BWBacon’s Ultimate Guide To Remote Work For Colorado Technologists
A few months ago, a quietly growing number of folks telecommuting became the reality of thousands of people overnight. As if the magic genie got stuck on a repeating glitch that granted our wildest wishes of staying home every day, let’s just say we got a little more than we asked for. Despite the challenges of the stay-at-home and safer-at-home guidelines here in Colorado, many people have adjusted to working from home on a full time basis.
However, we all need continued support as the pandemic impacts daily life. That’s why we built our Ultimate Guide to Remote Work For Colorado Technologists. The following guide includes everything from how to take care of your mental health on an ongoing basis to building on your professional skill sets from home. Use this guide to help spark new ideas, avenues for productivity, and tips for managing stress and burnout.
Table of Contents for the Ultimate Guide To Remote Work For Colorado Technologists
The Unprecedented Transition to Remote Work
Those who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs, or find new work in the time since the economic shutdown, have seen changes many predicted would take years. According to a study by Stanford, a staggering 42% of the US workforce is now working from home. In this way, the work from era is truly unprecedented.
How Can We Maintain Relationships Through Digital Platforms?
We had the opportunity to talk with tech leaders and hiring managers about how people are keeping their teams connected, supported, and accessible during this time. Though much of the novelty of Zoom has worn off, there are still many ways for leaders to check in with their people. As time progresses, new adaptations will shape workflows that can accommodate everyone.
The Top 3 Ways to Enhance Virtual Connections:
- Allow space: Be in tune with others’ needs and openly ask what format your coworkers would prefer for a meeting or discussion, video, phone call, or otherwise.
- Don’t forget to have fun: We love ideas of all-team wellness challenges, online book clubs, discussing sports, or anything that celebrates people and the connections we share. Social activities uplift us, and we all need them.
- Mean what you say: Transparency has always been important, but more than ever direct and clear communication from leadership, coworkers, and friends has become an expectation. People value honesty, period.
Make Remote Work For You: Best Tips For Sustained Productivity
For many, the first few months of quarantine were a welcome change of pace from the normal hustle of life. Encouraging workforce studies from the second quarter showed huge jumps in productivity across industries. People were, and still are, working earlier and later in the day, blending the lines between work and home.
However, this huge push in productivity that accompanied the transition into remote work was not made to last. By mid-summer, many tech organizations were struggling with burnout, video chat fatigue, and increased stress from isolation and other issues outside the workplace.
Identifying the Symptoms of Burnout Before It Gets Worse
We’ve all felt additional stressors this year, so how can you know if what you’re experiencing is burnout from work? There are a few ways to isolate the signs, and even more ways to help yourself recover and slow down.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have trouble focusing or being productive when you used to be?
- Are you lacking energy or feeling less satisfied with your work?
- Have you become cynical about your job or short with other coworkers?
- Have your sleep levels or exercise habits changed?
Any number of these could mean you are running low on fumes. Fret not, there are ways to navigate burnout and start fresh. May we also add that burnout is completely understandable during this time, and prioritizing yourself is important.
No Better Time To Discover Time Management Tools
Whether due to workforce cuts, demanding project deadlines, or making a full-time job and life happen with kids e-learning, time management is a top priority for everyone this year. We spruced up our post on time management to bring you the best of the best apps that can help you balance a complicated life.
Our Top 4 Picks?
- Trello: Track the progress of your deals and projects in a visually attractive way.
- Evernote: All your notes in one place, amplified.
- Slack: You know Slack, but do you know everything it can do?
- TimeTree: No one works in a bubble, this app is great for small teams and families with busy schedules.
Managing Successful Remote Teams
Back when those managing dispersed teams represented just a fraction of tech companies trying something new, we took a closer look at what that move took. These managers honed in on communication tools, trusting their teams, and leveraging flex work schedules long before COVID-19. Read more on their insights here
Their experiences lead us to the larger conversation at hand now, where do we go from here? While we’re still waiting for public spaces to feel more safe and comfortable, there is plenty of figuring out to do. Many predict remote work will live on in the post-pandemic world. So how can tech leaders continue to realize projects and grow their teams without office spaces?
