Tips On Working Remotely

Written by Mathieu Yuill

March 23, 2020

Working remotely can be tough – this week we look at tips for surviving working from home, a coffee shop or shared workspace

 

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Transcript

Good day, and welcome to the leading with nice daily. My name is Mathieu Yuill in this week. We are at least we two into the COVID-19 situation. So most likely you have been at home and if not at home you are going to your work. And then coming home, I know some people are not, under a quasi quarantine like others, but many of us are. So this week I thought we would talk about something that, I personally had to adjust to when I began consulting and that is, figuring out how to work remotely. So this week we’ll talk specifically about working at home with a few remote work tips thrown in. And today I want to talk about the biggest aspect, the biggest challenge of working at home. And that can be the isolation or the feeling of loneliness because when you’re in the office, even if you don’t talk to people if you kind of go in and put your head down and do your work, there’s activity around you.

There are, people, doing things and it can feel isolating and lonely at home. So here’s the first tip. You’re going to have online meetings. You’re going to talk to people either through video chat or through a text. And so the first tip is just to give yourself permission to spend the first few minutes of a meeting a couple of times a week to catch up on higher doing. Ask how the kids are, how their weekend was. Talk a bit about what’s going on in your neck of the woods. Just chat like you would at the water cooler or waiting at the elevator. Give yourself permission to do that. So I want to talk about distractions at home. This is a big one. If you have children or pets or family members who do not have similar hours to you. So perhaps you start your work at maybe 9:00 AM but before you finish the day they’ve come home or school lets out.

It can be hard to concentrate when this is happening. So my tip here is just to really be clear about setting boundaries with family members. So perhaps the rule can be if the office door is shot at, you’re unavailable. If you’re on the phone, you’re not to be bothered. Maybe if you work in a certain area of the home, like the basement, that area is out of bounds until a certain time of the day just to be really clear and help your family members also understand that you need that space to do your work. Also, if you have kids and you have to deal with PA days, snow days, sick days, you need to have a good Lu or flex-time policy at work to allow you to take those days off. If you don’t have that, I would say working remotely will not be a good thing or working from home will not be a good thing for you.

Now working at home can have so many benefits both for the organization and for the individual. However, it does come with challenges as well and one of those challenges is setting boundaries for yourself. It’s so easy when you first start working at home to sit down at your computer and you look up at the clock and it’s 7:00 PM after you started at eight 30 or nine. So a few tricks is to establish a work routine at the start of your work at home. Write it down on a calendar, set an alarm at 10:15 you take a 15 minute break at 12:30 you have a half an hour lunch and so on. Another tip that I like is I often schedule activities for myself shortly after when the end of my Workday should be. So maybe it’s taking one of my children to an event. Maybe it’s something that I’m doing myself. Maybe I’m meeting a friend for a coffee so I actually have to stop working in order to do that. Next thing, and another little trick is you’ll find that you won’t get up from your desk or you won’t get away from your work and it’ll really feel like a burden.

So take advantage of setting meetings that kind of break up your normal Workday. So you have to stop doing what you’re doing. Get up, get a coffee, come back for the online meeting. Now today we’re gonna talk about communicating with clarity. It’s so important when you’re working at home that you are intentional about being very clear in your communications. Now that could mean anything from being very specific in emails or following up and asking questions to make sure you have clarity, especially on things like when do you expect this to be completed by? When would you like me to approach this? Especially email, like in chat, you don’t know when you have seen the message or when the other person has seen the message. Unless you have a system in your remote work environment that says it’s been seen. But also you don’t have that ability to say, Hey, can you work on this? And the person’s respond and says, well, I’ve just have two other things on my plate right away.

The other thing you really want to be intentional about is having a rule on how fast you will respond to somebody. Put it on your voicemail, put it on an out of office alert, put it on a return email. Just be very clear about when you will be replying to somebody and letting them know. One of the things too is because you’ll be taking lunch at times that work for you. People won’t know that you’re not at your desk, they might be ringing, they might be emailing and wanting to respond. So share your schedule. Let people know when you’re leaving your desk, when you’re going to be on a phone call or in a meeting or somewhere else, that is so beneficial for your teammates who are also probably working remotely to know what you are doing, where you are and when they can expect to hear from you. And finally, if you have questions, ask, pick up the phone. Don’t rely only on email and instant messaging, a software and online collaboration tools. Pick up the phone and ask. Have that conversation. And building trust is so important. It’s really without it, you cannot function and be successful working remotely. And the first thing I want you to do, you should do is just kind of a mishmash of two things we’ve talked about already.

One, you don’t have that ability to discuss and chitchat at the water cooler and the break room like you do if you’re working in a workplace. So if you’re leading a team, I really want to encourage you to set up a weekly or monthly or biweekly group chat. Maybe it’s a coffee time, you do for 15 minutes, maybe it’s a half-hour lunch. You all take together once a once a month at your desks remotely. But you know, leads and conversation, curate that conversation, engage people, you having conversation and eating together is shown to be a great way to build trust in a work environment. So that’s the first thing you can do on your own. The second thing is, you know, when somebody helps you out or does something or just you know you, you want to appreciate their work, tell them that. Send a note even better yet, phone them and say, Hey, you know how on Monday morning you always have those reports ready for me? I just really appreciate that. Now we know that it’s their job. They’re supposed to do it, but showing gratitude can go a long way to building trust.

And lastly, most importantly, when you work remotely, you need to do what you’re going to do by when you say you’re going to do it. That is a currency is just keeping your word, especially when you work online or from home. You need to do what you say you’re going to do by when you say you’re going to do it. All of this is available in a guide on our website Leadingwithnice.com so check it out because we want to help you inspire others, build loyalty and get results. Talk to you again next week.

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