay. I’m seeing many employers reward the most productive workers with some remote time. If you follow these seven hacks, when you’re working remotely, you’ll not only be happier and more productive, you’ll engender trust from your manager, and she or he won’t think twice about letting you continue to work from home.

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