Create a Workspace
Some of the benefits of working remotely are that you are able to choose your own workspace, however, during the current situation, this will still need to be in your own home. We recommend trying to find a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your job and leave when you’re finished for the day.
If you are able to, the best spot would be a completely different room to any you use during ‘personal’ hours. Think of setting up a home office where you can close the door and shut out all distractions, then once you’re done for the day you can leave that room and use your house as you wish.
Additionally, make sure you have everything you need in place before you even begin working remotely. This includes a strong internet connection, relevant systems you need, and the ability to take calls and video conferences to stay in touch with colleagues throughout this time. This may even mean taking the necessary equipment you need such as a mouse, keyboard, and screens from your office to make working remotely more comfortable and efficient.
Since this is a new experience for everyone, there are plenty of challenges to working remotely, and staying connected could easily be one of them. To avoid a sense of isolation, it’s important that you and your team communicate regularly. Using chat apps like Slack, Zoom, and other video conferencing services will enable you and your teammates to ‘screen share’ throughout remote meetings and stay on the ‘same page.’
This is further reinforced as productivity tools as Slack and Zoom have already seen a significant increase in usage, as also evidenced by an uptick in stock prices (ZM +85% in 2020 and +45% in February). It reinforces the fact that these remote-friendly software tools are a critical part of the remote worker’s day-to-day, especially when it comes to getting work done and feeling less isolated. Google Drive also enables teams to work well remotely. You can share docs and sheets to get work done in real-time and join a ‘hangout’ to speak to your colleagues as you go.
Furthermore, better communication while remote can help maintain your relationship with your colleagues, managers, and direct reports. It’s also important for managers to encourage employees to share their opinions or concerns about a particular project so they don’t feel like they’re being dismissed just because they’re not in the same room.
While working from home, you have to take responsibility for yourself. Nobody is going to stop you and you may be amazed by how you can go from getting distracted by everything at home to having zero reasons to stop working on or thinking about all your deadlines and priorities. Schedule breaks to get up and get some air. Schedule time to go grab lunch. Most importantly, schedule a stop time. This means you clock out and trust that whatever is waiting for you will wait.
Another way to help yourself with this is by implementing BlockSite’s Work Mode feature throughout your day. Work Mode allows you to work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break when using the extension and on mobile, you can change the times to whatever suits you best. Maybe you would like to work for an hour and take a 10-minute break? You can adjust the work and break times on BlockSite so it’s entirely up to you but it’s great for anyone who struggles to keep focused for long periods of time or those who need to remember to take a break in between tasks.
BlockSite’s Work Mode is based on the Pomodoro method and helps keep you on task and focused. You won’t be wasting endless hours browsing the web, instead, you’ll be able to stay focused and have the occasional break to take a breather and recharge.
While working from home, you’ll need to prioritize tasks and manage expectations between your boss and colleagues, and yourself. Whether this is through planning out the most essential tasks you need to get done daily or speaking with your boss to prioritize this, make sure you stay in touch and know what needs to get done and when.
It may even be worth having a daily check-in whenever possible. This should be one-on-one, and face-to-face via video. It’s best that your team see you, and you see them. This will enable you to set the agenda of your priorities and receive the feedback and resources you need.
By managing expectations, you set yourself and your team up for success by clearly stating both the tasks and the reasons behind them, and help others you work with, understand exactly how you will measure success. So make sure you define the scope, deadlines, and deliverables for each task or project your team is working on and focus on outcomes.
It is very common to try and reduce the number of meetings we have every day while we are at the office. When working from home it is important to stay in sync with everyone. Make sure you book a daily sync meeting and all your colleagues attend.
Video meetings are not easy, but there are many tools you can use to make them more enjoyable. It will also help you get dressed and ready to work (which takes care of a point we made earlier). If you use Zoom, you can use their cool function that changes the background of where you are, so while talking to your colleagues you could have a background of a sunset or the beach.
Right about now you are probably saying that you will sometimes need a whiteboard and that isn’t possible remotely. Well, it is 🙂 Miro, for example, has developed a whiteboard for remote teams. They make it possible to collaborate easily even when working remotely and make your ideas easier to understand.
Only you know your schedule and your abilities to implement some of the above tips in your life. However, If you take care of a child or have a schedule that fluctuates often, you know that keeping a routine can be near impossible, which is why we recommend planning ahead and setting out both short and long-term goals. This will also make it easier to balance change and enable your coworkers to understand your availability.
Setting out a plan and even using a productivity tool to help you with this, will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and how to best structure a week or a month in advance.
Make sure you keep your calendar up to date and plan tasks in terms of their urgency or the amount of time they will take you to complete.
There is no doubt that you will acquire new skills when working from home and if you can stay focused and develop positive habits, you can successfully adapt. It’s all about balance.
Overall, working remotely has pros and cons that are forever changing, however in uncertain times and in situations that require all of us to adapt, we hope that people come out of this pandemic even stronger, more focused, and hardworking than before. Everyone should take this as an opportunity to learn how to enable global workforces, regardless of location or work environment to still be productive. When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where the power is.