Best Practices For The Remote Worker (Or, How To Avoid Being Creepy)

Best Practices For The Remote Worker (Or, How To Avoid Being Creepy)

I stopped going into an office every day 18 years ago, so I may be a bit of a pioneer in the field of remote working. At least that’s what I tell everyone because saying I’m lazy and anti-social just doesn’t have the impact I want.

I was fortunate enough to work for a company that was definitely on the cutting edge of working with virtual teams around the world. And, while that company has since turned into a behemoth monster that could rival government entities in its utter lack of innovation, I still am loyal because they made my slacker lifestyle possible.

(That company is Microsoft, in case any of you are neophytes in my universe.)

If you are thinking of becoming a Remote Worker, otherwise known as “self-imposed shut-in”, then you need to know the reality. Because, boy, it can get pretty ugly.

You probably have a picture in your mind that looks something like this:

 This well-coifed go-getter is taking no prisoners from his sunny,
IKEA-outfitted home office!! Is that the Grundälstŭp desk? Man, this guy is rockin’ it!

But this is where you may end up if you aren’t careful.

 This young man, fresh out of college, is currently programming the
next release of the hottest new app but he will never get a date again.

So, I feel like I should pass some of my lessons and observations along to the next generation of self-starters, social misfits and multi-taskers. Take heed, people. It can all be a slippery slope.

Try to take a shower at least every other day if for no other reason than to keep your sheets clean. Plus, at some point or another all of us have to make an occasional trip to the mother ship, be it your company or a client. Consider taking a shower a fire drill for when you need to be in front of people who will judge you.

Always look as if you are about to go on a run or are just finishing with one, neither of which is usually true.This is a way to dress only half a step beyond pajamas. It’s a cheat, to be sure. But, you never know, maybe you actually will go for a run…..I know, that was silly. You aren’t going for a run.

Attempt to have some sort of exchange in person with other humanoids, even if it’s just the cable guy. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can forget how to speak and interact in a real-world setting. You don’t want people to think you have a meth lab in your basement.

On the flip side, don’t scare the mailman by talking his ear off and asking him to come in for a beer. He may think you have some sort of human skin factory in your spare bedroom and run screaming. And, there is the added risk you won’t receive your unemployment checks.

Avoid video conferences. Period. But, if you must do it, set up your environment as if you are about to shoot Kathy Bates in a sex scene. Some Vaseline on the lens does wonders.

Add a small fan to create a windswept look.

Finally, the perfect camera angle is key to ensure they don’t see that you have only dirty underwear on from the waist down.

I took longer to get ready for my first video conference than I did for my wedding.

Go for something along these lines. 

Try not to get too distracted. This is a really tough one to master. Between porn and cat videos, you can sink yourself quickly. If you must, create a schedule around your internet trolling. But, if people can view your schedule, be sure to use code words.

For instance, instead of 11:00-11:30 – Troll Web for porn, try 11:00-11:30 – Research SEO for women’s issues.

Finally, the holy grail of remote working – get thee to the Coffice.  Having a place to work remotely from your remote job is imperative and has saved many lives. You can then call in sick to your home office and actually work at a super groovy coffee shop instead, thereby taking advantage of yourself and your lax people management style.

I cannot impress upon you that a change of scenery could save your life. And ensure you don’t scare your UPS driver half to death.

Go forth now, and conquer.

6 Responses »

  1. Well I was thinking of working remotely until you warned me about being caught wearing dirty underwear. If I can’t work at home in the nude, what’s the POINT, I ask you?

    • Oh, I completely approve of dirty underwear and working naked. Just have to be crafty if you are on a video conference. Other than that, let ‘er rip!

  2. I keep telling people (my boss in particular) that my morale would improve greatly if I could work with my dogs in attendance and me in my tshirt & underwear on my couch. I keep getting blank stares. They just don’t get me! You get it!

  3. Being a remote worker would be awesome in my field. I’m an ultrasound tech. Remote surgery is being done, so I don’t see remote sonography being too hard to fathom. Control the probe from a joystick in the comfort of my own home ( bed!). No more smelling stinky patients, no more lifting dead weight! My nose and wrists rejoice!

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