Pro Tips on Working from Home, Part 2
Following on from my first list of suggestions for remote working, here are some more, based on over a decade of experience of running diverse teams remotely.
- Back up your work or store it in the cloud. Or both.
- Leave gaps between calls to allow time to take notes, focus on the next call, go to the toilet, look after kids or elderly relatives or just to breathe for a bit.
- Once you have the basics sorted in a home office, sit back and think what would make it even better.
- Use a tablet or phone as an extra screen if you need one.
- Missing any equipment: printer, scanner, headset, big screen? What would make work easier?
- As in any meeting, it makes sense to have both a facilitator and a note taker. Doing both at once is almost impossible.
- When on calls with many people, ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak up.
- Consider what it would be like to work from home permanently. The option may well be available if you like it.
- Make sure you can close off or put away your home working area if you struggle with balance. Even putting the laptop out of sight in a drawer will make the difference.
- Plan on taking some holiday days. Discuss it with your management and colleagues. This is a stressful time and working from home for the first time can be a shock.
- Do not take work stress out on your family. Apologise and explain if you do. Equally, listen to them if they need you.
- When a small child wants you to play with them it’s better to do so immediately and slowly drift back to work than to repeatedly put off playing.
- Share jokes!
- Be aware of other colleagues’ situations. They may have sick parents, fractious children or newly-unemployed partners. Use empathy and deploy sympathy.
- Take the time to review the rituals you have created for working from home. It may be time to change them now you are more used to it.
- Share your good and bad experiences of working from home with your colleagues. Any disasters that were funny retrospectively? Great ways of keeping the little people amused? SHARE!
- Do you really need that call? Maybe an email or a chat would be more effective?
- Keep a video conference “room” open all the time so that people can drop in if they want to socialise.
- Remember to give your eyes a break by looking away from the screen. You may not be at the ideal height or distance if you have a temporary workspace.
- Have a good idea that makes working from home easier? SHARE IT!
Remote working is only going to increase, whether from home, between international groups or just from different coffee shops, so for many people it really is worth figuring out how to do it most effectively.