As Ireland and the world find itself battling the Coronavirus, remote working has now become a fact of life for many workers. And it’s a completely new way of working for many people – who have been forced into the situation with little notice or time to prepare. In this post we will explore best practices for you and your team in terms of working from home. No doubt you could write your own blog on your experiences to date!
‘The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it’s taken place’ George Bernard Shaw.
Communicating with your fellow employees, clients and other stakeholders is important in every situation. However when you are working remotely, effective communication becomes critical – and harder to achieve in some ways. When your colleague is just a desk away, it’s easy to pick his or her brains on something, casually and almost instantly. Communication is quick and easy. However when you work remotely, you must put in that extra effort to maintain an open dialogue.
Don’t let meaning slip through the cracks of online comms. Be pro-active in your communication. One easy and simple way is to schedule daily or weekly meetings for updates.
Although working from your bed sounds like a nice idea – it’s probably not too practical for the majority. By recreating your office environment at home, you can avoid drops in productivity. Distinguishing this space from other areas is key. If possible, avoid working in the same place where you will eat or sleep. This distinction tells your mind when it’s time to work and when it’s time to relax. Also having this space set up where you can easily access any physical files that you need will make life a lot easier and the work process smoother.
Have a schedule
Know when your start and finish time is. By scheduling your work into blocks, you become more productive. A little bit of planning and foresight is required. By dedicating an hour to do x project and checking emails after a certain time, you are allowing yourself to focus on what needs to be done and equally you can indulge in being distracted when you need a little light relief – but only when the essential work is complete. Of course this is a practical tip regardless of location but sticking to a schedule requires a bit more discipline when working from home.
Have a List of Priorities
When you work remotely, you are – to a large degree – responsible for maintaining your concentration. As outlined above, separating your time into chunks and working set hours each day will help. However you also need to make sure you are getting the essential work done. In the morning, write a list of important to-do’s. Then prioritise them – this is one of the well-known habits of highly effective people. Start with the top priority and work down; if you don’t get through the list that day – at least you will have done the most important things.
Try to hit the ground running each day and get through your workload. By the end of the day – you will have a sense of satisfaction from being productive.
Knowing when to log off
When you work remotely, sometimes there’s a danger that the lines blur between work and home life. Working remotely means doing everything in the same professional way as you would in the office. This also means knowing when to leave the office. By creating a structure and routine, you are only enhancing your work. Resist the temptation to check emails late at night or on weekends if possible. Unless something is urgent – respect your personal space and ultimately you will help your professional life by being fresh and attentive when it is time to work.
In addition, taking occasional breaks is important to your productivity. It may happen naturally in the office, when you chat to your colleague but taking the odd 5 minutes remotely can help boost your productivity.
Following on from using your personal time in the best way – exercise is a great way to increase productivity. If you are working from home, then you might feel a little cramped. Moving by walking, doing yoga, dancing – whatever your thing is – gets the blood flowing through your body and mind and it kick starts energy levels – this is vital for your physical and mental health. Furthermore, look after your personal care as it’s easy to slip into staying in your PJ’s and over-eating during the day etc. Sometimes when we live and work in the same place – it’s very easy to forget and neglect the things that keep us balanced –professionally and personally. Look after yourself!
Use Technology to your advantage
With tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and others at your disposal, communication can take place remotely with ease. Using this tech is a great way to keep in touch and it can be more effective to communicate across a screen – where we can see expressions etc – than on email. Obviously having a reliable WIFI connection is critical to remote working. Depending on your work situation – investing in the right video-conferencing set up could be a smart move to facilitate remote working with ease. The benefits of video conferencing when your team is dispersed in different locations is a real game changer for many organisations – who are only waking up to this now, during the Corona crisis.
Remote working has become a part of the new normal. By embracing the tips above, you can work remotely with ease and efficiency. While obligatory remote working will not last forever, it’s most likely that this situation has instigated a trend that will continue into the future. If you have any questions about remote working or AV setup, then please contact us.