The need to adhere to social distancing has resulted in millions of workers around the world, setting up their very own home office for the first time. When done right, working remotely can lead to improved focus, efficiency and as a result, improved performance.
As a company, we have been well equipped to handle a remote workforce, with many of our staff members and colleagues already working in a distributed manner, and most of the work we carry out for clients being carried out remotely, often using distributed teams. Consequently, we have procedures, systems and staff who are already geared to delivering exceptional work while working remotely. On top of this, we will be implementing extra measures to ensure positive results for productivity and the mental health of our teams during these stressful times. Given our existing experience of delivering results while managing distributed teams and a remote workforce, we thought it was worthwhile to share some of the essential tips we recommend for sustainable long-term success.
Establish a clear and acknowledged way of communicating with your colleagues.
Understanding the shared expectations for communication saves time and avoids confusion. For many, this will result in a slight increase in the number of short, regular WIP updates.
This is extra important when working across different time zones.
Use video conferencing.
This is an important aspect of building trust and rapport. The more often you get to show your face to your colleagues, the more likely it is that they will feel a human connection to you and thus improving the sense of you belonging to a team for both parties.
Update your status on workplace chat.
Keeping an accurate status, including sharing what you are working on, helps your teammates know when to contact you.
Visualise your work and share it regularly.
Keeping a shared WIP document helps others to plan their dependencies around your work. It also avoids several people doing the same thing at once.
Timebox your work.
Working in short 15-25 minute sessions with short breaks in between helps you focus.
Regularly evaluate and learn about what works for you and your team.
Doing remote retrospectives together with colleagues will allow you to learn from each other and improve how you work remotely as a team.
Separate working space from private space.
Setting aside a specific place for work helps to keep a mental barrier between work and home life. This makes it easier to maintain a work-life balance. Ideally, find a workspace with access to natural light, minimal clutter and a comfortable chair for your back.
Separate working hours from non-working hours.
Make sure your work life doesn’t encroach on your home life and vice versa. Daily habits ensure long-term sustainable health and success.
Keep a daily routine.
Just as you would when working from an office, a daily routine helps you get in the right frame of mind for working.
Dress for work.
An extension of the point above is to continue to present as if you were still coming into the office. Not only will this help add to the mental separation between work time and personal time, but it will also help maintain trust between you, your clients and your colleagues.
Keep in touch with your colleagues.
Socialising with colleagues helps reduce the feeling of isolation that can come with remote work. Things like virtual lunch breaks can provide a good, reliable, regular place for people who feel like catching up.
Keep in touch with your manager.
Keeping needs and expectations aligned builds trust, improves efficiency and increases your visibility. This is essential for your personal success and development and leads to a better experience and result for our customers.
Remember that the kitchen and water cooler catch-ups no longer happen incidentally. Make an effort to share funny stories, links, jokes and videos in designated channels for the social interaction of your team on your workplace chat, intranet or slack.
Stay safe. And, if you’d like to talk to us about how our remote team can help your system handle billions of concurrent users, get in touch.