Posted on March 2020 by Sarah Di Pietro
We are experiencing an impending crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is and will continue impacting both individuals and businesses. As new information comes to light, we are facing more and more uncertainty in the near future, with many businesses in all industries being forced to shut down, lay off staff or some that are arranging employees to work remotely.
With this said, we have put together a “Working Remotely” guide on best practices to help you navigate and set yourself a daily routine, adapting to the “work from home lifestyle”.
1. Know The Ground Rules
Technology is rapidly changing. The ability for employees to work outside of an office is more feasible now than ever. But there are common challenges of remote work. It has a lot of stigma attached to it, and it’s because of some confusion about what being a remote worker really means.
Make sure you and your employer are on the same page. Does your new remote work setting require the same nine-to-five schedule or is there flexibility? Which tech tools are you going to use for video conferencing and probably project management? Or in Real Estate - Are you going to be conducting live tenant applications, inspections etc.? What appropriate mobile equipment will you require, including; access and remote logins to continue with your daily tasks? Do you have the right internet speed to keep up with your tasks? Be sure to do trial runs and work out any problems that might impede your work.
2. Setup A Dedicated Work Space and Build Positive Habits
In the last few weeks, attempts to increase social distancing and address the coronavirus pandemic has led to schools proactively sending students home and switching to virtual learning, and businesses all over the world shifting to remote working in a speedy timeframe. Without much preparation and training, many people are abruptly having to adjust to new ways of operating, leading and connecting. Yet, not everyone has a designated home office, but it's critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, a place that helps you get into the right frame of mind. Here are some ways you can be productive:
Identify a quiet space to work and use a sign to signify when you’re on a call or a meeting and shouldn’t be interrupted.
Take a break. You can set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move around every hour for at least 5-10 minutes.
If you have downtime, reading, podcasts or online professional development are great ways to continue to hone your craft and keep your brain engaged.
Plan holistically and set goals for each day and when you hit them - reward yourself with a relaxing time with your family, takeout food or a game or movie you enjoy.
3. Communication and Collaboration
The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss and the entire team, and knowing exactly what is expected from you.
Since you are working remotely, it is important to remember that office communication is totally different from an online setting. Set some ground rules for team communication, be considerate and adapt ways to effectively communicate with your team.
Because of the current situation there’s a good chance something might come up and will change the priorities of your work. Make sure to follow up with your team and ask for feedback on when things are due so you are not overextending yourself in order to meet a timeline that is outdated.
The same applies if you usually ask your colleagues for support. Be thoughtful about what you actually need versus what you want and set clear deadlines. Be sure to provide your colleagues with flexibility to manage family life.
The new setup may be hard but go easy on yourself if you feel you are falling short. This work from home transition won’t be easy, but long after you get through this critical time you will be proud of your ability to adapt and persevere.
4. Be Sociable and Stay Mentally Healthy
How do you pull off this whole work from home thing? Working from home has some unique stresses, and social isolation is top. Well, unless you're self-isolating or your country is on lockdown, working from home shouldn't mean that you don't leave the house at all or don't see anyone for two weeks.
Keep in touch with your colleagues. Use Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp or Google hangouts, or any social platforms. Set a dedicated time each day to do this, whether they're also working at home or are at the office, and make it a video call to strengthen that social bond, with the added benefit of helping you keep up with what’s going on in the company.
You should definitely still take lunch and step away from your work. These breaks are vital even if you’re not leaving your home.
Lots of us are feeling anxious and uncertain right now, and suddenly being isolated at home can amplify these feelings. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a coworker just to ask how they’re doing. It is more important than ever that we connect, and take care of one another.
5. Leading Through This Global Crisis
Leaders need to effectively communicate how their organization is handling the coronavirus crisis. Stick to the facts and avoid any absolutes and exaggerations. For all the chaos that the coronavirus has caused, it’s also created opportunities for everyday people to prove themselves to be leaders. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of this moment.
Keep calm. Panic is contagious, but so is courage.