What’s Working Now For Teams Maintaining Productivity?
If you’re a manager, there are a multitude of ways to boost your team’s engagement as working remotely likely continues into 2021. If you don’t oversee a team, but still feel your own habits changing, consider the ways in which you can alter your daily approach for better results.
Micro-adjustments that make a big impact on productivity:
- Take time to help your coworkers increase their visibility, even if it’s Slacking a simple note on something you think they did well. Encouragement is everything!
- Promote your teams’ wellness by sharing ways you create work-life balance for yourself to inspire others. Joining a workout class? Share the health/wealth and see if others would care to tag along.
- Work on providing crystal clear and consistent communication to everyone. It can be harder to have these conversations without being able to walk up to your manager’s door, but they’re still important.
Supporting Your Mental Health While Working Remotely
The visibility of mental health awareness and mental health care have risen in recent years. Millennials suffer higher rates of anxiety and depression than any generation before them, and this has only been magnified by the pandemic. That’s why taking the time to check in with yourself is crucial for your health and career.
To say COVID-19 has created a shadow hanging over us is an understatement. How we handle the strain is what defines us moving forward. At BWBacon, we prioritize optimism, but that does not mean prioritizing optimism above taking care of ourselves and each other. If you’re having a rough day, or month, explore some of our no-fuss ideas to keep up with mental health.
Why You Should Lean on Tech Tools to Enhance Your Mental Health Care
Technologists and engineers are some of the hardest working people out there, so hear us when we say we understand. While it’s tempting to push through and be everything for everyone, ignoring your own needs will eventually lead to burnout and unhappiness.
We know “self-care” has become a bit of a buzzword associated with extravagance and spa days, but experts insist it has a multi-dimensional meaning. Self-care as an umbrella term encompassing anything that you do intentionally to reduce stress or be kinder to yourself. That’s where leaning on new mental health technology apps and programs comes in. Many of these apps are free, so why not try something that is designed to help you feel more grounded?
Multi-Tasking Gurus: Balancing Parenting and Remote Work
Our final topic addressing stress and burnout is for all the parents out there. If you know, you know. Managing kids and their schedules on top of full-time work is truly a balancing act.
The biggest takeaways from our piece on balancing work with family:
- Know you don’t have to be everything. Self-explanatory, but easier said than done when it comes to parenting. Set aside time that your family knows is just for you, whether for exercise or something else that leaves you feeling refreshed. And no, not to squeeze in extra work.
- Get strategic about your time. Forcing yourself to be productive for hours on end actually has the opposite effect. Planning breaks, time for family meals, and truly focusing on being present will help you get more done when you are working.
- Organize, organize, organize. Have you ever heard the philosophy that we can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things every day? It’s growing in popularity, but basically means rationing your time for what is the most important day by day, sets you up for success.
Running out of ideas to entertain the kids on the weekends or after online learning? Also take a look at our 30 Ideas Besides Netflix To Stay Engaged During Social Distancing!
Investing In Personal And Career Growth In A Virtual World
Have you ever heard of eustress? Less commonly referred to, distress’ unrated counterpart eustress represents intentionally redirecting our most challenging moments into opportunities for change. Here at BWBacon, leaning into the curve of change is what we do best. Check out this antidote on defining distress versus eustress and how it can reframe your thinking here.
Why do we bring up distress and eustress in this context? A part of investing in personal growth is recognizing your current moment of struggle, and deciding to do something about it. Always dreamed about being a data scientist? Tentatively looking at leadership programs but not diving in? Why not now?
Why You Should Find A Mentor Even If You Only Meet Remotely
Successful people will tell you, no one that achieved great things did so alone. One of the marks of successful people is knowing when to seek guidance. Adding additional perspectives to your outlook on life, your career, and the industry in which you work can be a catalyst for your own personal development.
