“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”
-Richard Branson, Virgin Founder & CEO
In the past, working remotely has been a choice offered up within organizations. Remote working provides employees with convenience, focused time on projects and work that are deadline-intense and a general break from travel to and from the office.
Due to recent world events, remote working has become a necessity and, in some cases, a mandate. For corporate organizations and individuals unaccustomed to such a work arrangement, this can be a shock to the system and challenge to the traditions, customs and culture of a workplace.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with some tips on how to make this transition smoother for you, those on your team and others within your organization.
Tip #1: Set up a Designated Workspace
“Our research — which is ongoing — suggests that the combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are part of the reason people who cowork demonstrate higher levels of thriving than their office-based counterparts.”
-Harvard Business Review
You are probably not the only person in your household who has been socially disrupted. If you have a family, your spouse and children are probably also adjusting to this sudden change. It is important for you each to have a workspace designed just for you. This will allow you to work and conduct phone or video conference calls uninterrupted.
Find a desk, table or room where you can set up your workstation and be able to focus in a distraction-free zone. A room that is closed off (separated) from the rest of the house is ideal. You may want to lock the door if on an important call, or there could be negative outcomes – see Exhibit A! Also, clear your workspace of unwanted clutter – papers, files, folders, sticky notes or other unnecessary distractions. This should be a “calm space” for you to focus.
Tip #2: Connect with your Team Daily
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
-Zig Ziglar, Motivation guru
Communicating, connecting and collaborating with your remote work team on a daily base is recommended. If you manage people and are doing it remotely, it’s critical.
There are many online resources you can leverage to touch base with your team. Just because your colleague or direct report is no longer down the hall from you doesn’t mean you can’t see her smiling face! Zoom and Microsoft Teams offer video conferencing technology options at little or no cost. They have screen share, chat and mute (!) functionality to engage larger teams on important meetings, projects or communications.
There are also instant messaging tools that your team may already be accustomed to using in the office. If that is not a usual practice, consider using the tools that are already in place. A helpful tool you may want to introduce is “Slack”, which prioritizes information and allows you to control and funnel your instant messaging.
If you manage a team or department, consider using multiple tools to motivate each person, as well as coach, lead and manage them. Make yourself available to them with “remote office hours” and schedule 1-on-1s using video conferencing tools that are provided by your organization. Encourage the team to engage one another directly using the tools with which they are most comfortable.
Tip #3: Establish a “Remote Community”
“A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
-Seth Godin, Entrepreneur and author
If you are new to remote working, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Approximately 97% of working adults do not work remotely. Therefore, it’s important to find a “tribe”, as Seth Godin calls it, with whom you can share challenges and success stories as you embark on the remotely working journey. Don’t do it alone!
Tip #4: Focus on Yourself!
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
-Dr. Seuss, Author of Children’s Books
Working remotely gives you more hours in a day to get things accomplished. Make sure you take breaks to focus on your physical, mental and emotional well being. Take time to exercise, engage in a hobby, read a book, complete some online learning or engage in other activity. This will keep your mind fresh and the ideas flowing and allow you to work more effectively.
If you manage others, make sure they are taking time to disengage from work so they can “re-charge” and give maximum focus and effort when they get back after it. Think of creative ways to share information and ideas and take advantage of the situation. Leverage the technology at your disposal to do so.
Tip #5: Get Organized
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
-Benjamin Franklin, Inventor
As you take breaks, use the time to get caught up on emails, sort folders, clean up your inbox or go through information you have put aside. Follow up with people in your network, or prospects and clients to see how they are doing (if you are in sales or a sales support role). Treat this time as an opportunity for “spring cleaning” on the business side of things. Use it as a time to get caught up and hit “reboot”. You’ll appreciate it when things get back to the normal, hectic pace you are accustomed to tackling each day.
CARAVAN Wellness is offering a 30-day all access pass for free to its App, which provides total body solutions to help you stay healthy at home.
Sworkit is a personal trainer App that provides workout information (routines) for strength, cardio, yoga and stretching.
Learning and Development
LinkedIn Learning provides personalized learning experiences and courses taught by real-world professionals. They are offering a free month of access to online courses.
Minute with Maxwell is a daily minute long video from consultant John Maxwell that focuses on the chosen word of the day. Very insightful.
Smartbrief is a great method to keep in touch with what’s going on in your area or industry of interest. It has custom newsletters and reports.
Seth’s Blog is a great way to start your day with an “out of the box” idea or concept. A must read.
Weekly Inspiration is a free weekly Monday morning email full of inspirational quotes that Learning Curve Consultants sends out to its distribution list. It has replaced – temporarily – the very popular Weekend Insights due the pause of all sports indefinitely.