With the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus, many companies and businesses have required employees to work from home or remotely. Seeing the effects of the pandemic, this situation is likely to continue throughout the year. While this may seem like a simple change, working remotely can be challenging, especially when it comes to productivity, communication, and motivation.
In this article, we will discuss best practices for working from home, and how to stay motivated, productive and healthy.
Be productive when working remotely
Working from home certainly has its benefits. However, everyday things, family, TV and social media can easily shift attention. Here are some tips to eliminate distractions and increase productivity while working from home:
It may seem tempting to wake up in the morning and immediately sit in your pajamas in front of the computer. But if you are dressed for sleep, it can be much harder to activate the brain in productivity mode. Try to maintain your regular morning routine to set boundaries between work and home living.
Instead of going to work in the morning, you can try an activity to increase productivity, such as walking or light exercise. Then, get dressed and get ready for your day or even prepare a healthy breakfast.
Dressing for work that awaits you will make you feel more motivated and this is also a useful practice in case of unexpected video meetings.
Set and follow a schedule
It is important to schedule work separately from home time. For transparency, tell your manager what time you have your work schedule from home and your calendar when available.
Here are some tips for managing your daily schedule to perfect your productivity:
- Start each day by reviewing the tasks and commitment you need to make towards daily and weekly objectives
- Prioritize tasks by understanding time investment, complexity, and impact
- Take regular breaks to relax, get out, or relax your brain
Health and productivity suffer when we do not take regular breaks for our brain and body. The brain is like any other muscle - it needs to rest. These holidays can take any form including:
If you have the opportunity, it is good to create a separate space for work at home. This will help you to separate the activities of home and work and increase productivity when you are working in a certain space.
To improve online or video meetings, you need to:
- Test your microphone, headset, and camera before important appointments to make sure they work
- Be aware of the physical background behind you when you are online dating, change it to more professional space when needed
- Use the camera when possible - keeping the camera on can improve understanding and communication
Pay attention to exhaustion
Mixing work space and private space at home can affect the lack of rest.
- Shut down your computer at the end of the day;
- Avoid opening email or online chat after turning it off
- Identify any activities that start around the time you need to turn off, such as the usual family things or meeting a friend
Remote work and Communication
When working from home, personal communications are limited. This means that you can not rely on building relationships through direct conversations, body language and facial expressions.
Da biste održali zdravu komunikaciju sa kolegama dok radite na daljinu, morate imati na umu neke stvari:
Schedule daily or weekly meetings
For each team, a daily meeting involves staff and focuses on work progress that helps get things done. In the standard format of a meeting, each team member is prepared to answer these questions:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What am I doing today?
- What issues are blocking me?
The daily discussion of individual successes and challenges and plans keeps everyone excited about the overall team contribution to the company.
Make appointments online
Many companies and teams use online chats to stay connected both personally and with work topics. You can use conversations and contacts regularly to communicate as often as possible about the main goals and progress towards them.
Fight bad communication
Remote communication can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding because building direct communication (including body language and facial expressions) tends to be difficult in written format.
If you notice messages or any negative tones during the conversation, use it as your suggestion to use the video. If you feel offended or upset by someone's message, remember that we tend to perceive neutral text messages as negative. When in doubt, discuss. Ask questions to understand your colleague's intentions.
Keep the team spirit
When working from home, it is important to create spaces to interact with teammates beyond projects.
Working remotely can bring feelings of loneliness. Here are some ways to connect while working from home:
- Use online chats as your most enjoyable moment
- Set up optional video chat for lunch to discuss fun topics, such as a book to read or your favorite homework.
Building a virtual team can help replace valuable forms of communication within people who are absent from the office remotely.
Remote team management
Leadership from a distance can present its own challenges, especially if this is a new change for you or your team. However, even under these conditions, planning, communicating, and setting expectations can help maintain substance and productivity.
Here are some tips for managing the team remotely:
The most important thing is time to plan. What should you achieve, when, and what changes might you need to make to your initial quarterly plan and goals? Circulate the plan so you can start discussing it with your team. When you have a document that serves as a guide for everyone you will avoid misunderstandings. You can also share the document with the stakeholders and other teams you work with.
Schedule a meeting with the team to discuss if there are any new expectations and what has changed with distance work. Include in your agenda:
- How often are reports expected and in what form (written, video chat, recording, meeting)
- Communication norms (which technology will you use for each type of message, response time, etc.)
Maintain direct communication
Direct communication is the right time to make sure that each team member is working towards the same objectives and most importantly, check the well-being and commitment of the team.
Regular checks allow for immediate feedback and also promote open communication. Dedicating time with team members becomes even more critical and important when managing virtual team. Try sharing between 30 minutes to an hour with each of the live reports for each week.
Provide feedback as often as possible
If employees are accustomed to an office environment where they receive feedback every day, the remote position can cause uncertainty or confusion.
Regular feedback lets employees know where they stand and reduces the possibility of surprises and misunderstandings.
Exchange relevant information
Keep employees informed by exchanging information for all team members in a timely manner. Leadership is essential for sharing the relevant information you need to process your team. Take time to understand what is being discussed, why and what is required of your team.
Choose the right medium or a combination depending on the message and its implications. Some messages will require an email. When working remotely, especially in the beginning, more communication is better than less. Sometimes (and depending on your communication style) you can replace a long email with a video.