At Accuware we are used to work remotely. Our team has the freedom to work from home, from the office and from wherever they like.
We started this habit back in 2010, when “smart working” was really rare and not considered a viable option for many companies.
We want to share some tips with you.
We strongly believe in the power of remote and smart working.
In this specific period, with the Coronavirus emergency spreading all over the world, many companies are offering the ability to work from home to their employees.
Some employees are pretty new to this. We know that sometimes it is not easy to adapt to this working style, we know that all the operations are going to be different. For this reason, let us share some suggestions that come from our direct experience. We hope that they can be useful for you.
1. Maintain Regular Hours
Yes, this sounds obvious, but it’s not.
Once you work from home you know that you can organize your hours and tasks. Flexibility is great, but be careful.
Set a schedule, and stick to it. At least, most of the times.
Having clear hours for when to work and when to take a break helps many remote workers maintain work/life balance.
Of course, sometimes you need to extend your day, sometimes you may have to start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone or to finish a project in time. When you do, try to balance by finishing early the following or previous day.
Do not try to be operational 24/7: this very often leads to being less productive and will make you hate working from home.
There are automatic time-tracking apps that you can use to be sure to stick to your schedule. Let us recommend TimeTune
2. Start your day, get dressed, set your office.
Create your morning routine, just like when you go to the office.
Get up, have breakfast if you’re used to it, and get dressed. You’re not leaving home, but getting dressed is proven to “trick your brain” and makes you more productive and constant during the day.
A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.
Then, choose where your “office” is going to be. It can be on the couch, on the kitchen table, on a desk in a studio, on the carpet. But pick your office for the day, and if you can, stick to it. This makes you think of that spot as your “office” and improves your concentration. Don’t work from bed, this can be really counter productive.
3. Schedule breaks
Working from home makes you forget about taking breaks or can make the breaks be too long or frequent.
Feel free to pick your best break schedule, whether it’s 5 minutes each hour or 15 minutes each 3 hours, plus a long break for a meal or to relax. You can also extend your working hours and add more breaks -some of us prefer to have long breaks but work till late.
This is up to you, but remember to disconnect from work every now and then, to let your brain cool down.
4. Communication is crucial
When working from home you miss the daily chats with colleagues and the in-person meetings.
But remember, communication is important and you should communicate with your managers, colleagues, employees each time it is needed. Whether it is a chat message, an email, a phone call, make sure to share your thoughts and doubts, to give inputs and to ask for clarifications each time you need.
However, don’t overload people with messages:
- When sending an email, read it twice. Make sure to include everything you need to add, to keep things simple and clear.
- Use chat systems when convenient not only for you but also for the other person. Make sure that you are not interrupting something important.
- Video calls are a great way to stay in touch and to quickly resolve several matters. But do not abuse of them. Sometimes, a quick email thread is way easier and does not require to allocate 30-60 minutes of time for a call.
- Use Whatsapp with diligence. Whatsapp is something personal and not everyone wants to mix personal life with business there. Use it only if you have the explicit consent from the recipient, and keep it on a professional level. If needed, create a dedicated group on Whatsapp, even if it’s just for two persons. This will separate business from personal life, in a way.
5. Use the right tools.
When working remotely it is fundamental to have the right tools to be efficient and to improve the productivity.
Make sure to have access from your computer to all the company’s software you need: CRM, ERP, SAP, shared repositories…
And think about implementing new tools.
- Slack is a great way to improve internal and external communication, in a kind of “chat/thread style”. It is well known and more and more companies are using it. It starts with a free plan which offers most of the times what you need.
- Zoom is becoming the standard video conference application. It is extremely reliable, stable, and offers several features and functionalities that other conf call software don’t have. At Accuware, along with Hangouts, it is our favorite communication tool.
- A project management tool, like Asana, to keep track of all the projects, pending tasks, work groups..
6. Be positive!
It is normal to feel alone sometimes when working remotely. It can also happen that you miss your colleagues and even your boss. You may wonder how you are doing since you do not receive feedback, you don’t know what the rest of your team is doing. You know that the less face time you have with people, the less they know how to interpret your tone in writing.
However you should always be positive and proactive. When you work remotely full-time, keep a positive vibe, till the point where people may think you’re being overly positive. If not, you risk sounding like the pessimistic one of the team. It’s unfortunate but true. When writing to your team, don’t hesitate to use emoji and exclamation marks to make sure to communicate the right tone. Ask to your colleagues how they are doing, sometimes they just want to speak with someone and have some human connections.
7. Take advantage of your free time.
When you work remotely you realize that sometimes you have plenty of time for yourself.
In that time, there are many things you can do. First of all, if you’re stressed and you just feel like doing nothing, go ahead and relax. Meditation and relax are important, don’t feel ashamed to take some time for yourself.
Another way to take advantage of this time is to improve yourself, enlarge your knowledge, learn a new language, follow courses.
There are many books you can read and courses you can follow. Masterclass.com is one of the best platforms where you can follow interesting courses by the masters of the industry. You can improve your professional skills or follow your personal interests and hobbies, or even learn new subjects and skills that can improve your professional career in the future.
Time is a finite resource, make sure to use it in the best possible way for yourself.