Lessons For Working From Home From a Remote Worker

When I was working at my community foundation, I was in a physical office building managing a full staff of individuals all week long as well as engaging with our donors. It was days of talking and meeting with people face to face. When I started my role at Blackbaud over 4 years ago, I transitioned into a completely remote position and that took some adjusting. Those face to face meetings were replaced with phone calls and emails. I learned a lot along the way and wanted to share some of my thoughts to you about working remotely. I hope that this short list helps promote some good habits and provides increased returns in happiness.

  1. Improve your subject line.
    When sending an email, make sure to specify the what, who, and when, i.e., “Meeting Update – Lambert Family Fund – Amy Sue will call today.” Attention spans will be shorter than usual and having a clear statement of the purpose of the email subject line calls attention to the important details. Also, it will make emails easier to search for future reference.
  2. Write down your objective.
    Having a clear picture of where you are going on a call or email will help you have an impactful conversation and make sure that your message is delivered clearly and accurately.
  3. Send Calendar Invitations.
    With the world today, many new remote workers are juggling new distractions like pets, kids, spouses, dishes, laundry, etc. Before just picking up the phone and launching into a list of items to cover, send a calendar invitation and include an agenda to highlight the items that you would like to discuss.
  4. Be kind.
    Ask how things are going, offer understanding and be prepared to table a conversation even if you have set a time to talk. Remember, if you have written down your intention or included it in your calendar invitation before calling then you will be able to circle back at another time.

These weeks are going to be difficult. Make sure to find a way to make things easier. We are all in this together.