Remote Work Advice from the TSN Team™

Working remotely is not for everyone. Even the most disciplined employees may need structure, space and connection to fulfill their assignments. A recent study from Future Workplace found remote workers are more likely to quit because of loneliness and low engagement.

Since its inception, TSN Communications has thrived on its employees working remotely. It works for the business model and gives employees the ability to have a flexible schedule. Below, the TSN Team™ shares what they’ve learned over the years working from home.

On an office space:

“Having a dedicated office space with a door is key for me. I’m very focused and productive, but I realized I wasn’t happy when I used to work out of the basement. When I moved my office to upstairs, I had light. I had windows. I had a door. It’s the smallest room in the house, a mismatch of all the furniture that doesn’t fit elsewhere. I’ve made it totally comfy and inviting for me.” – Julie Puckett

“A set workspace is a must for me. It allows me to get into the right frame of mind and indicates to family members that I’m ‘at work’.” – Janice Brewster

“I have my own workspace so I can shut the door at the end of the day and ‘leave’ my office.” – Tracy Ruff

“I require a workspace with a view. I’m alone most of the day so a window with a view of the street helps me feel connected to the world. I can see people walking their dogs or listen to traffic and it makes me feel like I’m part of the world. I tried to work in a basement office for a while and I was sad and depressed.” – Carey Donnelly

“I have an office space at home that I retreat to Monday-Friday. Once I’m in my office, I’m zoned in to what needs to get done, work-wise. However, I also take full advantage of using my laptop to work in bed and at the kitchen table, but am nowhere near as productive outside of my own office space.” – Natalie Hill

“Having a designated office space is the best thing I ever did for myself. It means both myself and my family know when I’m ‘at work’ and when I’m ‘at home,’ which helps me stay focused on my task at hand.” – Julianne Barclay

On productivity:

“Deadlines are the best way to kill distractions! Another productivity hack I use is the Pomodoro method of setting a timer for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break, then repeating. There are Pomodoro apps and online timers to make it really simple. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in short, super-focused periods of time.” – Janice Brewster

“I don’t avoid distractions! That’s the great thing about working from home and having a flexible schedule.” – Tracy Ruff

“When people learn that I work from home they invariably make a joke about how great it must be to work in my pajamas. But a big part of my work-at-home routine is that every morning I get up, get dressed and make myself presentable just like I would if I were going to an office. My clothes are a little more casual than standard office attire but the routine really helps me switch the lever from ‘at home’ to ‘at work.’” – Carey Donnelly

“I’ve found time-blocking projects along with setting goals for what I’m going to accomplish each workday helps me stay focused and avoid distractions.” – Natalie Hill

“I know I’m most productive in the morning, so any project that I know is either going to take more than an hour or two or will require my best concentration gets done in the morning. Then, I leave the things I enjoy most for the afternoon when my productivity starts to wane. If I’m excited about it or it’s something I particularly enjoy, it helps me even if/when I hit the afternoon slump.” – Julianne Barclay

“I have to get downstairs right away and feel productive within an hour or so of sitting down. That means accomplishing small goals right away and then going after the bigger ones.” – Gregg Voss

On communication:

“Using an online project management system is a must! It keeps everyone on the team informed and gives everyone access to projects in one place.” – Tracy Ruff

“Sometimes huddle calls are necessary, but you need to pick your moments. Not everything requires a call. Email, instant messages, and our project management system are also most helpful.” – Gregg Voss

“Emails and instant messages work really well, but sometimes it’s nice to just pick up the phone and talk to a co-worker. Not only can you hammer out a question/issue quickly and in a straightforward way, but you also get to spend a couple minutes connecting and learning more about what’s going on both with other clients and in the co-worker’s personal life.” – Julianne Barclay

On co-workers:

“Since we don’t have the traditional ‘water cooler,’ I follow co-workers on social media. That way, we may not see each other on a day to day basis, but I can still feel like I am a part of their lives.” – Tracy Ruff

“Like any other job, you have to take an interest in your co-workers and both their work lives and their lives outside of the office.” – Gregg Voss

“I keep in touch with the team primarily through our project management system, task communications and pings, but also through email and phone calls when needed. Basecamp has been an excellent tool to help TSN streamline a lot of what we do and cut out the unnecessary added layer of communications.” – Natalie Hill

To see some of the benefits of working remotely, check out TSN’s list here.