During these unprecedented times of the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more companies are moving to a remote working situation. We are very lucky to be living in a time where working virtually is very feasible. There are many ways that you can make this situation a very positive experience.
- Set up your work area - Many times, our work areas at work look very different from our work areas at home. In the office we have our coworkers around us and it is general office etiquette to keep our work areas clean and tidy. So... if your work area at home does not represent your work area at work very well, that is a problem. For you to be able to work efficiently, you will need a clean and tidy space.
- Install and test your virtual meeting tools - While working from home, you will need to be sure your camera, speakers and microphone are all working and ready to go. Be sure to invest in some earphones so you can hear the important parts of the meetings and know when to mute yourself so your colleagues do not have to hear all of the background noises of working from home!
- Internet Connection - Check your connectivity. Is it conducive to the speeds needed to download and upload files? Will you be breaking up on your virtual meeting calls? Talk to your IT department to see if there is any special protocols needed to ensure secure connection of any sensitive data.
- Dress for Success - As much as you'd like to work in your pajamas, it is essential that you dress as you would any day to go into work. This is just one helpful action to get you in the "let's get some work done" mindset and not the "lounging at home" mindset. Besides, you will never know if your boss (or worse yet, a client!) throws a surprise video conference call and you wouldn't want to be sitting there in your PJs!
- Take Breaks and Time Off - Just because you are in the comfort of your own home, doesn't mean it is necessary to skip breaks or time off. Be sure to schedule your breaks and take them. If you struggle with this, use an online help that locks you out of your computer for the full time of the break.
- Over Communicate - Because the team is virtual, it is even easier to get lost in black hole of cyberspace. So be sure to speak up often and be heard. During video conferences, be sure to participate. Event just saying "hello" and "goodbye" can help yourself be heard and "seen".
- Set Ground Rules for the People in Your Space - Your family, kids and adults alike, need to know what your expectations are in regards to how available you will be while working from home. When are the times that you will be available to them and when are the times when you cannot be disturbed. Especially with kids, it is a good idea to do some practice runs on what is expected of them during video conference calls. As long as they do get a chunk of your attention at some point, maybe during your breaks, children will usually understand.
There are so many tools that can help us be at our most productive while working from home. Best case scenario is that your company has some of these tools already set up for you.
Good luck and remain safe! Be sure to make responsible decisions and let's beat this virus together!