letter #5: podcast, new name, productivity hacks!

Ooop! I’ve changed the newsletter name. Expect 1 letter weekly on a few different topics as you’ll see highlighted below. If there’s anything you want to see or don’t want to see out of this newsletter, hit “reply” and lay it on me.

You’ll be seeing more about remote work, entrepreneurship via my podcast, tech, transitioning careers, hiring, jobs and psychology. Keep reading for all the good stuff.

Don’t Crush It Alone (The Podcast)

Today I released Season 2 of the podcast called, “The Founders Handbook”.

On the show today I brought on Jaap Vergote to chat about why you should sell it before you make it. It’s all about the idea of validating your idea by talking to people before you pour in money, time and resources into building a product.

This isn’t the last time we’ll hear from Jaap, he’ll be back next week with another lesson for founders.

Check out the episode

At its core, what is remote work? What does it mean to work from home?

I shared this last letter but I wanted to share it again. It’s really important to me to educate folks on remote work and ensuring the health of the team stays intact even though teams are not physically close. Read the post to understand what remote work or working from home really means.

Read post

If you found it helpful share it with friends, co-workers, and strangers.

Land yourself a job

👋 I’m gathering job seekers from underrepresented backgrounds, submit your profile here. Your profile will make it onto a job board for recruiters to connect with diverse technical talent.

Productivity hacks

Use accountability as your productivity hack.

  • Join me every week for 45 minutes of solid work time. Bring your project, blog post, research plan or task that you’ve been putting off. Visit this link to join.


If you read this far (thank you), make sure to subscribe to the weekly letters to stay notified.

Follow me on Twitter or follow my website to learn more about remote work, entrepreneurship, tech, psychology and coding.

irma.

What is remote work?

Types of remote work

You may know of remote work in a few different ways, let’s cover them:

1. Telecommute or telecommuting: In the 1990s, this was the term used and brought to the media by way of pop culture. During this time mottos around telecommuting started to emerge as well, for example, “Work is something you do, not something you travel to.”

2.Digital nomad: Someone who works from their computer and re-locates every so often to travel, explore and run their business from literally anywhere in the world.

3. Work from home (WFH): Still popularly used today as an alternative describing that you’re taking a WFH day or that you have a WFH job.

4. Remote work: The all-encompassing and latest trending term to describe not working from a physical office.

Misconceptions


Let’s say all you’ve ever seen are people working from traditional office environments, warehouses, taxi cabs, etc. and this is all you’ve ever experienced as an active member of the workforce. Going from that to then learning about working from home can be extremely jarring. There’s a big misconception that to do great work you have to be physically close to your boss, your co-workers and, even your customers. But as we become more and more distributed through social media and the access of the online resources and tools the more it starts to make sense why and how working remotely is the new norm.

This is remote work

Working remote, working from home is similar to working from an office. All that changes is now there is a laptop in front of you, you’re working from your home desk, and you talk and meet with your co-workers via virtual tools. As long as you have a decent WiFi connection, headphones and a comfy chair you are set. Oh! And you probably want to make sure you’re a stellar communicator.

63% of US companies now have remote workers, according to a 2018 Upwork Study


Taking up a remote job means that there’s no commute to your companies office, instead it’s a commute from your bed to your desk. Which is 10x better. It also offers freedom for professionals to work at their most productive hours and from any setting they please that allows them to execute their work successfully.


I don’t want anyone to think that remote work is slacking off, that it’s for introverts or people that can’t be socially present, that it’s easy or that anyone can do it. All of these are false. Working remote in my opinion is sometimes harder than working in an office. In an office you’re privileged with water cooler talks, company happy hours, walking to grab coffee with your co-worker, small talk riding the elevator to your office, the in person communication is a given. With remote work, we’re isolated. We have to put in the extra effort and be proactive when it comes to communication and building relationships. Remote work isn’t for everyone.


At the end of the day working from an office or working from home, we’re still getting work done and we’re still delivering outcomes while also keeping our mental health, engagement and, productivity in a healthy state.
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If you read this far (thank you), here’s how I can help you work towards forming or maintaining a fully remote team. I can also help in finding you a remote job.

Follow me on Twitter or follow my website to learn more about remote work, tech, psychology and coding.


Irma

3 Tips for On-boarding Remote Employees

Okay, so not only is it difficult to hire remote employees but it’s even harder to onboard them. Ideally, if your company can afford it it’s substantially easier to have an offsite to onboard the new hire in person but that’s not super realistic and never expected.

So, let’s talk about the alternative way to onboard a remote employee - asynchronously.

Set them up with essentials before their start date

This one is big. With in-office employees it’s a little simpler since they can fill out paperwork in your office, they can ask all the questions face to face and all that. But when on-boarding a remote new hire it’s mostly all asynchronous.

Most companies send over a ton of emails over several days during the first week with new account logins, invites, intros, payroll info, 401(k) jargon. It’s a lot. And all of that can get easily lost. And again, these all come in during the first week.

So, to all HR managers out there, set up your new hires with everything they need before their start date. This may vary per company but if you’re able to set up your new hire with their preferred equipment (laptop, table, headphones, etc.) at least 1 week before their start date. If there’s any information or logins they can start getting access to at least 2-3 days before their start date that is always helpful. This allows for time to ask questions and less of a rush on the first day to get the new hire set up perfectly.

Pair them with 1 or 2 team members as an “on-boarding buddy”

I’ve seen several companies and mainly startups pick up pairing new hires with a buddy. This can make transitions easier and allow the new hire to feel part of the team from the get-go.

