How I work with a remote team

I have been working with a team based in overseas for almost 2 years.

They stumbled on my work and approached me for a project they were about to get underway. I had freelanced before but had not worked for someone in a long term scale. It was literally about becoming an employee of a company that is situated on the other side of the planet.

I wasn't 100% convinced about the idea at first. Back then, remote working was still a new concept to most people and what makes it even worse, among 10 team members, I was the only one to work remotely. 
I need time to think. In the end, I decided to give it a go given that it was an exciting project and they seemed like a nice team.

Looking back 2 years from now, I don't regret that I took that offer. Being able to work when you can be most productive and just having that flexibility throughout the day has been simply amazing. It was also clear that I was producing better quality work. 

One of the challenges we had was that we were in a different time zone and there was almost no time overlap during the normal working hours (9 to 5). Their 9am was my 7pm. So, by the time they're in the office, I would be eating my dinner. I could try to fit in their 9 to 5 but I needed to think long term. I could burn myself being a night owl. Instead I chose to schedule my day creatively by getting the most of work done during the day and meet the team in the evening for a feedback session. Fortunately, things worked out great. There were times where things needed a quick turnaround that made me stay up until 2 am but it was rarely the case.

 

It's about Trust


I often get questions like this: how can you establish such a relationship with someone you've never met in person? My straight answer to that is "keep delivering good work". If you take pride in your work and constantly show up with good work, people will start trusting you. It's about whether you're adding any value to that business. It's less about reporting every single detail of contribution. If your manager is the type who likes to micromanage, remote working wouldn't be the most efficient form of working. It should be great if your company trusts you and there are less rules as a result of that. Knowing that you are being trusted will make you do the best work.
 

Showing initiative


You probably have heard this before: take ownership with your work.
It's great if you are keeping yourself busy all the time, but it's also important that you don't just wait
for tasks to roll in. Your team will love you even more if you are the one who can take initiative, too.
If you think you're lacking on that skill, you can improve it by having yourself a side project. It will not only help you determine what need to be done but will also help you build an empathetic understanding of one another's expertise.

 

There has been no better time to work remotely with all the great tools available and there are more companies adapting this working style. Remote working is two sided like everything else, but at least for me it has been more good than bad.