Mini-Series: My Take on Being the Teammate in the Office
Welcome to Remote Team Week, a week we’ve devoted to the remote employee and the different ways to support a remote work environment.
Working as a remote employee is a unique experience and is not for everyone, since it takes high levels of concentration and motivation. However, one thing that is not discussed nearly as often is being the one teammate who works in the office — on an otherwise remote team.
I’ve been in the latter position for about a month now and, as my team’s eyes and ears of the office, I’ve found myself on my toes in ways I didn’t expect. This can mean staying engaged with other teams or departments I wouldn’t otherwise connect with, making sure I am on top of my tasks and finding good resources to improve productivity and to stay motivated. This sort of challenge may not sound appealing or be suitable for everyone, but embracing this role can reward you with a stronger work ethic as well as enable you to build skills and relationships along the way.
Here are four ways to make sure you, as the teammate in the office, are grabbing this role by the horns and assisting your team to become more efficient than ever.
Now is the Time to Become Engaged
What tasks are people in other departments focusing on? What time is the CEO available for a meeting? As a fairly new employee, these questions may not naturally be at the top of my mind. However, being the teammate who is connected to the office in physical form gives a great opportunity to step up to the plate.
You can report news back to the team that may otherwise go unheard, and help your manager connect with someone from his or her remote location. In the long run, this could be the opportunity for you to prove you are a motivated employee.
Enforce Water Cooler Chat
If you’re an introvert like me, it may be easy to sit down in the morning for a typical workday…then stand up in the evening having had zero human interaction throughout the entire eight hours. Time easily flies when you’re on the computer, focused on different tasks.
However, it’s important for both workplace satisfaction and productivity to get up and socialize with those around you. Go out of your way to make conversation with people on different teams that you would otherwise not speak to (when they’re not in the middle of work, obviously). Discuss your weekends and look for ways to make connections. This is a chance to expand your network and become comfortable, where in other circumstances you may have not known any first names outside of your team.
Ask ALL of the Questions
When you don’t see your manager or teammates every day, it can be easy to feel antsy and unaware of the group’s latest tasks and goals. So, whether it’s Google Hangouts, texting, a phone call or video conferencing, make sure to keep up-to-date with your manager and teammates as much as needed (and then some).
It can be easy to feel like you shouldn’t bother others since they’re not present in the office, but they’re not on vacation! They’re working in their own space, so don’t be afraid to ping your manager for questions — he or she is still there to support you.
Don’t be afraid to make conversation, as well. The most productive and successful teams are those that get along well.
Software is Your Friend
There are many great software options to ease any possible hiccups of working on a remote team. Here are a few suggestions:
- Project Management Software — Simplify project organization and coordination for teams of different sizes.
- Web Conferencing Software — Connect employees, conduct meetings and hold conferences.
- Team Collaboration Apps — Communicate, manage projects and create as a team.
Remote is on the Rise
More companies are accepting the fact that working with remote employees is a required part of finding the best candidates, and the chances of you as an employee having a completely in-office team is decreasing.
This definitely isn’t a bad thing. Even if you’re like me and prefer the office culture, there are many tools and ways to take initiative so you can stay connected with the team and become a valuable asset. And if a situation ever comes up where you need to work remotely for the day, you know that flexibility and trust will be offered.