8 Things You Need to Know if You Are an Engineer Working Remotely

 Remote Engineer's Home Officesource: stocksnap

There has been a shift in the working world. Work hours are no longer 9-5, people no longer sit in cubicles and terms like “WFH” and “telecommuting” are being repeated on a daily basis. Working professionals are demanding a work life balance that means flexibility to work from outside the confines of the office walls. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, over 35% of professional/business people did some or all work from home.

Working from home offers great perks and requires a delicate balance of discipline and interpersonal skills. It also requires a little more patience and coordination than you may have to use when collaborating with your colleagues in person. If you are an engineer, who works remotely and with a team, you may require additional social, collaborative, and communication skills.

8 Things You Need to Know if you are an engineer who works remotely

1. Others Can’t Do Their Jobs Until You’ve Done Yours.

We all know that engineering is the hub from which the rest of the departmental spokes are able to deliver. (Operations cannot build without engineering’s designs. Without a product, sales cannot sell and marketing cannot market.) When product management, an end-user or your manager requests your assistance, you have to deliver. Their job rides on you doing yours. In short, the sooner you complete your job the quicker every one else achieve their goals. Be mindful, your timely response is more important when you work remotely than it is when you work in the office. If you are not able to deliver on time your work ethics, commitment and time management skills may come into question and may results in management requiring that you work IN the office.

2. Manage Expectations.

Some people may think that, because you’re at home, you have more time to spend working , or that you spend less time working. Either way, people may place more demands on you and make more requests than you know what to do with. Of course, this is all part of managing expectations. Make sure you have a complete understanding of what is expected from you for each deliverable. Ask questions; understand the specifications and the timeline. If your workload is too full, communicate that early. Speak to your manager about your workload and make sure that both you and your manager agree on your priorities?

3. Communicate Clearly.

This coincides with Manage Expectations. Make sure that you provide status updates, express concerns, and communicate roadblocks. If you don’t tell anyone what is going on with your project they will assume everything is going well and will be delivered on time.

 Remote Engineer's Workstation
source: stocksnap

4. Beware of, and Manage Jealous Co-workers

There are bound to be some coworkers who don’t like the concept of working remotely or are jealous of your working situation. They may have to rise wake up at 5:00 am and drive an hour in traffic to get to work by 8:00. While you can simply roll out of bed, slip on a t-shirt and jeans and be at your computer with coffee in hand in less than 10 minutes . Managing jealous coworkers can be tricky. Letting their jealousy linger can disrupt productivity and make for uncomfortable engagements.

You may need to spend a little extra time and effort on a relationship with a jealous coworker. Make sure you are compassionate of others routines and commute. Engage in regular communication to show that you are in fact working. Be available and responsive via phone, email, chat, etc. Make sure you are focused and can work without interruptions when on a phone call. Don’t brag about how you slept in or showered between your noon and 1:00 conference call.

5. Out of Sight doesn’t have to mean Out of Mind.

Because you aren’t physically in the office, some coworkers may forget you are part of the team This may results in being left out of certain conversations and meetings. Engage an office ally; this is someone who is in your department, on your team or working on the same project and will make sure you are included in conversations. This person will inform you of “water cooler” conversations and make sure you are invited to relevant meetings. This person is your local representative.  That being said, don’t be angry if you are not included in a meeting or two. And if you are not included, and do find out, simply request to be included next time. Don’t make a big deal out of it. And if you can, be present for corporate, departmental and team events and activities.

 

 Remote Engineer's Brainstorm - paper and pen
source: stocksnap

 

6. Be Disciplined.

Working from home is a definite treat, but it comes with big demands: you must be disciplined. It’s easy to get distracted and put things off until later if you are working in a silo. Make sure you manage your priorities, attend meetings and show up on time, respond in a timely fashion and give your complete attention when engaging with others.

7. Have the right tools for the job.

Make sure you are set up for success. Firewalls, virtual networks, network drives, etc. may be required for your line of work. Check access each at the beginning of each day to make sure you can access the resources you need to perform your job. If you don’t have access report it early so that you don’t waste an entire day waiting for someone to provide you with a new credentials or an access key. Make sure you have a home network that is fast and reliable and that your equipment is updated and in good repair. The excuse that I couldn’t access the shared drive because my password expired won’t work in the office and shouldn’t work from home either.

 EmbEng-4

 Remote office

 

                                             Remote Engineer's Productiivitysource: stocksnap

8. Be Reliable.

As a remote worker and engineer, reliability is one of the top qualities you must possess. Working away from the office means that your superiors are relying on you to get your work done without supervision, reminders, or check-ins. Meeting deadlines, responding to emails in a timely fashion, picking up phone calls, and popping in when asked are as important as doing your actual work.

Working as a remote engineer isn't as easy as it sounds. It requires that you juggle a little more than just tasks. You are your own IT support, your own personal assistant, manager, and motivator. If you are unsure about working remotely, speak to your boss or HR for advice. For more on working as a remote engineer, go here.

 

For those who engineering embedded systems remotely, we have the tools for running evaluations and taking measurements, and easily sharing and analyzing that data with your clients and your peers - wherever you are.  Have any questions?  Feel free to email us at sales@totalphase.com.

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