With COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) on the rise, many companies are taking precautions to protect their most valuable asset: their staff.
As such, many people are now being advised to work from home. For many, this is routine, but for some it may be a bit of an adjustment.
Here are our tips for working remotely.
Stick to Your Routine
Working from home does not mean a vacation. In fact, if you can prove to your company that you can be just as effective from home as you are from the office, you may just earn yourself more flexibility at work.
If you wake up, go for a run and eat breakfast before heading to work, stick to that routine. This should go without saying, but you should not stay in your pajamas all day. Dress as if you were going to walk into the office, even if the commute is shortened to being the walk from your bedroom to your living room.
Set up Your Workspace & Workflow
Now that you are working from home, you need to set up your workspace. If you don’t have an office in the house, that’s okay! Just make sure to pick a specific seat at the breakfast table to be your “office.” It should be a different seat you sit in to eat.
Also, do not work from your bedroom (especially not from your bed!). Separation between work space and home space is important both to your productivity and mental health. While you are working from home, you still need to maintain work-life balance. This means that work time is not relaxation time, and relaxation time is not work time. These lines can get easily blurred, so a physical separation is helpful.
Set expectations with yourself and with those who are in your household about when you will be available to deal with home distractions. Well-meaning family members or housemates may drop in on your workspace to talk or offer refreshments. Work out a schedule of if or when you will be available to ensure interruptions and distractions are kept to a minimum. Short scheduled breaks are beneficial for keeping you on track.
Use the Right Technology
Now that you’re working from home, you’ll find yourself more dependent on technology. Since you can’t swing by someone’s desk for a quick question, messaging systems will become your new best friend. Since you can no longer attend in-person meetings, video calls will become very important.
This is also crucial for staff morale. Studies have found that loneliness was the second biggest struggle when working remotely. This can lead to a lack of motivation and productivity. Making full and regular use of communication platforms, especially richer experiences like video calls, can minimize the effects of this loneliness.
For this, we recommend Microsoft Teams. If you’re currently using Office 365, you receive Microsoft Teams automatically. If you’re not yet using it, now may be the time.
Even if you don’t have Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft is now graciously providing a free version of teams for 6 months so that you can stay connected. In a recent post to their blog, they said “Teams is a part of Office 365. If your organization is licensed for Office 365, you already have it. But we want to make sure everyone has access to it during this time. Here are some simple ways to get Teams right away.”
One of the best ways of encouraging remote communication is setting clear expectations with your staff, both in the method and the frequency of contact. Be aware that you will need to reach out to your staff much more through the day. If you want your staff checking in at the start and end of each day, then let them know – communicate your communication plans!
We discuss digital transformation a lot on our blogs, and these situations are a perfect example of why offices can no longer operate on their legacy phones, internet, or products. We’re hoping you all adjust to this remote situation seamlessly. If not, this should be a wake up call to invest in digital transformation.
You don’t have to do it alone, our team is here to help.