Sudden Remote Work Change
It can be a tough adjustment moving from an office environment to then work from home. As human beings, we are creatures of habit and routine. Since our habits have been disrupted with the recent spread of COVID-19, workplaces have changed their offices to work remotely with very little time for preparation. To help you with the transition from office to your home, we have a few ideas to keep you productive at home.
Communicate With Your Company
Communication is a critical component of successfully working remotely. Having alignment on goals and expectations from your managers will help you on your day to day action list and will keep you involved with your team. You should also work to socialize with your other remote workers and leadership when you can. Set up meetings to discuss your days. Chat about how things are happening in your world. One of the hardest parts about getting adjusted to working from home can be the lack of social interaction. Many of us are used to being with our teams and bouncing ideas off them. Even talking about our weekends and vacations. Since many are remote, we must work together to bring social interaction to each other over the phone and through the web.
Communication also will help your managers stay informed. Many managers can be worried about this new style of management. They could worry that being physically present is required to get the most out of their people. Alternatively, they may not trust their workers as much as they would if they were in an office with them. If this is the case, don’t demonize your managers. Most managers have never had to deal with this kind of situation, so the sudden move to remote work can also affect them and their management styles. Be considerate to them as well during this situation and communicate as much as you can to ensure everyone knows what you are working on and where things are currently.
Manage Your Time Effectively
People who have worked from home often say they prefer to work in an office because it is easier to manage their time. When at work, you know exactly why you are there, what you need to do and when it is needed. With a remote job, you are at home, and that can change how you approach work since it is in a different environment. You have to make sure you are treating that time as work time as you’re completing your deliverables. You can use time manager apps like Microsoft’s To-Do to create tasks for the day and keep yourself on track for what you are trying to complete. Setting up reminders on calendars in Outlook or even a physical planner book can help you to ensure you are completing everything needed for your position.
Determine the priority levels of all of your current projects and deliverables. Set realistic goals for accomplishing each day. While we usually have many things we are working on, prioritizing must finish projects first is easy if you know the priority level of the project.
Use Technology to Help Accomplish Goals
We discussed the use of time management software, but there are so many tools available to help keep you productive and accomplishing your goals.
Team Chat Tools
Tools like Slack and MS Teams can help you bring people together and fill the void of human interaction and communicate with your managers and teams. Beyond just business use, Slack and Teams allow for GIFs, videos, and other content you can interact with together.
You can pretend everyone is in the same office with the use of video chat tools. Video is another excellent solution to the potential pitfall of work from home attention spans. Not only are you getting that human interaction, but you can see people as you talk to them. Tools like Zoom and Skype allow you to connect with your people and see them entirely through the internet. Most laptops come with pre-installed webcams, but you can also purchase external devices at a higher quality.
Working together can be tough if you are unsure where your team is at on a project and what’s needed from you. Ensure you have a great collaboration effort on your projects with apps like MS Sharepoint, Google Drive, and Dropbox. While Google Drive and Dropbox are both primarily cloud storage, they can assist with projects where multiple people are working together. MS Sharepoint allows you to create an internal website that can house files, calendars, and more tools that can help you and your team to collaborate and complete their projects.
Adjusting to working from home will take time. Just remember, your professional value has not changed. Your skills that your company valued haven’t changed. Adjusting to this new workspace is a huge change, but you can still be successful if you stay true to your skills and deliver what your company needs. Through communication, time management, and effective use of your available tools, you can change your workplace mindset to work for you when at home.