Remote work can be considered a benefit but it can also be challenging when you are not well prepared. Make sure that you bring the same value as employees working on site, by following our etiquette of remote work.
High-quality communication is a key. Just about everyone will agree with that, it is a universal truth. But the idea of good communication can vary depending on a person, which is why you need to make sure everyone is on the same page. Be responsive and available for conversation and questions. Try to clearly convey your point within a few sentences, and if it takes longer, it might be best to just pick up the phone or start a video chat. Be punctual, communicate your progress, give updates, ask questions. It's better to overcommunicate than give not enough information.
Time zone difference
If it happens that your client is based in a different time zone than you, make sure to plan your work accordingly. Use tools like World time Buddy to schedule calls easily or add an additional time zone to your Google Calendar. It can help avoid misunderstandings.
Working from a different time zone won't cause any difficulties if you put a bit of effort in preparation. Just make sure you know exactly what needs to be done the next day and plan your work in advance. Providing your client with daily updates should help.
These days, there are endless ways for remote teams to communicate. There are plenty useful tools that make remote work possible and convenient. Each client requires different tools that you need to use when working on a project. Here you have the most common and recommended by Pilot.
Online communication: Google Meets, Zoom, Skype
Written communication: Slack, emails
Task management: Asana, Trello, Github, Jira
As a contractor, you need to take care of all devices needed for work. Computer or laptop is a must. Check if you have a microphone, camera and headphones available when you need to have a call. When working as a QA engineer, make sure you have all devices needed for testing.
Check if you have a reliable internet connection. When you work from coffee shops or public spaces often, make sure to have an alternative mobile internet to use as a backup. Remember, this is your responsibility to be connected, you can't use it as an excuse for not participating in a scheduled call.
Working remotely doesn't necessarily mean working from home. Make sure that you have a quiet space available for work, especially when you have a call or a meeting. Someone else walking behind you or a barking dog is definitely not appropriate. You should be able to have an ad hoc video call anytime during agreed overlapping hours. Show respect to your interlocutor and do not eat, smoke or chew gum during the call.
If you are looking for more information how to avoid distractions when working from home check out this blog post by Karola Morawska.
All of you have some experience in working remotely. Share your tips and hints on remote work by writing on firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll take your ideas into account when updating this article.