As the COVID-19 breakout grows, more and more companies across all industries have to close their offices in order to avoid large gatherings of people. Remote work went from being a unique work methodology that only some lucky individuals were allowed, to an absolute necessity to keep businesses alive.
Given the circumstances, for most people, the remote location has to be their own home, and this can be a huge cultural shift. This change can be adopted easily, or bring with it hardships. Some people will be happy to be home, while others may miss the office. Wherever you find yourself, in order to make your shift to remote work smoother, our teams at Dynamia have put together a list of practices that help us keep our productivity high and our communication flowing naturally.
Having great experience working with remote teams distributed all around the world, we have a few good practices and strategies that may help guide the success of a remote team. Although we feel very comfortable embracing this practice, we also know that for many employees this situation can be stressful and confusing. Lacking a dedicated workspace, missing colleagues, or having household chores mixed with work can affect productivity levels, so here are some suggestions that will help you feel less anxious and more focused through this particular phase.
Did you have a schedule when working at your office? More than likely the answer is yes, which means you have to create a schedule for your work at home too! Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to take breaks is going to help you maintain a good work-life balance. We know that one of the main benefits of working remotely is flexibility, and the possibility to prolong your day as much as you need, or start earlier than usual. However, adjusting your work within regular hours will help preserve your productivity and your communication with the rest of the team. You can use some of the time-tracking tools that we use at Dynamia, such as Toggl, Hubstaff or RescueTime, to check whether you're sticking successfully to your schedule or not.
Working remotely changes interactions between coworkers, but making an effort to keep habits aligned with your existing company culture can make a huge difference in the day to day communication. Talking about non-work related topics, holding informal talks, even hosting birthday celebrations via video calls, are little things that can reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety. Chat applications like Slack, or video conferencing platforms like Zoom are indispensable for maintaining clear communication and continuous feedback.
Your morning routine is sacred, and plays an important role in determining your disposition for the day. After being in self-isolation for just two weeks it’s very tempting to spend all day in pajamas, and joining video calls without changing your outfit can become a habit. But, don’t do it! You will be more productive if you dress for the day accordingly. Naturally, “getting ready” is different for everyone, but trying to replicate your normal routine is a good way to start your day. Set your alarm, wake up, get ready for work as usual, and then make the “commute” to your desk.
As we mentioned above, it is extremely important to respect your working hours, and of course, separate them from the rest. However, it is also vital to take care of your physical workspace, having a comfortable chair, and a tidy desk with everything you need will make you feel comfortable and work efficiently. You can also talk to the people you live with, be it family or roommates, share your schedule with them, and ask them to respect your working hours. Avoiding as many interruptions as possible is going to make a big difference in the quality of your work.
By this point, it’s clear that in order to work efficiently from home, it’s necessary to have a well-defined structure. However, the present situation differs greatly from a normal day working remotely. In most cases we cannot leave the house, and we are not free to carry out all the activities of leisure that we would normally do. For that reason, to prevent this self-isolation period from becoming a stressful experience, we need breaks. A lot of breaks. Personal spaces where you can disconnect from work and relax, times to perform those little rituals that make you feel good and improve your focus. Remote work will give you the flexibility and time you need to be creative, so take advantage of it, and develop your own unique habits. It doesn’t matter what activities you choose, but make them interesting and gratifying to create a daily experience that’s rewarding and worth working for.
We are all very different and remote work allows us to embrace those particularities and transform our schedule into a personalized experience. When you work from home by yourself, you don't have to deal with other people's expectations. Discover what practices and habits help you be more productive, feel accomplished, and get the work done. Give yourself the time to perform those things you can’t at the office, and enjoy them.
This is one of the main and most important things to keep in mind while working from home. It’s possible that you don’t encounter any inconvenience at the beginning, but over time, it can be really hard to separate working hours and personal time when you’re working remotely. Creating a healthy balance between work and life should be your main goal. Designate a space only for work, your own “home office” and leave it as you would do at the office. Keeping your personal territory and time separated from work is essential to developing healthy work-life habits.
The coronavirus has put remote work to the test, and it’s a great opportunity for companies and employees to learn a lot about their teams' functionality, what they need to work on, and what they can improve. Fully remote teams are constantly adapting to better and new practices to make the work experience seamless and enjoyable. Now it's everyone's turn to learn how to adapt their strategies to this work methodology. Are you working remotely already? What are your best practices to embrace remote work?