4 Smart Ways to Stay Connected When Working Remotely
Did you know almost half of the employees in the U.S. said they spent some of their time working remotely last year? Blame it on the economy, a return to flexible scheduling or a desire to work from home, but remote work is quickly becoming a reality for many Americans. However, to make it work well, you have to make sure that you can stay connected when it matters. Here's how:
Smartphones and Data
One of the most significant challenges facing remote workers is having a dependable connection. Having a secure virtual private network helps, but when you work from home, the quality of your home internet makes a big difference. One option is to get a personal cell spot, a device that works like a mobile tower that employees can install in their homes and integrate with your internet service. This way your connection can move between cellular data and your Wi-Fi, so you never lose contact.
Many smartphones are equipped with Wi-Fi calling, which lets you make and receive phone calls using your Wi-Fi network connection. Wi-Fi calling makes a big difference if you are at a location that frequently experiences dropped calls — rural areas, busy urban centers and places with sparse coverage. With Wi-Fi calling, if you lose cell coverage while on a call, the call is pushed through your connected Wi-Fi automatically.
Be sure to check with your provider about their Wi-Fi calling services. T-Mobile, for example, has a feature that prioritizes voice calls over any other type of wireless traffic. In other words, you won't lose your connection when your kids start to stream a movie or you try to download a large file for work.
Remember Your Team
While your work responsibilities are your main focus, it's also important to stay connected to your colleagues. Ideally, you should touch base with your co-workers several times a day. Let them know when something happens, be it contact with a new client or progress on a project, and make sure that you are online and available during your company's busiest times.
Ideally, you should also try to maintain some social rapport with your co-workers, especially your teammates. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone, have a video conference or take part in a virtual celebration — especially if you catch the event when it happens. When people work in different locations, it is imperative to share experiences if you are going to maintain your connection with each other.
Staying connected when working from home can be a challenge, but if you go into remote work with a plan for managing those problems, it can be easier than you think. Make sure to leverage the tools you have at your disposal.