With more and more people practicing social distancing in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, employers are being forced to change their business practices and let their employees work remotely. Often times, the company’s infrastructure is not completely set up for this, or working remotely is entirely new territory.
Have you just started working from home with hardly any warning? If you haven’t ever worked from home, it can be personally and professionally daunting. At adQuadrant, we have had a remote policy in place for a few years to give our employees flexibility or to hire people that are the best fit but not geographically close to our home office. Working from home is not easy at first, but with the right structure, tools, and processes, business can still thrive and be just as productive as being in the office. Here are some best practices that we’ve put in place that have worked well for us:
1. Using a dedicated workspace (ideally one you where you can close the door).
There has to be a distinction between where you work and where you live. This doesn’t require a home office, but mentally, it helps to have a place where you can create space between the 2 aspects of your life. Having a table, desk, room, or even a corner of a room allows you to separate your work area from the area where you relax and unwind. This allows you to create boundaries between work hours and home time.
2. Beginning and ending work at the same time each day
Working from home does not require always working when you are at home. Consider the normal expectations around your workday and try to maintain that schedule. When you ‘wake up’ at your office, it is easy to dive right in. Rather, we suggest you get up, go through your morning routine and show up at your ‘desk’ at the same time you would normally arrive at the office. The bleed of being able to work can cause resentment and a feeling of being ‘always on’.
3. Staying connected
If you lead teams, stay connected with team members, and honor regular one-on-one meetings that you would usually have. Reach out to team members and co-workers on projects and milestones and continue to collaborate.
4. Emphasizing the importance of communication and collaboration
Working from home can feel isolating, but technology is a great tool to connect with co-workers. Use video chat, such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Slack Call, for calls, meetings, and connecting. Virtual coffee hours and happy hours are a good idea to help make teammates feel more social. Don’t hide behind Slack or email, pick up the phone for conversation and log on to video chat to feel less distance from the team.
5. Proactively conveying clear and reasonable expectations
It is incumbent on everyone to be as productive as they would be in the office. Be timely in your responses, don’t go MIA or make the team or client track you down. On the clock means available.
Working remotely can be empowering if you set yourself up for success. The most important aspect of creating a successful remote environment is communication and inclusion. Working remotely doesn’t mean working in isolation. Reach out to team members and check in on them and ask how they are doing, just as you would in the office.