It’s certainly been an interesting week so far with all the uncertainty and going to become increasingly likely that more flexible remote working will be required for the foreseeable future. In light of this I thought I would share some easy steps and healthy reminders that we can all consider to maintain our productivity.
These tips by no means replace the foundation of 'trust', which all teams need to have as a starting point for effective performance.
Set interim goals & milestones – it’s going to be important during this period of more remote working to focus on your output, since there is a difference between a day of working from home when sick, to potentially a few weeks. A great and easy habit to get into is every morning is creating a list of what you will deliver by the end of the day and checking them off as you go.
Regular team calls & check-ins – probably need to do more of this with remote working as wondering down the corridor for quick chat with a colleague becomes less likely and staying aligned on actions, progress, issues, risks and decisions becomes more important. Team calls also enhance the sense of interaction for those that live alone. Not to be confused with micromanaging, checking in is really just making sure progress is being made and everyone has the resources they need.
Align on working hours – Does not mean a 5 am start as I can be known for, but for work that is mainly project based and involves different organizations aligning on common working hours where everyone is available to connect and collaborate is important.
Use of technology – we have great technology that we sometimes fail to use (me included), so let’s start using those technologies to the full extent. Simple steps like switching your camera ON so people can see each other also helps create a more personal experience.
Be available online – if your like me and a bit stuck in my ways (I tend to be online with Skype, but show I’m offline so people don’t constantly disturb me while I’m working) in this different work environment we need to kick some of those bad habits and make sure we show that online presence and our availability to chat, call and message.
Keep regular business hours - Assuming you don’t have kids that might also be at home it’s important to keep some semblance of normal business. Make sure you get into the habit of getting up at the normal time, logging in, talking to the people you would normally talk to and setting the 'right tone' for the day.
Office vs. remote worker etiquette - If you have meetings with people in the room and others remote, which is possible given some folks might self quarantine while others are OK to be in the office, always pause to let the remote attendees speak first. Also think about starting meetings by understanding the needs, comments and perspectives of the most remote attendees.
Dress code –I know some think I like to wear a shirt and tie at the weekend, but I might not be as crazy as you think……For those that dream about working in their PJs all day from home think through how this mode of dress might make you overly comfortable and tempt you back into bed, or to your couch. It’s important to still do the morning routine as you would if you were going to the office, since it signals to your brain that it’s time to work.
Dedicated work space – think about creating a separate room (if you can) where you can work, that allows you to focus, take calls without distraction, clear of clutter. Also important to at least have some distinction between work and home environment by creating that space that you can get into the zone and drive solid output.
Limit distractions – it’s easy to be distracted at home and think about those quick chores you can get done between meetings, but try to reframe and during the day focus on work stuff only. You have to bring the discipline to keep these distractions away from you at home just like you would in the office.