10 Tips for Remote Work Success During a Pandemic
As COVID-19 bears down on us all, businesses must plan for the worst, hope for the best, and figure out how they can both survive – and thrive in this time of crisis.
Remote work is one of the answers. But if it’s new to your organization, it can be hard to know how to go about it. What best practices should your employees follow? How do you accomplish remote work in today’s zero-trust environment, without compromising security?
Here’s how to make remote work achievable for your business.
1. Start at the Top.
The CEO must maintain a strong presence in any online tools and channels and lead by example. By engaging with employees through messages and calls, video conferencing with management, and being part of the online conversation, the CEO demonstrates how to work remotely efficiently and securely.
This works because of the optics. When the CEO and other executives are all going completely remote while taking the necessary measures to protect the company’s sensitive information, they lead their employees by example.
2. Real telecommuters wear pants.
Forget about what everyone says. Telecommuting in your pajamas is a myth.
Start your day with a morning exercise routine. Then take your shower and dress for the day. This helps you mentally prepare for the workday ahead. These things help the shift from “morning stumble to the coffee pot” mode, to work mode. They are necessary parts of your daily routine. Don’t skip them. For long days in front of your PC, work clothing is often more comfortable than jeans.
3. Set Aside a Dedicated Workspace
Just because you’re not working at the office doesn’t mean you can’t have an office. Don’t coop yourself up in your bedroom or camp out on the couch. These are leisure spaces where you unwind after a long day at the office, not workspaces. You should also consider the space’s regular use. Your kitchen table may look perfect, but you don’t want to clear off your work every time you cook!
Set and communicate some basic rules for people you live with. For example, if my door is shut, do not interrupt my work. Remember that kids and pets do not belong in virtual meetings.
When choosing a dedicated workspace, look for the following:
- good lighting
- comfortable seating with a proper angle for your PC monitor or laptop
- easy access to electrical outlets
- a work surface for papers
- a private area away from other home-sharing members
4. Plan Your Workday Ahead of Time
Working from home requires both dedication and a degree of self-discipline. You are responsible for knowing what tasks must be accomplished today, tomorrow, and even next week and completing these tasks promptly. Planning takes time. Don’t start your day by figuring out what you’ll do today
Set yourself up for success by reviewing and updating your task list at the end of every workday. You may also want to look into time management methods like Getting Things Done, or 43 Folders. Don’t forget to communicate your plans to your upper management and project peers for alignment and synching with priorities.
5. Fear the Fridge
Let’s be honest. No one fights boredom at home by walking over and talking to their coworker. No, you turn on the television or walk to the kitchen. Believe it or not, this environment can make you less productive. It may also damage your waistline.
When you find yourself in this position, take fifteen minutes, and get moving. A brisk walk, short yoga session, jumping rope, or playing with the dog is a better choice.
6. Manage Your Working Hours
Today, being online is a 24/7 experience. Notifications flood our devices all hours of the day and night. Yes, this includes the digital office. However, being always available is not healthy. Working extremely long hours is also not healthy. Remote work encourages both because we often lose track of time spent online.
When the workday ends, go offline. To this end, CEOs need to set an example. If an emergency comes up, they will call.
7. Take Real Breaks
Every office has a rhythm—arrivals, departures, coffee, lunch, and meetings. We use these natural transitions to mark time. When you work from home, you lose these signals and may inadvertently skip breaks, work longer days, and even forget to eat. Mimic significant transitions, including your starting time, lunch, extended breaks, and ending time with recurring calendar events. Use a Pomodoro timer to enforce small, regular breaks from the computer screen.
Working from home means more screen time, not less. Don’t spend your breaks watching clips on YouTube. Get up from your desk and move. Also, take lunch away from your desk; the last thing you need is mayonnaise on your laptop screen.
8. Use a High Performing, Secure Connection
Make sure you have access to a strong internet connection. Spotty or unreliable internet poses a significant challenge for remote workers, especially if they must share access with others. Some organizations require that off-site employees use a VPN when accessing specific servers, the intranet, or other stored information intended for internal use. If employees need to use one of these VPNs, make sure they have access to training materials for the VPN and, possibly, a phone number for IT assistance.
9. Create Remote-First Experiences
When employees work from home, the employee experience becomes part of the customer experience. Establish clear remote work policies and equip your employees with mobile devices and software adapted and tested for your environment.
Incorporate your digital company culture, including communication preferences, into any bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Giving employees clear guidance here will prevent a digital divide among your employees. Don’t forget to clean all company and personal computers and devices daily.
10. Choose the Right Tools and Always Use Them
Good communication is the key to a successful telework strategy. Make a list of every digital tool you have available that facilitates communication. This includes text messaging, email, wikis, hangouts, and video conferences. Then take these tools and apply them to how you work. For example, use group chats as the backchannel during an online meeting.
Give your employees examples and options and allow them to select which they feel comfortable using. Let them retain some control, but not all.
Zoom, Teams, and GoToMeeting are all popular options.
Regardless of your choice, make sure you can discuss information freely and without fearing eavesdroppers. Also, ask whether identifying each participant or audience member on a call is necessary. By examining these two issues, you can make the best choice for your business.
When you connect with your peers, manager, and business partners, they need to hear you. Select a comfortable headset with good sound quality.
In general, over the ear or on-ear headsets are more comfortable for all-day use. Although Bluetooth headsets are convenient, you may need a backup USB headset, depending on the battery life.
Messaging Instead of Email
As a society, we expect quick and easy information exchanges, which partially explains the popularity of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Workplace messaging is real-time. Email is not.
However, these consumer-first messaging platforms have an advertising-based business model and are not designed for sensitive business use.
Check also: https://adeya.ch/whatsapp-alternative-for-enterprises/
Safe Document Storage
Regulations, investors, and clients all require that businesses handle confidential business data securely. Traditional file sharing via email, FTP, and VPN all have security flaws that may expose sensitive data. For employees, these methods are also not the most user-friendly. That’s why we integrated encrypted file-sharing into our communication and collaboration app.
Adeya Business – the Collaboration Swiss Army Knife
We understand that time is of the essence. Whether remote work is new to your organization, or maybe you need to quickly beef-up your available tools; you can deploy our Swiss-cloud solution throughout your organization within minutes, and teach your employees how to use it in under an hour.
Adeya Business is an all-in-one application. It provides real-time calls, video calls, SMS, instant messages, group chats, and file exchanges secured with military-grade encryption. You can also hold conference calls, share contacts throughout your organization, create communities, and manage tasks.
You don’t need new hardware. What you have should work. Adeya’s app installs on Android 6+ and iOS 11+ devices. You can also use the desktop version on Windows 10, macOS, or Linux.