How to work from home, the right way
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Global companies, from the UK to the US, Japan to South Korea, have recently rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of the new virus.
Working from home will become the new normal for many. Some employees will be working from home for the first time, and need to figure out how to stay on task.
The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.
To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.
The abrupt shift from an office to a home environment could leave you struggling to get used to the sudden change.
Try to sustain a semblance of normalcy. Try virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours. Celebrate birthdays, give public praise for goals reached, and projects completed. Make time for casual conversations.
These are stressful times. You may worry about negative headlines or sick loved ones and put off communicating with your colleagues, contributing to feelings of isolation, which may lead to depression.
Solutions to this include as much face-to-face interaction online as possible through video calls, regular manager check-ins, and regular meetings with no agenda, like grabbing coffee or a drink.
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A remote worker has a constant blind-spot and is not able to use their full senses to gauge and tweak their work. This also makes them anxious and feel disconnected from the office proceedings. If handling a team remotely, ensure that the reporting/tracking of their work is transparent.
It helps to come prepared in meetings and answer questions in writing while providing a trace of context in your email/chat. Having a preset plan covering a couple of days helps reduce the constant interactions.
Transparency of communication ensures minimum ambiguity.
Use video communication as it provides an emotional connection with the team, ensuring that the equipment is working properly and there is no echo on the microphone/headphone.
Have at least two modes of internet connections available, broadband/fiber along with wi-fi.
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Many businesses all over the world are doing their part to limit unnecessary person-to-person interactions by requiring some or all of their employees to work from home for the time being.
To manage to push past the feeling of isolation, be sure to find ways to connect with your colleagues.
Use Slack throughout the day to see how people are doing, hop on Zoom to say hello, and don't be afraid to even share stupid memes and stories.
Spontaneous face to face chats that happen when you share a working space maintain a sense of alignment, and make possible tackling issues as they arise.
To keep this going while everybody works remote, schedule regular check-ins with flexible agendas. This opens the line for occasional communication throughout the week.
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