This past week has well and truly brought the unexpected for many businesses. Forced closures and preventative actions have seen many businesses around Ireland encouraging employees to go home and work remotely. This may be a first for many people and indeed many businesses. With no clear strategy available for everyone to follow, companies are having to formulate their own plan of actions over the coming weeks due to Covid-19.
For employees who may have never worked remotely before, or those who prefer working in an office environment, we wanted to look at how to retain some normality when working from home.
These are our top tips for remote working:
Designate A Specific Workspace In Your Home
You may not have a home office and will be creating a makeshift office space. Take this opportunity to set up a space that suits your working needs, away from distractions, somewhere with good lighting that will help you to be as productive as you can. It is important to bear in mind that if you will be taking calls and carrying out online meetings that you have speakers, microphones or headphones in order to do so effectively.
While it may seem like quite the novelty at first, for those who have never worked remotely before, it is important to set a designated space, especially in this instance where you may be required to work from home for an extended period of time. It is all in an effort to get you in to the headspace needed for work. You won’t have your usually morning commute to work so this takes away the divide between work and home life. Creating a specific workspace helps to create some level of separation so that you can step away from you work and resume normal home life in the evenings. Creating a space outside of the kitchen is advised where possible as it allows you to have a mini commute and break when needed outside of your work area.
One thing to note is that if you are not home alone and have partners, kids or housemates around, please set rules. Setting ground rules with other people in the home will make the process easier, avoiding interruptions and distractions allowing you to get your work done.
Keep To A Schedule
Maintaining your regular working hours is key to remote working. Having your morning routing as well as your coffee and lunch breaks help to keep some normality. Creating a schedule of the tasks you need to get done or targets to meet will help you to focus and actually get through the work.
If it is your first time working remotely this will be hard to do at first but try your best to stick to it and you will thank us later. Keeping to a schedule again helps to create a divide between work life and home life, something we all need for our wellbeing. It is also good to share your daily or weekly objectives with the wider team so that they know what you are up to and not to interrupt during meetings, calls and so on.
Not having human interaction or a commute to work may lead to cabin fever quite quickly, so getting outside for a quick walk will help. Perhaps you can make this part of you morning routine or getting a quick stroll in during a coffee or lunch break is recommended.
Ensure you have the tools necessary to communicate with your wider team and clients via phone calls and video calls in order to continue with meetings.
Video conferencing isn’t always easy, especially if it is something you would not typically do, so be prepared. Simple steps to take include:
- Ensuring you are away from kids or pets that may walk in or make noise, interrupting the call.
- If you are sharing a screen, be sure to just share what you are presenting and not your whole screen. This allows you to take notes or send emails without the other persons seeing what you are doing.
- Be mindful of your background and environment when on an important video call. Nobody wants to see a messy kitchen or bedroom when trying to talk business.
Working remote will be new to many people so maintaining communication is highly recommended, as not having the usual day to day interactions can take its toll. Many people will just simply not be used to working by themselves in a home environment. As a company and as a team member, make sure to communicate regularly with each other, whether that be in a formal or informal capacity. If you don’t have scheduled calls and meetings over the coming weeks, don’t isolate yourself, pick up the phone or log on to Skype, whatever platform you use to communicate. Weekly team video meetings are a great way of ensuring messages are communicated to a wider team. Creating communication pathways if anyone has a technical or personal issue are key as well.
A shared document with all team members numbers and other means of contact details is very useful!
A big talking point when it comes to remote working is clothes, is there a correct etiquette? Go to meeting have provided ‘The 7 Rules of Virtual Meeting Etiquette Every Professional Should Know’. Rule number 2 is to dress appropriately. There is the automatic reaction to wear what you want as you are in your own home, a dream for many people no doubt. However, your colleagues and clients really do not want to see you in pyjamas or active wear when on video calls. It is important to look presentable for video calls no more than you would when in the office.
Aside from the obvious clothing etiquette for video calls, it is also widely discussed that getting out of your pyjamas and into some casual work wear may help to get you in the work mindset. You don’t need to be suited and booted but getting dressed helps to set the tone for the day. I’m up, I’m dressed, I’ve had my coffee, now to get some work done.
Here is a great infographic that has 10 simple steps on how to succeed as a remote worker.