With the spread of COVID-19, more people are working from home. Whether you are a pro or novice at remote work, we can all agree that it's not as easy as it sounds. It takes a great amount of self-discipline, motivation and focus to remain productive… during a time that we all need to dig even deeper than before to combat new challenges.
So, employee engagement and communication is key! It is critical to stay connected with both internal and external contacts. Consider the following steps to maintain engagement and proactiveness:
Reach out to teammates to collaborate on ideas
Maintain external calls, even if there’s a request to push or cancel in the immediate future.
Share new tactics your customers, partners and employees can use during this unique time, to help them understand how they can lean on you in ways they haven't before
Additionally, here are 6 tips on how you can set yourself up for work-from-home success:
Put your pants on.
No, working from home doesn’t mean you get to stay in your PJs all day. Successful remote workers get dressed and follow the same morning routine as when going into the office. Get up, make coffee or tea, put work-appropriate clothes on, etc. The mental association that you make between the office and work can make you more productive, and there is no reason that link should be lost when working from home. Plus, when you look good, you feel good!
Create a dedicated workspace.
It's important to designate a space that is just for working. When this boundary is set, it is a lot easier to get your work done, be productive and minimize the distractions.
Optimize your schedule.
It is critical that you are available and responsive during the same work hours as in the office. Have clear guidelines for when you start and stop working so folks know when they can reach you but also to maintain work-life balance--no different than when in the office.
Secondly, take advantage of the convenience of remote work! Now that you are not commuting to work, use this gained time and energy to be more productive and get a head start on some work or be able to accommodate someone else’s time zone.
Finally, it's extremely easy to get distracted when working from home and not be as productive as in the office. To help combat this, you may want to implement daily manager / direct report meetings as well as daily team meetings to help hold each other accountable. That said, a constant start-stop of your work may be challenging. Try to schedule these meetings in a way that minimizes the interruptions – schedule one at the beginning of the day and one towards the end of the day, for example. Ensure you have periods of dedicated work time to focus and get in a groove.
Be clear and concise in your communication.
As a remote worker, communication via email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or any other messaging tool you use, is going to increase (yes, even more). It's time to brush up on our non-verbal communication skills as you won’t have the visual and verbal cues that normally help guide an in-office conversation. You will need to make sure that you are able to convey what you mean clearly and concisely in your message. Ask questions and seek clarity, but if you are going back and forth too much over email or in messages, don’t hesitate to request a quick conference call. Also, be courteous to others by making sure that you take the time to read and answer all your messages in a timely manner.
Set clear expectations with anyone else at home.
Even though you are home, you’re not “home.” Make sure any roommates, siblings, parents, spouses, and kids respect your space during work hours. Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you're home and available to engage in activities.That said, remember that you’re working from home... not the moon. Interacting with other people during the day is allowed, even if they're not your coworkers. In fact, it's a good idea to see another face during the day when most of your work day is solitary. A quick hello can be just the mental break needed to help motivate another work jam session!
Take time to chat around the (proverbial) water cooler.
Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. At home, it can be easy to stare at a screen for a longer period of time than you normally would in the office. Block your calendar for lunch and breaks to get up, stretch and get some fresh air. Use IM and conference call tools to connect with coworkers for socialization and quick mental breaks during the day. Connecting with coworkers is not only good for your mental health, but also for continued collaboration and maintaining the office culture and your connection to other employees until you return to normal work setups.
Need some additional tips on how to stay organized, motivated and productive? LinkedIn Learning is making several courses from LinkedIn Learning publicly available to help employees remain engaged and productive in their daily activities while working remotely.