“When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.” Thomas Kempis
- Over communicate – Don’t let people wonder what you are working on, don’t let people wonder what you are up to and definitely do not let people wonder how to find you. Make sure that your management and all of your team members know exactly what you are up to. You accomplish this by providing them meaningful communications. And because you are not with them physically, you want to provide more communications than you would if you were sitting right next to them. Consider providing some type of brief but meaningful daily update. Set an auto responder on your email when you are out of the office, make sure your voicemail states your normal hours and when you deviate from those hours make sure everyone knows. You never want anyone to wonder for even one split second if you are really working productively or not.
- Be seen – Even though you are working remotely make sure people can match your face with your voice and your face with your emails and your texts. You want everyone to really know who you are. You might accomplish this by having times where you are in the office with your colleagues. If you cannot be in the office with your colleagues or in addition to being in the office with your colleagues use videoconferencing. It never hurts to have a team site where you can post pictures too. If you do, make sure your pictures show you at your best. Not necessarily looking like a model, but you want photographs that depict you, as you would like your colleagues to see you. You can also include a small picture or image of yourself on some of your communications. People connect more quickly and easily with faces.
- Change Your Method, Not Your Tone – Working remotely means sometimes it is more difficult to find people when you need them. This can be frustrating. Do not let others sense your frustration. Do not change your message so that it becomes threatening or hysterical. Remain calm polite and professional. Change your method of communication. Perhaps you start with email first, then maybe you move on to a text, then perhaps a phone call or a Skype. Be prepared to be flexible and be prepared to be understanding. It could just be that you are forgetting that back at the office there is a big meeting in progress. You might have overlooked a holiday that your coworkers celebrate and you do not. You can always ask people how they would like you to communicate when you really need them and you cannot find them. Ask how you should escalate important communications.
As you can see each of these three steps really involve you strategically leveraging communication so that when you work remotely you are out of sight but never out of mind.