Tips for Remote Workers

The events surrounding COVID-19 are causing many offices to close and many workers to work remotely.  It’s possible this new set up will be with us for an extended period, as is appropriate based on public health official recommendations or requirements.

The disruption to daily life related to the COVID-19 outbreak may cause pressure on you and your home life. Many companies are working to support their staff during this transition, and as a worker, it’s important that you to maintain open lines of communication, problem-solve proactively and continue performing your work as best you can under the circumstances.

Following are some tips to help you stay productive and happy as you transition to remote work:
Organize Your Work from Home Setup

Be intentional about where you choose to work.  Invest time in selecting a space where you will be as free from distraction as possible; optimize for focus. If you must work in a crowded home, consider visual indicators that will allow others to easily know when you’re available and when you are not.

Arrange childcare to ensure that you can be productive during working hours or work with your manager to arrange a work schedule that supports the needs of your team and your family’s needs.  In particular, if your regular childcare arrangements (school, daycare, babysitter) are not available, communicate proactively with your manager and team about your availability and work with your manager and team to make sure that your team’s goals are met.

Check in regularly and take breaks. Check in with your manager/team regularly to ensure they are doing ok; remind them (and yourself) to work in a way that is kind to your body and mind – don’t spend all day hunched over a stool at the kitchen counter – take regular, brief breaks and stretch.
Stay Productive

Keep the momentum going. Even if your office is closed for a period of time, it’s important that you keep that momentum going and continue supporting the needs of the business.

Keep your routine. It will be important to replicate as many aspects of your office routine at home. This includes organizing your work space, allocating blocks of time to working on projects, meetings and even taking breaks.

Plan your schedule.  Make your last priority each day to plan for tomorrow. Each evening, take at least ten minutes to plan your schedule for the next day. Nightly planning WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  Spend time identifying your most important priorities and block time for what you’ll complete the next day. 

High expectations. All of us are expected to maintain a high level of performance and effective communication.  Remember that if you’re working from home, you’ll be saving commuting time.
Stay Connected

Leverage video. Whenever possible, use video conferencing instead of audio – it makes a big difference in creating dynamic, engaged meetings.

Overcommunicate. Many of us will be cut off from in-person information flows we have grown used to through office interactions, so we’ll need to make time to communicate even more – create more touchpoints with your manager/team; track your progress visibly for your manager; pass on information you learn from other teams, etc.

Manage Your Pings, Rings and Dings. You may find yourself more distracted by while working from home, especially if you are trying to keep up on the latest news. Turn off your audible and visual notifications from social media and news sites. This allows you to be proactive vs. reactive and consume the content you want when you want it.