The coronavirus pandemic is expected to fundamentally change the way many organizations operate for the foreseeable future. As governments and businesses around the world tell those with symptoms to self-quarantine and everyone else to practice physical distancing; making remote work an overnight new reality. In our previous blog post, we’ve investigated how managers can handle this sudden shift.
But what about those employees who are not used to being remote? If it’s their first time, working from home can feel a little disorientating and it can sometimes be a challenge to focus and be productive – especially if you live with others. In this section, we’ll cover some useful tips to make the transition to remote as smooth as possible.
Ensure you know the guidelines from your line manager
Being aligned with your line manager is the most important thing you can do: what are the priorities of this week? What are the personal and team goals? How many times will we be video conferencing? Ask your manager to be super precise on this, you don’t want to mix things up.. Especially if you can’t meet him/her!
Also, do you know what your company’s communications etiquette is during this remote working period? Ensure you know what platforms are recommended and how to use and communicate on each if you don’t know. Look for the tutorial or let your manager or a team member know. It’s a time where we can count on people being more than happy to help
When you’re in the office, talking to coworkers is a natural part of everyday life. From meetings, stand-ups and lunches to watercooler chats, office teams are in constant communication. You can replicate this in a remote environment through emails, chats, and phone and increasingly video calls. Video conferencing is a good way to get some face time with your co-workers, we’d recommend favouring this route whenever possible
Our advice is to try and keep eyes on yourself though. Remember that everyone has his own rhythm, so you don’t want to be a notification hog!
Create a dedicated workspace and check the ‘dress-code’
Pick a spot (not your bed) where you do all your work – it creates a routine and necessary boundaries. Also, avoid sleepwear or sweatpants. This helps you to get into the right frame of mind and to create a clear distinction between work and leisure mode! Check on which is the ideal outfit to join your calls? It should reflect your company culture! Is your company formal or informal? Is your boss happy for you to join a video call wearing a t-shirt? Remember to check on all of this stuff before you go full-remote mode!
Follow a Schedule
Few things help maintain a sense of normalcy like a schedule. For those new to working remotely, this is especially important in both improving productivity and reducing stress. As a bonus, feeling productive boosts overall morale and reduces anxiety. The easiest way to do this is to go to sleep, wake up, start work, and eat lunch at the same time you always have. Also setting an early morning hit-list will help you stay focussed throughout the day!
We know this will become very tricky very quickly when you have children in the home. Hopefully, you’ve already shared your thoughts with your manager on optimising your workday and child duties. If not, interspersing your child duties and work responsibilities is a compromised method of keeping track of both, perhaps 1 or 2-hour intervals of each, which can be share swapped with a partner would be workable for you and your company.
Schedule breaks & engage when colleagues at lunchtime!
Being productive and getting work done often requires medium to long blocks of focus – with the focus often being easier to sustain than to initiate.
While it’s incredibly important to pause ever so often, intermittent interruption (as can often occur at home) can harm your ability to be truly productive. This is where scheduled breaks come in. The breaks don’t need to be spaced as far apart as is common in most workplaces but they should give you some time to build momentum and focus.
Also, why not socializing with some colleagues over lunch? But remember: to chat about work is forbidden!
Eat well & Don’t Forget to Exercise!
When working at home, it’s easy to over-snack. Often work-stations are set up in the kitchen in smaller apartments, and food is often within easy reach. It’s important to avoid junk foods and quick snacks!
Try a fruit and fibre-based breakfast which allows for slow-release energy throughout the day, with lots of water, this should help stave off the mindless trips to the refrigerator
Also – if you’re addicted to exercise and you can’t possibly imagine yourself not going to the gym for a while, don’t worry: many gyms are offering 30 minutes exercises available for streaming or using youtube to create a dedicated space with videos and tips. You can definitely find some time at the beginning of the day or towards the end: this will help you keep a good feeling regarding the structure of your workday and your general well-being.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance & try different things
When working at home, the temptation to merge your job into your daily life can be great. Slipping in a report after dinner can seem like a convenience but over time blurs the line between home/family time and work mode for both you and your team. Set and stick to working hours to keep your personal life healthy, set proper expectations with your team (they’ll know when you’re truly available and when not) and avoid burnout.
Why not try this? You can change your working style, maybe focusing on complex contracts, finances or reports in the morning so that you can have some time for creative, customers and team management pieces during the afternoon If there’s a time in which you can try this sort of things it’s definitely this one!
Finally, don’t forget, we’re all in this together! 🙂