Support for working remotely

Remote workers and organizations

Ideas for improving conditions for Tor remote workers:

  • Have at least one trusted friend at work—studies correlate this to worker happiness and decreased turnover
  • It’s good to work at a cafe or co-working space or co-work with a friend
  • SAD lights work for people who lack adequate exposure to natural light (whether or not they have a SAD diagnosis)
  • Use an app that browns out your screen so that you aren’t kept awake by a blue computer screen (RedShift or Flux)
  • Don’t work in the dark
  • Disconnect from your devices before bed
  • Isolate your office from the rest of your house—two different zones: work and life
  • Make boundaries for family and housemates: “I’m working until 5 pm, then can go to the store with you”
  • Meals should be events for socializing and food—don’t eat while watching YouTube videos
  • Have a nice office set up—a nice desk, chair, etc.
  • Slumping on the sofa is bad for your body in general and can lead to repetitive stress injury
  • Build psychological support into work teams (works for one of our allies)
  • Have an “office spouse” - someone you can talk with during the day, even if person is non-Tor
  • Over communicating is a best practice for remote workers - though discouraged in Tor culture in favor of efficiency
  • Identify and tell Tor about the best channel to reach you in an emergency—then you can turn off other channels and relax, knowing that if something is on fire, you will get the information. (An antidote to monitoring all channels 24/7.)
  • It helps if Tor leaders model healthy work/life behavior
  • Access to a system for referrals to legal help or psychological support (one person said he worked at a place that provided a one-stop help line that would even help him find a worker to fix his plumbing).
  • Reflect and analyze your behavior and make a plan to actively counter isolation

Good Aspects of Remote Work:

(not everyone experienced these; this was a brainstorm)*

  • Time with family, friends, and pets - telecommuting can help build family relationships
  • No commuting, just computing
  • Distributed load sharing
  • Community friendliness at all hours - a person in New York can easily share ideas with someone in Berlin
  • User questions can be answered at many times of day or night because it’s work time for someone at Tor most of the day or night
  • Work can happen across a wide span of hours
  • Workers can live in many places and can find a place to live within their budget
  • It’s fun to see people you know online in real life :)
  • Comfort control - Your own chair, etc.
  • You can avoid people you don’t like
  • You can pick communication channels that work for you
  • A funder said that he finds it easy to reach us to ask questions because we are accessible

Negative Aspects of Remote Work:

(not everyone experienced these; this was a brainstorm)

  • It’s easy to work too much
  • Isolation
  • Time zone coordination for meetings can be a big challenge or even impossible
  • Circadian rhythm disruption can lead to sleep problems and depression
  • Asynchronous communication can mean dropped balls
  • Lack of external structure
  • Self-motivation and discipline can be a challenge
  • Pooled resources are fewer
  • You may be never off the clock
  • Hard to get family and friends out of your hair when you need to work
  • Lack of mental health support for psychological challenges inherent in Tor work and remote work
  • No in-person tech support
  • Bad onboarding can be exacerbated by remote work and can lead to communication problems and other issues
  • Mentorship can be more difficult or nonexistent
Last modified 3 years ago Last modified on Mar 10, 2016, 8:20:20 PM