You got the call, the contract, and even a nice signing bonus to get you started. Now you plan how you’re actually going to work with that remote team. It’s hard enough when you’re 30 miles away, but if you’re across a continent, you need to be organized, efficient, and prepared.
Here is a list of some basics for any remote office:
Internet Access: Be prepared. Have an emergency kit ready in case your wifi goes down over the weekend. Know the difference between a cat5 cord and a phone jack, and never get known as the person whose technology is always down. Cables, an extra router, and a list of your passwords should be close at hand, not down the street at the computer store that closed 15 minutes ago.
Wifi Backup: Where you would go if you need internet access and it was lost? Scout out locations within an easy drive so that if your internet service is spotty, you have a way not to miss that meeting. Pay attention to timezones as well. A coffeeshop that closes at 9:00 pm won’t help you if your call starts at 10 pm.
Video Meeting Space: Create a clean, professional space in your home or office that is good for video meetings. You don’t need the visual distractions reminding your team that you haven’t had to commute in six years. Also keep a clean collared shirt handy, and a baseball cap or some hair accessory ready as well. You don’t have to look dressed at all hours, but you should look like you put effort into it.
Timezone Calendar: Speaking of timezones, stop doing the math in your head. Buy two clocks and put them on the wall, the same way they do in trading desks across the world.
Screensharing: Language barriers aside, pictures speak louder than works. Having Something like speedshare or join.me available to walk someone through a strategy is just good business. And it’s good for you, if you’re struggling with tech and need someone else to look at your screen while you install that latest VPN. The point being - you're the one working remotely. Try to make it as seamless as possible to make remote working continue to look attractive to the employer.
Cloud computing: Have a backup in case you need to upload a presentation and you need a fast way to send large files to your team. This is also useful for when you do travel, as you can access the cloud in times of emergency. During a recent presentation, the projector blew up before a 2 hour lecture. Having 60 people type a dropbox url into their phones wasn’t going to work, so I posted a link to an old blog, and every person there downloaded the presentation on their smart phone.
Work/Life Barrier: One of the perils of working from home is being unable to separate being "at work" from being "at home." Something as simple as closing a door to signify you're not working is important, as you don't want to have to leave your house to get away from that being at work feeling. Also, don't work all over your place. You wouldn't carry your desktop to the office kitchen, would you? Don't try to work with your laptop at breakfast to get in extra time. Make sure you work when you work, or you'll burn yourself out.