Self-management, empathy for each other, and productivity are essential to the mindset of working in (and working with others in) a remote, distributed or work from home environment.
Practice “remote hygiene”
- Regardless of whether one person, many persons or all persons are working from a distributed environment—responding in a timely manner, attending meetings on time, ending meetings on time, delivering work products at the same quality and in a timely manner are key to ensuring everyone thrives.
- Imagine remote working is the same as being in the office. Continue to host meetings and create space for collaboration to happen. Do not reschedule or cancel because you are working remotely.
Quickly establish communication norms
- Encourage collaboration on video-conference meetings and in written form via Slack channels to keep real-time decisions moving forward.
- Consider how each of us is creating inclusivity across every interaction, virtual, in person, and in written communications.
- If you haven’t yet decided on communication tools to use for collaboration, select those now. Write down what you use and their purpose. Share these guidelines with all members of teams and working groups.
- Review your communication practices (frequently as you begin new habits, and moderately as habits become the norm) to ensure collaboration and connection are consistently improving.
- Increase “meetings” with additional virtual standups to ensure everyone has clarity about their work for the day, week, month, quarter. Create more formal times for your team and organization to get together as informal times will likely be fewer.
Self-manage yourself at home
Establish new routines:
- Consider what your regular morning and evening routines are and adapt them to maintain consistent “working” hours.
- Still “commute” to work. Your ability to mentally shift from “home to work” and back again is important. Try to model your morning routines (showers, teeth brushing, breakfast) and implement a new commute. This could be doing some in-home yoga, meditation, reading a chapter of your book, making your smoothie or coffee in the kitchen and then “Turning on” work.
- If possible, have a dedicated workspace
- Consider what new protocols you need for making your workspace at home a productive place (what distractions — both people and other activities — need to be limited? What physical space can you devote to working from home – even if it is just temporarily during work hours)
- Structure your day the way you would when you’re in the office, take your lunch, do a coffee break, get up to stretch…
- Monitor your ability to “switch off” your work at an appropriate time of the day. A good rule of thumb is, when you would usually stop working, “leave” your work at your workspace—or pack it up if you are temporarily using your kitchen table.
Maintain social elements
- For some, removing the social element from work can feel isolating. Consider what level of social exposure helps you work at your best. Look for ways that you can create that virtually (ie. planning virtual coffees, eating lunch together on Facetime, planning to go for a walk in nature or a workout before or after work).
Get up and move!
- At the office, there are several times a day when you move. Create new times to “move”. For example, every time you need to meet with
- someone virtually, stand up, walk around and then go to the meeting.
- If you have a standing desk at home or (or build a make-shift one), try to take some of your meetings standing up.
Upgrade/update your collaborative rhythms
- Ensure you’re working in-sync with your colleagues for inter-dependent projects
- Review your to-do list system, it should be in alignment with your work-groups
- Plan meetings proactively ensuring individuals are able to work at their own pace and can plan for the meeting time
Looking for more tips on working from home?