We know a lot of businesses are transitioning to having their teams work from home due to concerns about COVID-19. I personally made the transition to working remotely in 2012, and have spent the last 8 years perfecting my routine.
Let me share what I know with you, so you can get more comfortable with a remote working routine while we each do our part to flatten the curve!
Allow Time For Socializing
It’s very easy to feel isolated when working remotely. If you’re not used to it, it’s easy to feel guilty for not trying to be constantly working. That’s going to hurt morale and burn you out, so schedule time in your day for checking in.
The good news is that it’s easier than ever to connect from a distance. We’re still having our morning huddle on Google Hangouts, and at TTI SI, we use a tool called MatterMost to chat and interact throughout the day.
Water cooler talk is important! Don’t be afraid to reach out for the interaction you need. A lot of people might be worried about “disturbing” others, but you need to ask for what YOU need.
Stay On Top of Your Tech
When I started working remotely, making tech work for me was a struggle. I was one of the first remote workers at TTI SI, and our home office wasn’t set up for instant communication. Now, we have TVs in all conference rooms that remote employees can hop onto for video conferencing, and we all use the communication tools I mentioned before to stay in touch.
It depends on the kind of work you’re doing, but almost everyone will need to handle a video call at some point.
You absolutely must be comfortable with your virtual tools. Use the features you have to make connections, like sharing your screen, having viewers raise their hands for audience participation, and recording sessions for future use.
Be prepared for glitches and failures, as best as you can. Make sure your work is backed up, and make sure you can communicate with your team on the phone if the Internet goes down briefly.
Adapt Your Communication Style
You know how you like to work, but what does your team prefer? Are they getting what they need? It can be a difficult transition to working from home, but some people are going to have a harder time than others.
Adjust your communication style to help your teammates feel comfortable. If you know a team member is more outgoing and loves interaction, take time to give them a phone call and check in. If your team is slow paced, make expectations and deadlines clear up front, and make sure they can reference them at any time as needed. Take rigorous notes in your meetings and send them as a follow-up so everyone has the information they need as soon as possible.
You can help alleviate the discomfort at this temporary shift, and your team will appreciate it.
Set Habits, Now
It might be tempting to stay in your pajamas, but you need to create a working from home routine as soon as possible. Try to dress for work, put on makeup if that’s normally part of your routine, and get up at the same time as you normally do.
This routine will help you feel comfortable and more productive. I have a designated room just for work, and I make sure to ‘log off’ and close the door when the work day is done. It’s tempting to work through the whole day and night, but we’re trying to avoid burnout, right? Don’t let that happen. Even eating at the same time away from your work is a good idea. Drink your regular cup of coffee, physically step away from work when the day is done, and make sure you’re resting!
Work From Home, Thrive From Home
I hope I can save you some worries with these tips. Working from home long term isn’t for everyone, but it’s wonderful for my lifestyle and helps me fulfill my driving forces! (I have a very high Harmonious driver and wasn’t cut out for desert life.) Now, I get to do what I love while enjoying the mountains and greenery of Southern Oregon.
Follow these tips, take a deep breath and remind yourself that this transition is temporary. Working from home can be fulfilling and productive!