Pick an employee that has been with the company for 6 months to 1 year and provide them an outline of what they should be reviewing with the new hire, these can include communication norms, Slack tips, documentation processes, policies, and more. It also gives a way for the new hire to not feel isolation having someone they can freely talk to with.

Provide them with an on-boarding checklist

This is a must! Emails, chats, etc. can get tricky with on-boarding especially with all the new people and messages the new hire will be receiving.

So, set up a template in Google Docs that has a short checklist of the high priority items the new hire can start checking off in the first 2 weeks.

Here’s a list of a few items your on-boarding checklist can include:

[X] Accepted Slack Invite

[X] Set up Slack profile and added role, location, headshot

[X] Scheduled 3 virtual chats with different team members

If you need specific help with on-boarding, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Check out my blog


About Me

My name is Irma Mesa. I’m a Product Manager in the ed-tech space and I love love love talking to and meeting new people. I’ve learned a ton through my years being in tech, at times being the only woman on a team, working remote and having incredible mentors. Now, I’m paying it forward.

I run remote consulting for companies and teams of all sizes, email me if you’re interested. And most recently inspired by Ali Spittel I’ve started running office hours, check it out here.

Talk soon.

Irma

Hacks to find a remote developer job

I’ll be covering 2 big topics to help you find and land your next Remote Engineering role. The first is understanding how to best showcase that you’re open and ready to work in a remote work environment. Secondly, I’ll show you a few sites that have truly worked for friends in the past to find and at least get an interview for a remote role.

Building and starting to showcase your remote experience

Here are few ways to spin remote work experience and showcase it if you’re applying for a job that requires remote experience:

  1. You have worked with a remote team before - this one is obvious. If you have this experience you’ll probably be solid from the remote work front if a company requires it. This can be in the form of a full-time role or a contract gig where you were not in the same physical space as the rest of the team.

  2. Your local company has let you work from home a few days a week - this is remote work experience right here! Working from home 2-3 times a week while the rest of your team either remains in the office or is similarly working remote, you still had to encounter a lot of the work style, communications, and asynchronous responsibilities as a full-time remote worker.

  3. You’ve developed a product with a team that was spread across timezones - another great way to spin remote work. Communicating and developing a product in a non-physical space is difficult and if you’ve done this before you have some of the chops to say that you have remote work experience.

Start with these 3 Remote Job sites

  • WeWorkRemotely -We Work Remotely is the largest remote work community in the world. With over 2.5M monthly visitors, WWR is the #1 destination to find and list incredible remote jobs.

  • Remoteok - The biggest remote job board on the web with over 25,000 remote work positions for digital nomads, remote workers and people who work from home.

  • AngelList - AngelList is where the world meets startups. Find a great startup job, invest in a startup, or raise money.

What to look out for while looking at job descriptions?

These are a few core things you should look out for:

  1. Product - ensure that you have some interest in the product and users the company targets. You don’t want to lose interest after landing the job and end up quitting because of it.

  2. Soft skills - we know that the hard skills are pretty straightforward but take a look at the soft skills mentioned in job descriptions. It can truly help with crafting your resume, cover letter, introduction to mention a few of the soft skills the company is on the search for.

  3. Remote experience - if a company doesn’t have

MUST HAVE REMOTE WORK EXPERIENCE

in their job description, this could mean it’s not a top priority. So, if you’re coming from a background with little remote work exposure these are good roles to look out for as you may have a higher chance of getting an interview even though you have no remote work experience.

Good luck! If you need specific help, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Read full blog post


About Me

My name is Irma Mesa. I’m a Product Manager in the ed-tech space and I love love love talking to and meeting new people. I’ve learned a ton through my years being in tech, at times being the only woman on a team, working remote and having incredible mentors. Now, I’m paying it forward.

I run remote consulting for companies and teams of all sizes, email me if you’re interested. And most recently inspired by Ali Spittel I’ve started running office hours, check it out here.

Talk soon.

Irma

Why is remote work so hot right now?

A lot of it has to do with media amplifying the unrealistic dimensions of remote work. You’ve seen it. Pictures of a man or woman with a sun hat sprawled on a hammock in some island with clear blue water and palm trees in the distance.

Reality check! That’s not what the majority of remote workers work life looks like. I digress.

Here are 3 main reasons why remote work is trending:

  1. People crave flexibility. And when I say people, the majority of folks are millennials. We want to work on our terms and on our time. This “want” ranges from working flexible hours to working from anywhere in the world. It’s really nice to travel and work.

  2. No commute. Thousands of people trek to work or drive to work taking them anywhere from 30 mins to 1 hour. And that’s just 1 way. I remember when I was commuting, I was spending 20 hours per week on my commute to and from my workplace. It’s no joke. It’s expensive and just feels like wasted time. Now, with time being so valuable lots of folks want to take their time back and working remote with no commute other than from your bed to your desk is becoming a huge reason why remote work is trending.

  3. I’d like to leave this last reason to you. If you’re new or veteran to the remote work space, what’s 1 reason for its trending nature at this point in time? What pulls you in to want to work remote?

Check this out

A few months ago for a Product Hunt challenge I created a simple product that would allow any remote worker come in and find a job, resource or productivity item that would help them do their job better.

I gathered a lot of these from my own experience plus through speaking with other remote workers.

Check it out here and bookmark it for future use!

Thanks

Thank you for reading. Subscribe for more updates and for my upcoming email course.

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