Remote Work Ethics: What You Need to Know

Remote working, and its various iterations such as telecommuting and working from home, has become popular of late. The number of employees who engage in remote work increased by 30 percent during the last decade.

This growth has largely to do with recent improvements in technology. However, remote work entails good work ethics.

Remote workers, while not physically interacting with workmates, are still expected to coordinate with them on a regular basis and to turn out quality work.

It’s a misconception that because employees work in their own homes, they have no work ethics to abide by.

What is Work Ethic?

Work ethic is a principle hinged on diligence and the belief that this diligence is a good indicator of an individual’s character.

An employee who believes in having good work ethic also believes that working hard is a good quality. Work ethic is also one of the major factors that employers also look out for during the hiring process.

Given the nature of remote work, it is important that an employee’s personality characteristics are appropriate in respect to remote work ethics and job responsibility.

A paper by Robinson et.al highlights the ethics and responsibilities necessary for telecommuting. Remote workers must be disciplined workers and must be able to prove that they are such.

For a venture to succeed, remote workers must also understand the nature of the work they will performing and what it entails.  They should be able to work on the tasks independently, with little to no supervision.

With the nature of remote work removing the need for regular face-to-face meetings, remote employees, as well as their employers and managers, need to be good communicators.

They must make the best use of phone/video calls, emails, and other forms of virtual communication to maintain effective communication lines.

The Benefits of Working Remotely

We know that remote work has advantages for both employees and employers. Here are some of them:

Increased productivity

Let’s dispel the misconception that remote workers are lazy. One survey shares that 77 percent of workers report that remote work increases employee productivity.

While an additional 23 percent were willing to put in more work hours to do more work. Remote workers also scale high on employee engagement, with 9 percent reporting being more engaged in their work.

Savings

Employers and employees both save money. Businesses save on real estate costs and their employees save on expenses such as gas, commutes, and food.

Less turnover

Employee turnover is a persistent problem that can become expensive and frustrating. With remote work, 95 percent of employers agree that it has positively impacted employee retention.

Cultivating Remote Work Ethics Through Habit

Good work ethics can be applied whether or not an employee works remotely. Cultivating these habits is a good way to maintain good employee performance through good work ethics.

Establishing your daily work schedule

Establishing and sticking to your schedule will help you stay on track. A schedule gives your remote work a sense of structure and consistency, especially when you reinforce your own schedule yourself. This also lets your workmates know when you’re available for work.

Minimizing distractions

Distractions can be plenty if you’re working at home. You can minimize or avoid distractions by having a dedicated workspace, the kind that you find is conducive and inspiring for work. Avoid having items that can pull you away from dedicated work time around, such unfinished chores.

Staying connected

Given the nature of remote work, there is an urgent need for effective communication. Check in regularly with your workmates. Let them know if you have concerns or questions, and make it a habit to provide updates on the status of any pending work.

The key is to stay connected and to keep in mind that you need to be effective, thorough, and reliable when communicating.

Delivering results

There is a higher need to deliver consistent results with remote work because nobody sees you and they can’t see if you’re working, unlike office-based counterparts who are “visible.”

However, keep in mind that visibility doesn’t always equate with productivity.  Remote worker should focus on getting things done.

Practicing punctuality

If your job requires you to virtually punch in/out, make sure to sign in earlier or on time.

Being mindful of deadlines

One way to show solid work ethic is to be mindful of deadlines. If you find it difficult to finish the task on time, let the appropriate person know. This shows that you are focused, and you value your work quality.

Improving Your Work Ethic

Sometimes, you might feel uninspired or think you’ve lost your drive, leading you to slip up in your work ethics. Here are some things that you can do to realign your perspectives:

Identify what you love about your job and what you don’t

Reassess what aspects of your job you thoroughly enjoy and what aspects negatively affect your daily progress. Adjust your daily schedule where you can to accommodate the aspects that you like and dislike.

For example, you could try starting your workday by tackling the most challenging problems first. This allows you to tackle the easier tasks during hours when you have lower energy.

Stay active

Remote work can entail hours of sitting down at your desk. Physical activity is beneficial and can give you a healthier state of mind.

Try setting alarms to remind you to get up and stretch or even go for a quick walk.

Get into the habit of unplugging after your workday

Remote workers might find unplugging from their jobs challenging. Still, unplugging after a workday is crucial if you want to recharge and be ready to face the next day of work.

This means not answering non-emergency calls or messages, and even emails.

Try changing your workplace or workstation

Sometimes all you need to reset your remote work ethic is a change of scenery. Try finding alternative but affordable venues that you can go to if you’re averse to the idea of working at home every day.

More productivity means a better working relationship

The benefits of being a productive worker should be enough incentive for you to reset your remote work ethic. Productivity can establish a better working relationship with your employer, which can lead to more responsibilities through trust.

For the employees, this means they may enjoy more freedom in terms of deadlines and how they choose to handle the work given.

Keep an eye out for new gigs

If all else fails, keep an eye out for new jobs. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to switch fields.

If you can, try to work out an option with your managers or the HR for a change in position. You might find this having a positive impact in resetting your work ethic.

Maintaining Good Remote Work Ethics

Remember that “remote” work doesn’t mean “disconnected” work. We have the means to stay connected even if we aren’t in a physical office setting.

Remote workers still need to practice and maintain good work ethics like self-motivation, adaptability, responsibility, and discipline. If you feel like you’ve become uninspired or unmotivated, take the time to reassess your perspectives and current work ethics.