tips for working remotely.

VIDEOS ON

Have work meetings over video when possible. It makes a HUGE difference when working remotely. If you are worried about the messy kitchen behind you, don't be. Showing a bit of life at home can expand your understanding and work relationship with your co-workers.

 

Don’t be worried about the way you look on the video. We all see each other every day, so if it is a bad video angle--usually you are the only one thinking about it. The other person might be thinking about their own bad video angle ;) or just the conversation at hand.

Leather Headphones

STAY CONNECTED

If you had lunch with your peers, enjoyed the morning chit chat, or even the banter in the office, find a way to continue that while remote.

Feel free to use work communication channels more for the casual conversation not just the work one. 

Jump in a Zoom call or Google Hangout to discuss a ticket or an aspect of work that you would normally visit about at someone's desk or would have jumped into a meeting room for.

Schedule a virtual lunch or a coffee meeting to visit and catch up like you would in the office.

Family and neighbors are also ways to stay connected. They can be great to visit with over lunch to help have some of that connection you would get if in the office.

FOCUS TIME

Find your ability to have focus time at home. Uninterrupted time at our desks is hugely valuable. 

 

Headphones, locked office door--and for me, if I am working at the kitchen table, a clean kitchen--do wonders for my focus. Pay attention to what you need to get focus time at home.

HOME AND WORK BALANCE

This can be harder for people who bring work home because they lose the physical boundary of when to work and when to not. Please be respectful of your time for home and for work. Set yourself an appropriate boundary to not allow work to creep into home time nor for home time to overtake work time.

Life interruptions are normal. If your dog, child, partner, or someone walks in on a meeting you are having, this is no big deal. There is absolutely no expectation that you can control that from happening.

It can be useful to discuss with your family the easiest times to be interrupted. It is natural to have conversations throughout the day with you co-workers and would be similar to that with who lives at home. However, sometimes you need to not be interrupted. One idea I have used successfully is headphones to denote when I am in a meeting or focusing on something and need not to be interrupted.  

Working from home doesn't mean that you now work more. One of the perks of working remotely is that the time you spent commuting before is now time that you get to choose how to spend it, which doesn't have to be work. 

TEAM COMMUNICATIONS

Try to maintain your regularly scheduled team meetings, even join a few minutes early or stay a few minutes late to catch up with someone.

Message and Email Responses

Make sure you have your notifications turned on to the right level for your needs. You won’t get tapped on the shoulder at home; however, usually you will have more electronic communication.

There is NO expectation that you will immediately respond to messages or emails while you are at home. 

Responds are expected and if you know it will be a delayed response, it is polite to state that.

Overlapping Time

Expect a bit of adjustment to how your daily rituals will go. Some might start earlier; some work a little later. Some might take lunches at different times when you are home. These are all expected.

Strive to have overlapping hours with the rest of the team to engage in the needed conversations to keep moving together successfully.

CREATE AN "OFFICE" SPACE

Take a moment to set up your office at home. Or set up two locations at home. Not everyone will have space for a full office, but claim your spot at the kitchen table or the folding table in the guest room, etc. It can be mentally helpful to have a work “spot” or two of them.

 

Working from the couch is awesome for a day here and there. Doing this every day is not good for the body and usually not great for the motivation. If the couch is your best option at home, then change it up. Do some on the couch and some at the kitchen table while the kids are outside playing, etc. 

Test out your different microphones and sound options. You want to be heard clearly and you want to hear others.

LET YOUR TEAM KNOW WHERE YOU ARE

Are you at home or in the office today? Let your team know where you are so they can best communicate with you. Some common services, such as Slack, have an ability to set a status as an easy way to communicate that with your team and company. 

Man Walking

TAKE BREAKS

Get off your butt and move a bit!

 

When we are in the office, we walk way more than when we are in our homes. The bathroom is further, we move from meeting to meeting room, we walk to get water or drinks, we walk through the cafeteria or kitchen. These parts of work are needed because it helps us move and take mental breaks. Just because you can sit at home all day long and not move more than 30 feet between your kitchen, bathroom, and computer means you need to put more effort into having breaks and moving a bit.

Go for a walk around the block, jump on the tramp with your kids for 5 minutes in the afternoon to get your heartbeat up before tackling the next problem, use a smaller glass/mug so you have to get up more to fill it, play a quick game of uno as a replacement for the office puzzle, etc.

Be careful of house chores. It can be an awesome break to do laundry or dishes, but they don’t always serve your mental need for a break because it is still work.