Tory Hobson; Product Designer


Working From Anywhere


What I have found helpful over the last three years while working remotely

Under some personal circumstances, I decided to move back to the east coast almost three years ago. That meant finding a new job, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. But luckily my team liked me enough and I had built enough trust to keep my job and work remote.

At first it was a little tough, but eventually I found my groove. I’d even say that my quality of work has improved since I now have an easier time focusing and have far less distractions. Here are some of the things that have helped me make the transition and some tips that might help you if you’re thinking about working remote as well:

Start your morning like you would if you were going into the office.Shower, brush your teeth, put on clothes (not pajamas). For me, this just helps my brain get into “work mode.”

If possible, get your team to have a daily stand-up meeting. It’s easy to fly under the radar and disappear over time when you’re not physically there in the office. Make sure this does not happen. The more you can communicate, the better. We generally go around and talk about three key things:

  • What I did yesterday?

  • What am I doing today?

  • Do I have any blockers?

Make a list of what you hope to accomplish today (or this week). Since your boss and co-workers aren’t there to help guide and motivate you, having a to-do list will definitely help keep you on track. I’ve been using this bullet journal method for years now and haven’t looked back. It’s fantastic and definitely worth looking into if you’ve never heard of it.

Communication tools, such as Slack or Hipchat, are a must if you’re going to work remote. Since we’re such a collaborative team, I can’t imagine the amount of calls I’d have to make (and amount of co-workers I’d piss off) if I had to call every time I needed to ask a question or get some feedback. And it’s not as obtrusive; they can get back to me when they’re ready — no real interruption to anyone’s day.

Work from somewhere else every once in a while. I try and work from a coffeeshop every week. Even if you’re not working with them or talking to them, it’s just nice to be around people for a change.

Let your family and friends know that just because you do it from home, you do actually work. Sure, I might be able to help someone out if they need something during the day or run a quick errand — but don’t make a habit of it.

Don’t buy too much junk food. Since your kitchen (and whatever kind of food you store in it) is now just a few feet away from you at all times, it’s easy to snack constantly throughout the day. And if you’re like me, I always go for the bad stuff first.

Tory Hobson