It's six months to settling on a lazy chair at home to work, hoping to still return to the office soon. To simply be relieved from the temporary workspace set up on the bed and to enjoy physical proximity for meetings than playing the mute-unmute trauma on long video conference calls. To finally be using, 'working in office' than the trending phrase, 'work from home'.
Though the experience of working remotely is a chapter that’s six months old, a lot of us are still struggling to set in the new normal and to get work done.
1. Carve out a personal workspace
While we may not have control over the location of our work, we do have some control over our surroundings. To maintain a happy and productive work regime, we must treat a part of our home in the same way as we would treat our workspace at the office.
Having a clean arranged table/workspace, vital stationery, documents, a seating chair, electronic devices that connect you to colleagues and most importantly a fast internet connection helps create an ambience similar to that of your office space. This helps you settle into the work mode.
With these in proper order, working from home can be productive and efficient to achieve the goals of the day, in your own home cum office space, you architected.
2. Keep transparent communication in check
Not being nearby can often lead to communication going off track, misinterpreted and at times never reach the person intended. This causes chaos in collaboration and coordination.
Employing applications designed to connect and collude through video conferences seamlessly over miles (Hangouts, G-Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams), send synced documents (Google Suite), file storage tool (Google Drive), instant messaging tool (Slack) can make communication effortless. Even sharing calendars (Google Calendars) or the task for the day list (Evernote) with the team, enables faster and open communication. Adding to these is the traditional phone call that can be like the cherry on the top- beneficial in the time of a crisis.
We have daily huddles where we talk about objectives set for the day and the week. This helps us to understand our progress both individually and as a team. We also have introduced monthly town-halls where we discuss everything starting from numbers to the roadmap ahead to the areas where we are falling behind and need to buckle up. Such transparent communication helps us understand things on a broader level, and the roles each of us need to play in the smooth sailing of the ship.
3. Keep up with your routine
Remote working and procrastination often go hand-in-hand, given the untimely naps, scrolling on social media or evitable hunger breaks. Experts state that a remote working environment may often not render the ambience of the workplace, postponing the office tasks from the targeted deadline.
Thus, managing work from a remote environment can be difficult and procrastination only makes it harder. Making a schedule for the workday/workweek could aid this.
Tools like Google Calendars, Google Keep and Jamboard can be of great assistance. They help remember tasks, make a note or maintain a to-do list, easily synced with all. Adding an advantage, having a routine also helps update work to the team and makes sure that deadlines and targets are met on time.
4) Ensure team bonding, virtually
Remember the chai sessions, trips and numerous celebrations in the office?
With remote working, most companies are still trying to get a hold of the work and pull through. In such struggles, team bonding gestures are left behind, making the team and work atmosphere dull and tedious. This can eliminate the fun to work and build pressure on targets, deadlines and even daily submissions.
'Rebuilding the bond'. Through online games and virtual chai sessions organised once in a while, the whole team can engage in fun and steam off some pressure, re-bonding just like the old times.
What can't be given up?
As proximity is still under consideration, there can be several situations that can confuse, lack of communication and office malfunctioning. Here is a major thing that can't be compromised with, at any cost.
Make sure everyone is on the same page
Even the best teams might sometimes struggle to communicate effectively given the fact that you are not able to see the person on the other side properly, their body language, or whether they comprehend what you are saying.
What can be done? Making sure that the message you conveyed was understood as meant is the first step. Double-check to see if messages were properly delivered and understood as expected through channels, even on a traditional phone call.
Pulling it all together
As the workplace is now your home, in a literal sense, keeping a line of difference would be important. Having a space between office hours and personal matters is necessary to keep both on the right track, providing each with the necessary time. This helps you maintain sanity and also keeps you happy and calm.
Narrowing down the key takeaways:
- Effective, transparent communication is key
- Apply a varied approach to your team bonding
- Keep a dedicated office workspace