Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, many companies are letting their employees do remote work. This means that they are prioritizing the health of their employees and the entire community, and that’s what we should all strive for.
Most of us from the tech industry are used to occasionally working from home, but this major change to a fully-remote workplace can be a great challenge. Changing the work schedule and working in the same room where you sleep can be challenging, at least at first. For those who aren’t used to remote work, this can be a significant motivation and productivity disruptor.
So, how do we stay motivated? How do we keep delivering with the same intensity, when we’re not in the same physical space? How can we completely replace in-person relations with online communication?
As our team is also going to work remotely for the following two weeks, we had a brief meeting to prepare for this switch. Our main goal during this period will be to communicate as much as we can, trying to maintain our work culture at the same level. Moreover, we will focus on strengthening the trust between our team members so that our clients don’t feel any difference at all.
Here are some tips we shared for more effective remote working:
Roles and tasks should be clearly defined
Before completely switching to remote mode, the team should have a brief meeting about what should happen during this period. Cover all the team objectives and make sure everyone understands what’s their role in fulfilling them. If necessary, review the contribution of every person and clarify their tasks.
It’s also important to highlight people’s roles in the team. In a chaotic period like this, the leader can become overwhelmed with everyone asking them about everything. Assigning other people with more significant roles can avoid this, giving greater importance to team communication.
The coronavirus is disrupting the stocks all over the world, and it might affect your business as well. That’s why, now, you have to be more careful than ever. Don’t lose your priorities. Re-prioritize in order to adjust to the situation and transparently announce all the changes to the entire team.
Have regular meetings
During your remote period, you must have regular meetings with your team to stay aligned. Set a particular time every day and talk even if there is nothing new to discuss. It’s very important to stay connected and keep the communication flow.
It’s better to have up-front scheduled meetings than to arrange everything last-minute and disrupt people’s schedules. If this becomes the only way you meet, you risk having some team members miss the meetings and lose communication.
Also, encourage video calls. Having a video call fosters a much closer relationship than talking only through audio, allowing everyone to see the non-verbal signs as well.
Set remote work boundaries
Although you’re out of sight, you shouldn’t be out of mind. Working remotely shouldn’t be the time when you lose control and do whatever you want, whenever you want to.
For starters, set working hours. When should everyone be online and available for communication? Set times when everyone will be taking breaks, so you are all together at the same time. Then, make a list of collaboration tools you’ll all be connected through.
As for individual boundaries, don’t stay in bed all day. Find a desk at your home you’ll turn into a temporary office. This will help your mind make a difference between “being at work” and being at home. Other people at your home will also know that you’re working and make fewer distractions.
Some of your colleagues might not be so experienced in remote work. In fact, many of them will probably be encountering it for the first time, especially if they haven’t been in the tech industry for too long.
Show patience and support towards them. There will be distractions and struggles. You’ll hear strange noises, the internet will disconnect, and some programs will load slower.
Have an understanding of these situations and don’t put pressure on your colleagues. The situation is already stressful and some people might not be handling it as well as you are.
Set team goals
Every team should set its own remote work goals. Working remotely doesn’t mean you should reduce your output unless your business is severely affected by the coronavirus.
Set goals for the day, the week, or even the month, if you decide to continue working in this mode. This way, even though you’re not together, your team will still be focusing on delivering a common outcome.
Take regular breaks
Working from home doesn’t mean you should be working all the time. Don’t get tempted to work through lunch or through coffee breaks. Don’t stay working after your regular working hours unless you want to find yourself exhausted at the end of the day.
If you were at the office, you probably wouldn’t stay at your desk for eight straight hours and work. You’d probably get up, meet your colleagues for a coffee, or simply get a breath of fresh air.
Well, now should be the same too. Get up, stretch, go outside for a while and give your brain a rest. When you come back, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to be productive.
The coronavirus is a threat that can disrupt a company’s workflow. However, modern companies should be flexible and adaptable to changes. This might not be the last situation of this kind and we should respond effectively, sticking to our business goals. We can use this time to try out new ways of working and make changes that can have positive long-term outcomes.
Aside from these productivity tips, don’t forget to follow all the WHO protective advice and take care of your health and the health of our entire community. Shopping and partying can wait. Health can’t.