Okay, so the last year was full of surprises, some good, and some not-so-good. While lockdowns were depressing, remote work and work-from-home was definitely not! Did you ever expect that companies would embrace remote culture so whole-heartily? And see the reality now -- Gartner revealed that 88% of organizations encouraged their employees or made it mandatory to work from home during the pandemic.
And believe us, the trend is going to continue.
According to a Gartner CFO survey, over two-thirds of the participating companies plan to shift their employees to work-from-home setup after COVID-19 ends.
That said, big companies, think of Twitter, Facebook and Salesforce, have already allowed employees to work from home indefinitely.
This is indeed a great time to be a remote software engineer as organizations are more willing to hire remote developers and have the necessary IT infrastructure and supporting networking technology.
But that does not mean being a remote developer is everyone’s cup of tea. Every remote position demands you to be dedicated, reliable, and possess the required technical and problem management skills. Besides coding knowledge, you will have to develop your attention to detail, communicate well over electronic message systems, and have the right mindset to manage remote work.
It takes a lot more than programming skills to be successful as a remote developer. Let us show you some of the winning qualities that can help you find better success with your remote work.
Qualities Of A Successful Remote Software Engineer
The most crucial of all qualities required for a successful remote development career is communication. Unlike closed office spaces, you need to make an effort to communicate and connect with your remote team. It is essential to be transparent about your availability. Let your manager know if you are unavailable for any reason whatsoever.
It is also important to have alternative communication channels in place that your manager can use to reach out to you in case of an urgency. More often than not, companies have their own standard protocols and communication channels for remote teams. It is essential to utilize them to the best of your abilities so that everyone in the team stays on the same page.
Two-way communication is an essential part of any kind of remote job. It helps you understand the context, the work requirements and clarifies all the tasks you need to deliver on time.
Get yourself comfortable with the various modes and tools for communication like email, team messaging apps, calendar and meeting scheduling apps, video conferencing systems, and so on.
Develop both your written and oral communication skills to share your views and ideas with clarity and understand the same when your teammates communicate with you. Keep your teams informed of your progress and check in on your teammates whenever necessary. Frequent follow-ups and updates let you be on track and finish your tasks on time with minimal errors. Communicate any blockers you might experience as soon as possible so you can find the resolutions quicker.
While remote working can be a flexible option, it does not mean you can have an easy-go attitude towards it. You need to stay committed to your projects and develop a good rapport with your teammates. While it is challenging to develop a mature working relationship in a virtual environment, communication will help you earn your teammates’ trust and become successful at what you do. A physical office environment can inherently enforce the level of commitment. But when you work from remote locations, you will have to take up the extra effort to stay committed and on top of your work schedule.
An excellent way to accomplish this would be to maintain self-discipline and keep yourself accountable for every task you commit to. Be sincere and set yourself up for a serious work commitment with every remote job you take up. Here are some tips that can help you:
- Prepare a home office setup where you can solely focus on your work without any distractions. Set it up to be a professional space with good lighting, equipment, and all necessary infrastructure required for a proper home office.
- Invest into making a good office setup at home. Get a good and stable network connection. Buy ergonomic work desks, communication tools like webcam, headphones, microphones, and so on, whichever is necessary to help you work with the same level of focus as you would in an office environment.
- Prepare yourself with the necessary knowledge and technical skills required for the job.
- Be accountable for every task you take up. Follow your schedules and make sure to communicate any delays, updates, and project progress to your team on time.
Maturity and Team Work
Employers love working with people who can listen to feedback and take it in a good stride. You have the opportunity to learn a lot more from your teammates and gain interesting perspectives when you have the maturity to listen to others.
Develop a friendly and learning attitude that feels warm and welcoming to your teammates. At the end of the day, software projects are teamwork, and being a proactive team player will make you the most valuable asset to your team.
Understand the context within each conversation, support your team, and know when to take a step back. Get regular feedback and take the initiative to incorporate feedback to better yourself.
Managing The Boss Well
One of the biggest challenges with remote working is that the work structure and hierarchy can be confusing and feel quite different from a regular physical work environment. As there will be fewer communication barriers, some managers may end up micromanaging or overindulge with texting every 15 minutes. Remote working is still perceived to cause trust issues, and managers may find it challenging to understand the dynamics of remote work culture. The best you can do in such situations is to communicate appropriately with your manager and set up a regular schedule of in-person or online one-on-one meetings as and when required.
You need to keep your managers informed of your work progress and any blockers immediately. You can make use of regular phone calls, video conferences, emails, and messaging apps, as well as any collaborative tool you use at your workplace. And always honor your meeting schedules.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Attend the calls and meetings on time. Prepare well in advance for the call and document the queries and results.
- Get clarifications and record them with proper email chain conversations. You can send an email recapping the earlier conversations or the topics to be discussed before the meeting so your boss can be prepared as well.
- Send reminders to your boss before the scheduled meeting.
- Try to establish a mutual compromise on meeting time schedules if you are working from different time zones.
What Do Companies Say
There are many organizational and security concerns a company may have with remote working.
- Be ready to comply with NDA regulations and company policies as you may work on confidential work artifacts.
- Companies would prefer working with employees who can be available during prime work hours and are skilled at using collaborative work tools. Be clear on your time commitments and set the right expectations. If you are required to log hours, make sure you keep those up to date.
- Your passion for coding will shine through, and companies need people who are self-motivated and self-disciplined to deliver the tasks on time.
The risk of work creeping up into your personal life is much higher when you work from home. Learn to set healthy boundaries and maintain the right work-life balance to remain productive and energetic at your work. Take time to take care of your health, personal interests and strike a healthy balance.
Remote working can be fun, flexible and let you devote your time to what really matters to you. But it does take effort and a lot of self-driven motivation to excel and enjoy being a remote developer. Work on your communication, stick to your schedules, and stay healthy.
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