Remote Work Tips During COVID-19
March 17, 2020
As someone who made the switch from the office to remote work, I know the feeling of discombobulation when you first make the transition to home. The Envoy team has operated as a fully-distributed team since the company started so I had a good group of colleagues to reach out to for advice. With COVID-19 causing anxiety and an increase in the number of organizations to work remotely, I thought I would share some tips that have worked for me.
Shower & Change Your Clothes
There’s a common misconception that showering and getting dressed for the day is optional when you’re working from home, and while that is an option, my advice in order to have the most focus is to do the opposite. Taking a shower, and getting dressed is a signal to your brain that your workday has started. However, slippers are absolutely a great addition to your wardrobe.
Use a Good Communication Tool
Having a communication tool is essential to successful communication and collaboration with a remote team. Our team uses Slack and we have various channels that help our team get the latest news and see the conversations that are happening amongst colleagues. One of the best parts of Slack is the ability to search for topics and get an answer immediately from a past conversation thread that you have may have missed. We also use Slack to promote a positive work culture. We have a #kudos channel where colleagues can publicly acknowledge a job well done.
Sometimes being at home for someone who isn’t used to working remotely can feel stifling. That’s why it’s important to walk outside for a short time each day to get some fresh air, de-stress, exercise and in turn increase your productivity. A 2013 study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato that was published in Harvard Business Review found that people who go for a walk 4 times a week are able to think more creatively. Regular exercise is also important to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong.
Focus Your Workspace
Although it’s tempting to set up your office anywhere in your home, it’s important to designate a space that is quiet, free of any clutter, and ideally with a door so you can close yourself off to distractions. It’s also important to have a professional background when you’re on phone calls.
Acknowledge Everyone On Your Calls
If you’re in a remote meeting, sometimes it’s hard to know who exactly is attending the call, especially if attendees are not using a camera and there is a larger team in the room. It’s important to ask who is in attendance and ask each person to give a short introduction if it’s the first time you’re meeting. That way everyone feels involved, acknowledged and engaged in the conversation.
Map Out Your Day
The hardest transition for me from the office to remote work is how quiet the day can feel. With no co-workers nearby to turn to ask a question, it can feel like you are less productive. That’s not the case though. Because you have fewer distractions, you can actually get more work done. However, you have to keep yourself on track. Creating a schedule for your day and the week ahead can keep you focused. Organize your schedule into 30-minute increments and then add tasks to each increment to stay on track and have a visual of how much you’ve accomplished.
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As part of the transition that we are going through in the US, many companies have transformed their in-person conferences to online webinars. Zendesk’s signature Relate event is now a webinar called “Relater”. Learn more about the March 24th event here.