Stay at home mandates from the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic has force businesses to use a work at home model. It’s incumbent upon these businesses to ensure that their remote employees stay engaged and productive. For many employees, remote working is a completely new way to work and will take some time to get adjusted. Here are a few tips that might help.
1. Create a daily schedule and priorities
It’s important in any situation to create a to-do list of daily activities and priorities. This becomes even more important when working remotely as you need to adapt to new distractions. Make sure you get your priorities done first and move to other tasks so that you’ll lighten your burden for the next day. When you get things done on your list and move on to items you may not have expected to, it can be very rewarding. Plan for unexpected or lack of child care support (especially for parents with young kids). Have a contingency plan set up for these situations and most important let your boss know that we may need to a couple of breaks during the day to support your family. Put it on your schedule like any other appointment and this way your boss and team can plan for you being out during those times.
2. Plan your day as you if you are going into an office
When you wake, try to keep your routine the same as it is when you go into the office. Get dressed, make or plan lunch meals and gather your work items. You can even simulate your commute. Go for a walk, sit in your car or make a run to Starbucks. When you get back home, make sure you have a dedicated quiet office space to set up in. Plan social and dedicated breaks. Have virtual coffees/happy hour, network with old colleagues, take a walk during these work breaks. Make sure you set dedicated start and end times to your work day. It’s also good to make meetings more interactive as if you are in the office, use Zoom, Teams, or FaceTime during meetings so that it’s not just pure phone conference calls. This will keep you focused and seeing your colleagues. Daily team meetings or 1:1s with various stakeholders in the business will hold everyone accountable for deliverables and deadline.
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3. Keep work meetings and correspondence fun and engaging
At WorkForce Software, we encourage everyone to get involved by sharing idea and let everyone know they are part of the company’s success. When employees began getting work at home mandates, we asked them for ideas to keep themselves and their colleagues healthy, active, engaged and productive and have begun implementing suggestions. This began with favorite exercise videos distributed company wide. We also wanted to continue popular work social functions. Our Book Swap consists of people bringing a favorite book, and explaining why they enjoyed it. Everyone would leave with a book that interested them. This was a great way for people to get to know colleagues and their interests and gave people at the office a discussion point to have with others they may not have previously associated with. We have now turned Book Swap into Virtual Book Swap. We meet online and people present their book. When selections are made, WorkForce Software pays for the delivery of that book to the employee’s home. Beyond the group activities, call in and check up on individual colleagues as if you were in the office checking dropping into their office. See how their day is going and if there is anything you can do to support them.