Remote Working Tips and Considerations
As more and more companies across the country are taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many employees are swapping their cubicles and offices for their kitchen tables – at least for the time being.
While working remotely from home has become increasingly popular in recent years, for those who are less familiar with getting down to business in their own digs, the experience can feel awkward and even daunting at times.
Staying productive, maintaining strong communication with colleagues and not letting work-life drift too much into home-life are all common concerns for the at-home worker, but with a few handy tips and tactics, you're sure to get into the swing of things in no time.
Working from Home Routine
Stick to a Schedule
Although the commute may be a lot shorter, it is important to be available when your employees are. Make time for breakfast and enjoy it outside or by the window. Ensure you are logging in to start your day when others do, taking breaks at a similar time, having lunch when everyone else is having lunch and shutting down at the end of the day when your coworkers are also unplugging.
Additionally, try not to answer the house phone or your front door to limit interruptions, and try not to leave the house to run essential errands during working hours because it can take you off track.
Maintaining the same work schedule as your peers will help you be responsive and available, and it will help you keep that feeling of routine throughout your week.
Keep a Work Appearance
Sure, apart from your pets, no one may be able to see you at home, but continuing the same styling and grooming habits will help keep your work routine steady, even if it’s just from the waist up on those Zoom calls.
Create a Work-Only Space
If it is possible, try to create a space in your home that is for work only. While you might not have a spare room to dedicate as a home office, try to create a 'work-only' station at a spare desk or table in the home.
Make a To-Do List
Make a list of what needs to be accomplished within your workday. This will help set boundaries around your work schedule, it will help you know what you have accomplished, what tasks remain to be completed and will provide you with a sense of accomplishment throughout the day.
Foster a Healthy Work Environment
Humans need natural light. Your workspace should not be cramped or dark. A healthy work environment also includes having the technology that you need to do your job. Please contact our Information Technology department if you have questions concerning your home workstation.
Also stock up on healthy snacks when that 4:00 p.m. slump hits. Make sure you make time to stretch, take a walk and call a friend or family member too.
Keep Communication Flowing
Our office social element we have with our jobs allows us to feel fulfilled at work. As a result, it is important to make sure you reach out and keep communication with your peers, bosses and employees. It’s important we all stay involved and accessible. Have fun with it too! Schedule virtual coffee or happy hours with your teams to keep that connection with one another.
Ergonomic Tips and Considerations
It can be easy to overlook ergonomics when you’re in a comfortable environment like your home, however, improper behaviors can still lead to long-term problems. The following practical tips will help you set up your workstation environment and gain pointers to maintain focus on your work and self-care.
- Assess your house for trip hazards and clean up items that can cause injuries
- Walk outside in the front or backyard to get fresh air periodically
- Move frequently and think of movement as your friend. Stretching periodically will make you more productive, encourage blood flow and wake up your body and keep muscles loose
- Change postures frequently, this is the most important tip make sure you move every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 minutes
Your Work Chair
- Pay attention to overall posture: sit up straight and relax your shoulders
- Make sure your chair supports your upper and lower back and is adjusted to the correct height (feet flat to the floor, the back of your thighs should not feel pressure).
- The monitor should be approximately an arm’s reach from the body (closer if you are experiencing “tech neck”).
Keyboard and mouse
- Place the keyboard and mouse under seated elbow height or waist height
- The keyboard and the mouse should be close to your body
There are many apps that can provide you stress relief during this time.
- Calm: guided meditations and breathing
- Forest: set a timer for how long you want to stay focused for. It builds a tree while you remain focused
- Map my run: tracks your movement activity
- Brainwave: supports your brain
- Mealtime: meal planning and grocery shopping
- Alexa: ask Alexa to play ocean sounds or soothing music
Managers: 8 Tips for Remote Work
At work there are many impromptu meetings, how often do you communicate now?
Communicate best practices to your team
Have a designated spot in your home to work.
Train your workforce on the virtual tools that you’re using
Not everyone understands Zoom, have training tools available to provide assistance if needed.
Value face-to-face interaction
Rather than having a phone call have a web/video conferencing via Zoom
Create virtual office atmosphere
Virtual lunchtime or coffee hour is a great idea!
One-on-ones frequent and consistent
Schedule times every day or every other day or decide what works best with your team members
Get to know each other
Send pictures of your animals, work area and continue to build relationships
Some employees at home are currently homeschooling children and distractions are happening around us. Understand we are all in this together and this is a time to support one another.
Conversations to have with your Team
Make it personal with each team member
- How are you adjusting to this new normal?
- How can I and the team support you?
- What’s going on in your world that will be helpful for me to know in the coming weeks/months?
- What policies need to be changed, abandoned, ignored, and suspended?
Productivity and Output
- Give a little bit of grace for those that are struggling
- Use 5-7 minutes at the beginning of meetings to ask uplifting/connecting questions
- Start the meeting by inviting people to breath
- What are you most proud of from this week?
- What creative idea did you try recently?
- How did you brighten someone’s day today?
- Video, email, text, chat
- Engage in activities every day that feed the spirit
- Provide consistent positive feedback
We are all adjusting to this new normal and it’s important to understand we are all in this together and we will support one another through this time. We are MBKU strong!