Pro Tips on Working from Home, Part 1
As someone who has been working from home with globally distributed teams for a long time I thought I would put down some tips to help those new to the wonderful world of being remote:
- When on a teleconference or video call, always mute yourself when not talking.
- Add a few minutes to calls for social chat – it may be the only time some of those on the call get to talk.
- Make sure there is good light on your face if you are on video calls – it’s much more important than the quality of the camera.
- Make sure your workspace is set up properly. Take the time to do it, especially screens and keyboards to avoid eye and back strain.
- Invest in a USB or Bluetooth conference speaker like a Jabra Speak or a decent
headset if you are going to be on a lot of calls.
- Team leads and managers should check in frequently with every team member
to see how people are coping. Not everyone reacts well to isolation but may be reluctant to say so on a team call.
- Document sharing via Google Docs and Office 365 really works. Use it.
- When kids, pets or partners crash into your video calls, introduce them, don’t hide them.
- Establish a routine is important to some people, but not all. More important is making yourself available to others who may need to talk.
- Keep a chat window or app open for so your colleagues can reach you if they need, even if just to say hello. WhatsApp groups are great. Just don’t share sensitive or secret document that way.
- Get up and move about from time to time. Use a kitchen timer or an app to
remind you to do something every hour.
- Note things down so you don’t forget about them. Use Evernote or
keep a pack of PostIts beside your computer.
- Explore new software tools to share your work and ideas. There are so many to try
and most offer free evaluations.
- Since you have fewer interruptions at home you are likely to be more productive.
Don’t burn yourself out but working the same hours as you would in an office.
- Use what was the commute time for something positive for you: exercise, meditation, learning, reading.
- Don’t suffer alone if this is affecting you. Contact your manager or a work friend
immediately and talk it through. We are all in this together.
- Get ready to join calls ahead of time so they can start promptly. You are wasting everyone’s time if you are late.
- It really doesn’t matter what you wear when you work at home, so do what helps you get in a rhythm.
- Turn off the video if your connection gets choppy and your audio will be clear.
- Keep stuff to hand when you are on calls, including water, tea and coffee. Make sure
you get up to get it when not on a call. And don’t snack.