Getting started with remote work

Remote Work FAQ for Students & Entry-Level Professionals

While you may be very comfortable using technology to complete academic work and perform a variety of other tasks, including communicating through social media, the idea of formally working remotely for an employer on a consistent, daily basis may be a new experience.

With this in mind, the Center for Career Engagement has provided tips below to assist students who may find themselves in a remote work situation to adapt quickly and be successful in achieving their work and project goals.

I worry about being a procrastinator. If I don’t have a supervisor managing me in person, how can I stay focused and motivated from home?
  • Decide what your daily routine is going to look like.
  • Get up at the same time every day.
  • Create a morning routine that will get you moving and allow you to be punctual every day for your designated start time.
  • Get dressed. You don’t necessarily have to be in business professional clothes, but, as tempting as it may be, don’t work in your pajamas! Make careful choices about your clothes on the days you have virtual meetings and others will see you on the webcam.
  • Set boundaries between work space and personal space. For example, when you take your lunch break, don’t eat at your computer. This gives you time away to eat, hydrate, take a walk in your neighborhood, and recharge for the afternoon.
  • Have a dedicated workspace that has everything you need.
  • Consider office supplies, electrical outlets, good internet connection, a comfortable chair, etc.
  • Make sure your space is conducive to keeping distractions to a minimum - turn off your phone notifications, no social media, no television or streaming while you work, no friends or family wandering in and out, etc.
  • Keep any music to a minimal volume.
  • Decide how you will manage your time. Time management may be the most difficult part because it’s easy to find yourself bouncing between tasks and feeling like you have to respond to every individual email immediately.
  • Use your calendar and block off chunks of time to be focused on a task. Share your calendar and schedule with your supervisor.
  • Determine what technology might be helpful to you (ex., Asana, productivity apps, Google, alarms/notifications, etc.).
  • Set up your daily priorities list. Tackle your most difficult task earlier in the day.
  • Plan ahead, schedule, and hold yourself accountable with self-check-in points on larger projects to ensure you’re on track for your deadline. Highlight those deadlines on your calendar!
  • Schedule in short breaks. You can easily find yourself sitting for long periods of time, and it’s important for your focus and energy that you take reasonable breaks for stretching/movement, hydration, and snacks (if needed).
As a remote worker, what do I need to know about how to communicate properly and professionally with others at the company/organization?
  • Not having face-to-face interaction can be a big adjustment for many people. Since remote work often has flexible hours, it can be confusing as to when it is appropriate or not to reach out to your supervisor or team members.
  • Make sure that you understand the employer’s policies and procedures regarding communication expectations with remote workers.
  • Since different supervisors can manage their teams in a variety of ways, make sure you know your own supervisor’s clear expectations.
  • Ask what the preferred method of communication is with individual team members.
  • Questions will arise, and you will need to know who to go to and how they prefer to communicate so you can get the answers you need and not find yourself at a standstill on a project or task.
  • Get familiar with the employer’s communication technology, such as chat applications, email, and virtual platforms.
  • Be sure you have the most up-to-date version(s) of the technology on your computer, and ask for training on that technology if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Know how to contact the IT team in case of problems or technical issues.
  • Pre-arrange daily check-ins and weekly meetings with your supervisor. Block the times on your calendar for weekly team and other meetings.