Whether you can seek out a mentor within the company you work for, or have to do some digging outside of day-job hours, we strongly recommend finding a mentor relationship.
Here are a few places to start when searching for a mentor:
- Search your Slack channels: Check out DenverDevs, TechFriends, Leadership Denver, and other Slack networks to start connecting with people in your industry.
- Via LinkedIn: Always seeing someone’s content and events that look interesting? Reaching out to someone over social can be intimidating, but often after the first meeting, it gets easier. You may be surprised how many people want to connect with others and bounce their ideas off of someone new as well.
- From a conference/virtual meeting: Super engaged by someone’s presentation on a larger learning day or virtual event? Reach out to the organizers and get the information of the person that inspired you. You never know, mentorship has many benefits for the mentor and mentee, so it’s worth a shot to ask.
- Want to be a mentor? The post below contains more information on how to become a mentor as well.
How to Use Virtual Learning To Stand Out When Working Remotely
Another avenue for growth is pursuing virtual learning opportunities. Think about how much time you spent in your car traveling to and from the office. Now put that time (an hour? more?) to good use in expanding your skills. Besides, taking the initiative to self-improve is a great way to get noticed by your manager and teammates.
In terms of tech, the internet is your oyster to learn new coding and technology skills. Looking for opportunities that align with a future career in leadership or managing a bigger tech team? Colorado in particular is home to incredible, life-changing leadership programs like Leadership Denver.
How The Remote Work Era can be a Catalyst in Becoming a Contractor
For many working in the Denver tech industry, the pandemic offers an opportunity to examine the trajectory of one’s career. Those in struggling industries are seeing the writing on the walls, and making back-up plans.
Wherever you stand, we have seen an increase in candidates who are interested in contract work. Some are seeking heightened independence, autonomy, and choice when it comes to what projects they work on. Others are looking at an uncertain economy and researching available options in case anything changes in their current situation.
The Nitty-Gritty: 1099 vs W2 Classifications
Looking for more detailed information on how contractors versus full-time employees are classified for tax purposes? If you’re considering becoming a contractor, understanding your tax responsibilities is key.
How Relationships are Changing and Looking into the Post-Pandemic Lens
Remote work company culture is changing how we view office relationships. Gone are team lunches and Friday afternoon happy hours, and people are feeling the loss of this social outlet. While remote work is wonderfully convenient and is essential for public safety during this time, we have heard from many people missing interacting and collaborating at the office.
According to feedback from the Denver tech community, these three aspects reveal the change, not loss of company culture and camaraderie:
- Increased flexibility helps everyone. Employees are happier with more autonomy and freedom of schedule overall, even if they hope the office and in-person events will return down the road.
- Remote culture is redefining professionalism. We see a positive change and fluctuation in the formality of business meetings, from attire to candor of conversation.
- We need to make time for the virtual “office hallway.” Our interactions with coworkers may be more intentional and planned these days, but incorporating that social aspect into your day is part of what makes work fun and rewarding.
The Future of Team Building in a Post-Pandemic Workplace
Whether you work for a big or small company, a lot of folks are missing their teams right now. Us included! Team bonding activities may be more challenging to plan, but neglecting it all together can make people feel like they’re working in bubbles.
If your company is playing it safe and hosting no in-person events, consider all the virtual possibilities. A shift in the seasons means there will be new wine-tasting events, fall and winter cooking classes, movies coming out, and other ideas. One of our clients was planning an all team talent show, for folks to share their passions and talents outside of work, what a great idea!
Our Predictions for How Remote Work Will Change the Future
At the end of the day, extended remote work impacts everyone differently. If you’re happy as a clam, consider what else you could do to grow professionally, or help mentor others. If you’re struggling to balance it all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Citing another cliche of 2020, we’re all in this together.
To what extent will the work from home era change business and the tech industry moving forward? This question is difficult to answer, but we are already witnessing some of the shifts unfold before us. If you have any questions regarding the Ultimate Guide to Remote Work for Colorado Technologists, do not hesitate to reach out to our team and ask!
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!