Working with plenty of diverse stakeholders and colleagues can be super enriching, fun and great learning from each other – but it isn’t always easy , especially when working remotely.
Here is what I learned along my 20 years corporate career with around 8 years working globally and remotely:
1. Don’t respond to emails within a minute.⠀
The faster you return emails, even when you get your answer super quick, the higher the pressure for some people. ⠀
Also especially when there is a heated discussion, the sooner the return email from your colleague lands in your inbox together with many more. Stay calm , listen and take time to respond. ⠀
Even better: Have only two times per day when you attend to your mailbox (this can be very hard for some of us!).⠀
2. Firefighting mode: when you work in a matrix organization , figure out who is responsible to execute , who is accountable and who needs to be informed and who can be consulted (RACI model). Depending on your role, be careful which role you play , Most of the time you are not responsible for every single step others do. Escalate early and know the escalation path.⠀
3. Have clear boundaries on work hours and respect those of others. My first interview with an US employer located on the US East Coast was at 5am in the morning for me in Singapore and it was too late to reschedule. Be polite but inform your counterpart. This is a no-go.⠀It is not on purpose, most of the time stakeholders do not look up your location.⠀
4. My favorite 80/20 rule: choose the tasks that take 20% effort but cover 80% of the expected result. Do these thoroughly and with great quality. The rest is 2nd priority.
5. Know your priorities in private and business life! Your health is not negotiable.⠀
6. How to keep focus and concentration during a day filled of back to back phone conferences: select only the morst important ones, reschedule some and skip meeting invitations that have no agenda, no clear goal and where the audience has not been well selected (usually kind of ‘nobody knows who and just in case all hands meetings’) ⠀
7. Ask your manager for the vision, the mission and the priorities of the organization, prioritize your tasks accordingly.