Balance, communication, and self-motivation can be some of the hardest parts of working remotely, but you might find it a little more manageable with these tips from our fellow Netizens, which provide a framework for how to stay positive, and productive, while working from home.
Set Up a Routine
When working from home, it’s important to create and stick to a routine that closely matches the one you would have if you were going into an office. Get up early, shower, put on clothes that are comfortable but professional, and do everything you can to keep up a routine.
“My key to working from home is routine. As a field rep, whether I have morning meetings or not, I'm always out the door at the same time every day. Show up to the home office, wherever that may be in your house, at the same time every day. Keep the same routine in the morning; wake up, get dressed and prepared for the day as if you're going to the office. Put on a decent shirt and a pair of pants and everything!”
Colin Checcio, Regional Sales Manager
Most importantly, don’t forget to take breaks! When you’re in the office, you take dozens of little breaks throughout the day without even thinking about it. Stop to virtual chat with a coworker or friend, pet your cat, take a walk around the block, eat a snack, do some stretching, and take care of yourself. The simple act of taking a break can recharge your battery.
“My recommendation is the 50/10 rule. Every hour, work for 50 minutes, then take 10 to reset your mind. Try to make sure you are doing something to get out of the house if possible. Take a walk, walk the dog, and do anything just to turn work off for a second”
Carter Davis, Manager, Client Success
Keeping your schedule consistent is key to a successful work-from-home situation. In addition, if you have roommates or a family, be sure that everyone is on the same page about when and where you’re working.
Communication is Key
It’s easy to get disorganized and misaligned when you suddenly transition from working in an office surrounded by your coworkers to going remote. Without hallway conversations and the ability to walk over to someone’s desk for a question, collaboration tools, documentation and chat platforms are your new go to. Using these tools is key for staying on the same page with the rest of your team. Use Confluence, JIRA, and Google docs to bring information into one place for everyone to see and work on together.
"Get the most of the tools we’re using! Detailed comments, attachments and being diligent with task statuses in Jira is imperative when remote. This is the time for the Jira board to shine! By keeping things as up to date as possible you can eliminate confusion and even stop the potential for others duplicating work."
Daily stand ups, weekly one-on-ones, and end-of-day check ins are also great ways to frequently touch base and stay aligned with your coworkers. Short and frequent is a better cadence than longer meetings with a large gap in time. Business moves fast and frequently touching base ensures everyone is rowing in the same direction.
“Consistent check-ins are key, whether that’s daily stand ups or weekly syncs. I always like to be prepared to discuss my progress with accounts at least once a week with my boss, which helps me keep my salesforce up to date and not lose sight of anything.”
Pam Tombari, Regional Sales Director
Video Conferencing is Your Friend
While it’s easy to hide behind your work icon whenever you hop on a video call, try to show your face! Seeing as up to 10,000 non-verbal cues can be exchanged in one minute of face-to-face interaction, video meeting tools are essential for building relationships with others.
“Putting a face with a name always makes things more personal, and video calls allow you to do this without meeting in person. They are also extremely efficient as all participants remain engaged and are less likely to get distracted or start multi-tasking allowing all parties to leave feeling productive. You can even use the same approach with unresponsive clients by sending them a quick video recording to check in.”
Lindsay Kovacs, Enterprise Program Manager
You can set up team-building activities over video that play into the strengths of remote work, like sharing your office view or introducing your cat to your coworker’s cat and watching the furry friendship unfold.
Here at Netsertive, many of our teams are setting up additional “social check-in” calls once a day. In times like this, this is a great way to see your teammate’s faces and check in on matters outside of projects and deadlines.
Always Provide Context
When you’re communicating digitally, you never quite know what the other person is doing at that moment. They might be at their desk just like you are, or they may be frantically rushing out the door for a doctors appointment, only responding “Yes” to your question without elaborating because they just don’t have time.
Without understanding the other person’s context, you might think that they don’t care about the issue you brought up, when they’re really just trying to feed their cat or whip up their own lunch.
Prefacing communication with your context can really help to prevent any miscommunication when things are out of the ordinary. Let team members know when you are heads down on a project and can’t respond to questions right away. Over communicating is always better than making assumptions.
“It can be easy to feel the pressure of always needing to be available or rush to respond to inbound emails to ensure no one thinks you're slacking. Setting up chat groups with your team to let team members know when you're taking a break, working heads down on a project, or in meetings helps free up some of the pressure.”
Katie Ruiz, Director, Publisher
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Things that Aren’t Work-Related
Although we’re all working remotely, there are still plenty of ways to bond with our team members and blow off steam. Set aside 10 minutes of your daily team meeting to or talk about non-work activities.
Consider adding in an “ice breaker” question to the beginning of meetings, or simply going around the room to check in on what everyone has been up to or what their favorite quarantine snack has been so far!
Working from home has its unique challenges, but with a solid routine, good communication, and a positive outlook, teams of all sizes can succeed.