With many people experiencing remote work for the first time I thought it would be beneficial to share some of my experiences, ideas, and thoughts on how to make remote work successful for those starting it for the first time. While many people have worked remotely with their organization already, in this post we’ll be focusing on the transition, both the cultural and digital transformation, you’ll need to be aware of when exploring the idea of remote work.
Defined Workspace & Routine
The ability to stay “on task” and still maintaining a good work/home life balance, even when you are working from home is critical. Key to this is establishing a “work” routine, even when you are in your own home. This will differ from person to person, but for many, this begins with defining both a place and time to work in your own home. Whether it on your laptop on the kitchen table, a desktop in your bedroom, or if you have a spare room or corner of your house. Defining your “home office” during your time for remote working is important toward maintaining concentration and a workplace mentality.
Once you have your workspace defined it is also important to establish a working routine, for some it might be a large preparing a pot of coffee before they boot up their laptop, some might get dressed as if they were going to work, but still working from home. I have read of others who developed routines that involved walking out of their house, then re-entering it with new psychology. No matter your routine it is important to develop one early, and then stick with it if you want long term success while you are remote working.
High-Speed Internet & Contingencies
This may seem obvious but the recent Coronavirus outbreak has exposed critical weaknesses in our national infrastructure. Even if you do have high-speed access it may not be the most reliable. There are few things more frustrating than trying to work remotely and having your VPN session time out due to poor connectivity or your voice to get constantly distorted as your teleconferencing software struggles with your connection. If your internet connectivity is poor, your coworkers will stop calling and collaboration will be harder.
Be sure to test the wireless connectivity in your home, update your routers and access points, and depending on your connection and workspace consider running a hardline to your work area for the best possible connection. It is also important to have backup plans in place; in case your landline ISP is ever interrupted look into options to turn your phone into a hotspot or if your mobile provider offers home internet options with dedicated wireless modems. With the ready deployment of 4G, and 5G right on the horizon, if you can’t get a good landline connection a pure wireless solution may be practical.
Remote workers are expected to be good with time management and a key to this is being well organized. It’s not something everyone is good at, especially if you are not well-practiced, but with some mindfulness, and a little effort, it is not such a herculean task to handle.
Practice Consistency: Hold yourself and your team accountable for establishing a routine schedule and sticking to it. Be it remote meetings, coworker check-ins, regular reports. Establishing a consistent routine will make the transition easier for all involved and streamline future collaboration.
Good Notetaking: There are many great and collaborative tools for this, popular ones include Microsoft OneNote and Evernote. No matter your software of choice making sure everyone on your team is attentive, listens, and takes note during each call will have everyone working more efficiently, makes sure nothing is repeated and helps everyone stay on task knowing their goals, expectations, and responsibilities in whatever project is on hand.
Touch Base Often: Not being in a shared space anymore means you will no longer benefit from seeing someone in passing in the office and reminding or mentioning something to each other quickly. This is why when working remotely it is important to communicate both clearly and often. Don’t just limit yourself to email, consider other collaborative tools like Slack, Instant Messaging, or Microsoft Teams to make sure your presence is known.
There is a wide variety of software and services that can help make your remote work experience easier. They can be the remote desktop tools provided by your IT department to access your internal networks to collaborative and cloud tools to help you communicate better with your team.
When planning your remote work session, it is important to conduct a needs assessment and determine what basic capabilities you need at home to work and consult with your team about finding the best tool for the job. Engage your team and your technology department and explore all the options available to you.
Starting Remote Work?
TierFive Can Help
If you need help planning your remote work transition feel free to call us here at TierFive to learn about our Business Continuity solutions. If you find yourself working with a lot of physical documents consider TierFive Imaging’s Document Scanning service which can help you reach your compliance and remote work goals by digitizing your paper archives.