The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is forcing more employees to work from home, many for the first time. How to approach a work schedule when we work in the same place we live is challenging and requires some new habits.
Even with a disciplined approach, suddenly being required to work from home will throw things off kilter initially, but you can still make the best of the current situation and learn to work from home efficiently.
Dux Raymond Sy, the chief marketing officer for AvePoint, a company that helps organizations find solutions for maximizing collaboration between employees, is well-versed in remote team collaboration and productivity. Here, he shares six remote working tips:
1. Establish guidelines and boundaries: Working remotely is not too different than working in a physical office. It is essential to establish clear communication and collaboration practices. Essential guidelines include:
- What are the standard working hours?
- When will you take breaks?
- What technologies should be used for meetings, group collaboration or asynchronous communication?
- Be it a desk or an extra room in your house, designate a space where you work. This helps set a mental and physical distinction of “being at work” and also helps set expectations with others that may be with you at home.
2. Get comfortable with the technology: The key difference between working in an office and working remotely is that you will rely on technology more to communicate, collaborate and engage with colleagues. Be open and learn how to best maximize these technologies
3. Encourage video calls: Nothing beats face-to-face interaction, but if you’re working remotely, seeing each other via video calls can be essential. Not only does this foster a closer work culture, but it also allows everyone to see important non-verbal cues.
4. Ensure mobile access to corporate resources is available, if possible: Mobile devices today are our secondary work tools. It is critical that remote colleagues can easily communicate, collaborate and have access to relevant corporate resources from their mobile devices.
5. Extend grace and accommodate for the unexpected: If working remotely is new to you, it’s also new to people you work with and live with. There will be occasional distractions such as unexpected noise, technology hiccups or unreliable internet connectivity. As such, be patient and show more grace to colleagues as they adjust to this new mode of working.
6. Set remote work goals as a team: Focus on the work output and deliverables by setting goals for the day, the week or the month. This way, similar to what you would do in an office, working remotely with your team is still driving towards a common outcome.
Those are Sy's top remote working tips. Ultimately, the need to work remotely due to coronavirus will come to an end. This experience, however, will provide many with an awareness of the challenging aspects of this form of working. Hopefully, that will lead to overall improvements in the remote working process and potentially a more regular use of this option for companies and their employees.