Working remotely comes with its own set of challenges, but, thankfully, there are ways to make the transition smoother. Various technologies are integrating seamlessly with normal operations, and new social techniques are helping remote workers stay on task and productive.
Treat working from home similarly to working at your office. Don’t allow yourself to sleep past your regular schedule. Force yourself to wake up at the same time, get ready as normal, and start work at the right time. The best way to start your workday at home is to start your to-do list first thing in the morning and continue working as if it were a typical day at the office.
You can’t succeed unless you have the right tools and technology at your fingertips. Make sure your work set up at home is similar to the one you have at your office. You need to stay connected to your network and team throughout the day, and access to the right technology can help. If you manage a team, make sure each employee has the right tools a well. If needed, you can use Google Hangouts and Zoom for video conferences and Airtable and Asana for project management. For instant messaging, programs like Slack and Microsoft Teams are valuable tools.
If you’re a manager, try to set up a daily meeting with your team members where you discuss what each member is working on, how it is going, what they need help with, and how they are doing overall. COVID-19 is a frightening virus and staying in quarantine is stressful. Your staff might struggle to adapt to working from home because of the new stressors in their life, which is why you should check in with them regularly. Create a safe space for your employees to talk about what’s going on in their homes.
Remote work during quarantine is an isolating and stressful experience. No one knows when COVID-19 will start waning and allow employees to go back to the office. Make sure you understand how each of your employees is doing every day. Remind your team members that despite how it seems, this is a temporary situation. Let your staff know it’s OK to take breaks to go for a quick walk, make something to eat, and focus on something other than COVID-19 for a few minutes.
Staying at home all day every day can get tiresome quickly. Encourage your team members to set up a dedicated workspace in their homes. Make sure it is ergonomic and won’t cause too much strain or distraction. You don’t want your coworkers crouching on a kitchen stool for eight hours a day. Give your team time throughout the day to stand and stretch, too.
Don’t allow yourself to work in sweatpants because no one can see you. Try to start every day with a fresh set of professional clothes that are comfortable but still show that you are working. Encourage your team members to do the same. Dressing well is also essential if you do video calls while working remotely.
No one can spend all their time at home, only interacting with their manager or coworkers. Make sure you and your team members are safely connecting with people outside of work. Maintain social distancing guidelines and try starting a group text message with your close circle of friends or sending a Facebook message to a college roommate you haven’t spoken to in years. Connecting with non-work friends can keep you motivated and productive during working hours.