One of the most prolific effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that many people have been forced to start working remotely from home. Whilst the concept of working from home may appeal to a lot of people it comes with its benefits and challenges. One has more freedom but there can also be an increase in distraction. Either way currently many of us don’t have a choice when it comes to working from home at the moment so here are some tips to give you that edge.
- Set Up a Workspace that Works for you
Giving yourself a specific workspace allows you to limit distractions and increase productivity. The advantage for you is that you can choose whatever space you prefer for this.
- Communicate Effectively
Effective communication with your team is vital. Make use of instant messaging, video conferencing and screen share apps to aid you in this regard, we advise looking at Slack.
- Establish Healthy Boundaries
Creating and maintaining a work routine is vital. Set yourself times where you will be working and when you will be “clocked out”. This will prevent you from burning out. Try and incorporate breaks for food and hydration as well as exercise to keep your mind and body healthy.
- Embrace Online Meetings
Whilst it offers a very different dynamic to a meeting in-person, online meetings are vital and in many cases the only way one can effectively ‘meet’ with colleagues or clients. Embrace them but prepare accordingly, creating yourself a to-do list of important bullet points to navigate a meeting should help in this regard.
- Record your Meetings
Video conferencing programs like Zoom allow you to record your meetings. This is a great tool to allow yourself to look back on previous discussions and additionally provides you with a level of protection especially when it comes to client meetings.
- Clarify Expectations for the Team
For a manager, your team must be clearly briefed on their work expectations while they work remotely. Systems should be put in place for team contact, deliverables and what their expected work hours need to be. Some roles may not require specific work hours allowing staff to work when it suits them but then set dates on deliverables should be agreed upon.
- Take Scheduled Breaks
Overworking yourself affects your mental and physical health. Plan out and keep to scheduled breaks throughout the day, an hour for lunch or a quick walk all help recharge your battery.
- Pay Attention to Ergonomics
When one is working from home ergonomics are usually forgotten. When setting up your workspace ensure your chair offers sufficient back support and your screen is at the right height to avoid slouching.
- Bring the Team Together
Finding a social activity to do as a team whether in person or not is a good idea. It maintains the personal relationships between team members and increases synergy when working together.
- Utilize a White Noise Machine for Distractions
In some cases, home may not be as peaceful as one thinks it is. Kid’s playing, dogs barking, traffic and construction work in the neighbourhood. Look at getting yourself a white noise machine or throw on some background music to minimise those distractions.
- Stay On Track of Project Progress
By making use of project trackers like Asana or Trello you and your team can stay on top of deadlines and progress being made on work. It’s vital when working remotely as contact is limited otherwise.
- Create a System for Sharing Documents
There are many easy to use file-sharing systems available, Google Drive or Dropbox are extremely useful to quickly move documents between your team and clients.
- Stay Aligned with Company Culture
During weekly meetings try to ensure time is given to keeping company culture alive. Introducing time to chat as a group about what’s happening in each other’s lives and playing a quick game keeps things fun and increases team productivity.
- Continue to Dress and Groom Professionally
In adding to keeping a specific daily schedule don’t neglect to shower and getting dressed every morning. Doing so keeps one motivated and productive.
- Use Video, Even if it’s Uncomfortable
Most people shy away from video chat, it’s completely normal. But don’t discount the value of face-to-face interaction. When working remotely the importance of this is much greater than you would think.
- Keep Up with Casual Communication Habits
One of the biggest things that will be naturally lacking by working remotely is missing out on the casual conversation that one will have with your colleagues while in the office. Keep in touch with your colleagues using chat programs like WhatsApp and Slack.
- Respond Promptly to Clients and Employees
With a large number of distractions at home, it can be difficult to remain focused. Thus it’s very important to make sure clients and colleagues are responded to promptly this shows you are still engaged whether in the office or working remotely.
- Resolve Issues with a Phone Call or Video Chat
Issues will always present themselves no matter how on the ball we are. When encountering a problem don’t shy away from jumping on the phone or into a video conference. “Face-to-Face” conversation will always help solve issues quicker.
- Cut Yourself Some Slack
With a shift in your workspace and the cause of this being the COVID-19 pandemic everyone is naturally more stressed and anxious. Don’t beat yourself up about it, some days will be easier than others. Just remember the tips from this article and always work towards a better state.
- Ask for Feedback on your Remote Work
Lastly working remotely does make getting feedback from colleagues or superiors harder. Don’t be shy about asking for it. Getting feedback from others on your work is vital to improving it.