How to make “Working Remotely” work ?

I have been working remotely with my office colleagues in the same timezone but 2,500kms away for about 2 years now. I work from Delhi and my office is in Bangalore. I have been visiting Bangalore no more frequently than once every 8 weeks for a week or two.

Its tough.

But there are quite a few things which can help you sail through:

  1. Build Trust  – this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
  2. Make yourself available as much as you can – over IM / email / Phone.  Let your colleagues know that they can call you anytime, so that they get a feeling that you are just a phone call / ping away.
  3. Visit frequently and utilize it in relationship building, making folks comfortable.  Go for coffees, lunches, dinners with key people  every single day when you are at the office site. 
  4. Manage your emotions – phone audio and emails do not convey the body language / tone of the conversation very well.  You can easily upset your counterparts and vice-versa. Learn to manage that – be extra cautious.
  5. Find a way to whiteboard remotely – 
    1. My method was to have lots of re-usable diagrams already prepared which I could use while talking to different people. This became easy with the help of google docs – drawings. All my drawings were on Google docs and I could just send across a link for the other person to open and see. AND you could actually edit the diagram  / highlight  / color it in real-time while explaining it over phone.
    2. A whiteboard type setup – Wacom tablet for drawing on Microsoft OneNote with a screen share. This is the one I have.  It worked wonders. I could always open up OneNote and start drawing what I am thinking in the middle of a discussion.
  6. Faster turnaround on emails  – make folks comfortable. Decide your own turnaround. Mine was max 1 day. In special cases – 2 days.

Would love to hear your thoughts too :), share them in the comments section below.

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3 thoughts on “How to make “Working Remotely” work ?

    1. Agree Rahul! Its valuable input & I tried it as well. But somehow found it hard to do video skype, except for 101 meetings. I guess if the meeting rooms have video conf equipments / monitors for video projection – it may actually be more effective.

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