1. Create space for concentration
Working from home offers great flexibility for chores, childcare, and more, but establishing good boundaries can help to ensure that your work still gets done.
Set clear expectations for yourself and the others in your household and do your best to uphold them. If you know that distractions are inevitable, consider managing your workflow so that high priority tasks are completed during times when you are less likely to be disturbed.
2. Get Comfortable
We spend a lot of time at our workstations! Avoid feeling sore or stiff at the end of the day by finding the right set up for you. Get a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Make sure your desk or table is an optimal height. If you are working on a laptop, raise it to eye level so that you reduce the strain on your neck. Likewise, find an ergonomic keyboard and mouse that support your elbows or wrists. Taking care of our bodies while we work is worth it.
3. Show your availability
Clearly show others when you are online and available and when you do not want to be disturbed. Many communication and productivity tools like Teams, Google Chat, and Slack allow you to indicate when you are available, busy, or offline. Regularly and consistently using these options to let your colleagues know when you are working can facilitate spontaneous communication.
Just like in the office, the occasional unscheduled chat can be a great way to solve a quick problem or support the team culture. Indicating when you are online or offline helps your team maximize their asynchronous work while also taking advantage of any overlapping availability.
4. Communicate too much
Share a lot and often. Poor communication can be one of the biggest pitfalls of remote work. When you are not sitting next to each other, it is important to give extra attention to your communication style and frequency.
Select the communication channel that is most appropriate for your message, whether chat, email, or a virtual meeting. Then choose clear and understandable language to convey your message. When working remotely and communicating virtually, it is important to be explicit as we cannot read each other’s body language or facial expressions. Remember, more communication is better.
5. Share your files
By sharing documents, everyone on the team can access the information or output that you have produced. Instead of saving to your desktop or personal cloud, save documents in shared cloud folders that allow colleagues to access them. Documents that are intended for some eyes only can still be saved on the cloud, with access limited to specific individuals or password protected.
Sharing documents is beneficial for knowledge sharing across the organisation, and its a great help to your supervisor too. Without in-person conversations, it is even more important that everyone can find the information they are looking for.
6. Schedule breaks
Set a timer or alarm to remind you to get out of your chair and do something else. Giving your brain a breakcan streamline your concentration level. A change of scenery like a walk around your block or even a quick power nap can do wonders for you. Making time to step away from your computer will help you be more productive and focused during the time you do work.
7. Turn your camera on
We all know that virtual meetings have their limitations. They are wonderful for conveying and sharing information, but the interpersonal interactions are distinctly less rich than in person. When it’s possible, it makes a huge difference to be able to see each other’s faces.
Cameras allow us to recognize facial expressions and body language that are otherwise unperceivable via virtual channels. So, while the camera may not be perfect, it is a worthwhile tool for our virtual meetings.
We all have times when the camera remains off: a poor internet connection, family in the background, or a messy room might keep the camera off for the afternoon. But when we are able, we try our best to turn the camera on.
Working from home offers great flexibility, but it can bring challenges too. Thoughtful consideration of our time, space, and communication strategies helps us to ensure that our work is comfortable and productive for the whole team.
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