During this unprecedented time, some of you may have the ability to begin working remotely for a longer period than you are used to. I have been working remotely for about six months now, and it was a new experience for me. As an extroverted person, I knew it would not be easy, but I have learned a lot that has helped me be effective along the way. Here are some simple tips and tricks to share that might help set you up for success!
- Utilize Instant Messaging – It’s helpful to have an internal software or application that allows for instant messaging or “quick chatting” between team members or small groups. This replicates the casual, more informal and quick conversations or questions that occur in the workplace when your offices or cubes are close by. Utilizing instant messaging will also help to keep the number of emails in your inbox from growing exponentially! There are many applications out there to try – I would recommend looking into Slack or Microsoft Teams. Right now, because of COVID-19 Microsoft is making Teams available for free.
- Take Advantage of Video Calling – Phone calls are a great alternative to emails and having in-person conversations, but what is even better is video chatting! For those of you who find yourself feeling stuck at home and missing the face-to-face interaction that your workplace provides, video calling is a fantastic option. Although it may be virtual, the face-to-face communication is real and can be just as effective as in-person meetings. Many platforms even have screen sharing capabilities that help work get done effectively. If you haven’t checked out Zoom yet, I would highly recommend it!
- Create Your Space – If you have experienced working from home occasionally, you might find yourself on the couch or in the kitchen. However, working remotely for a longer period might need some more adjustments than that. Set yourself up for success and designate a special area in your home to be your new “work” space. Environment has a major impact on effectiveness, motivation and productivity. To remain focused ON work when you’re AT home, you might need to create your new “AT work” space. Here is a funny story that someone told me once: Every morning, he would get ready for work, get in his car and drive around the block before coming back home to be “at work.” It may seem silly, but it’s all about setting yourself up with a solid environment and right mindset. Check out this article for more on this.
- Schedule Your Time – Oftentimes when you’re at the office, your days and weeks can easily schedule themselves for you with meetings, events, interruptions, etc. When working remotely, there is less of that, so it’s important to set your working schedule. How can you stay energized and ensure that you’re spending the right time on the right things? Schedule your priorities! Plan out a schedule by blocking out specific time to be spent on checking emails, managing projects, having virtual team meetings, doing research and more. Also, don’t forget to get up and stretch, take a short walk or simply schedule a break at least every 90 minutes. If you need to set an alarm to remember, then do it!
Although it took some time adjusting and getting used to, I have found success in working from home! Having a positive attitude, being open to new technology and accepting that there might be a few bumps along the way will get you and your team where you need to be.