With the outbreak of coronavirus, many companies have their employees working remotely from the comfort and safety of their home. Some of us have easily adapted to the change, while those who are dealing with this situation for the first time may be running into some challenges. We may not have our colleagues across our desks to chat, ask questions, or have coffee breaks with. Employees may also miss the counsel and guidance of their supervisors or senior leadership. Some individuals may run into challenges with organizing schedules, properly communicating via text or phone, or even coordinating with various colleagues across the organization on tasks or assignments.
In this article we share a few creative tips to stay engaged and connected with colleagues while working from home. It is one thing to continue to show similar productivity levels, and another to do it with enthusiasm and ease.
You can use the tools we shared in the previous article, for managing tasks and to effectively communicate as a team.
- Wear work clothes, apply make-up, set up your workplace including desk and sticky notes in a comfortable enough space, have adequate supply of coffee and make a checklist of everything else which you need while at work. Maybe ditch everything and do what makes you feel comfortable to get into the mood of working, while at home. The main thing is to get work done productively and efficiently. Experiment and see what works best for you.
- Continue to have lunch together with your peers. How? Put on that video conference and bring your lunch to your desk and chat with your peers and eat together. This is a great way to continue to stay engaged and connected, other than the usual standup meetings.
- Continue to schedule pizza for Fridays if those are your Pizza days at work. It can get delivery to your individual houses and eat your slices along with your friends, do that (of course virtually).
- People with young children would initially take some time to settle down. Be patient with yourself. There is nothing wrong with having your children watch educational videos online or a good children’s program on the TV, if that is what it takes for you to have an uninterrupted couple of hours to get the day’s tasks done. Take the assistance of other family members, or extended family. It is also a good time to ask for grandparents to spend some quality time with their grandchildren. Yes, we hear you, elders are more susceptible to contracting the infection sooner, so we need to be extra cautious in this whole thing. Indirectly, you are also having your elderly family in close quarters where you can take good care of them.
- Establish boundaries with your peers, managers and other colleagues. Continue to maintain your work hours and surely your employers would understand too. After all, they are human too, have their own families, and would understand your time boundaries.
- Take coffee breaks just like you would do at work. Be conscious and aware to not take too many or too little. It is easy to lose track of time, because you are at home. Encourage virtual water cooler talks. Schedule 15 minutes to just chat with your teammates on video conference about general topics, without mentioning work. You have your everyday standup meetings for work related chats.
- Answer your phone promptly, stay up on your text messages, check for emails more often. Remember, all your colleagues are working from home too, and it doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Request for better communication. For example more virtual meetings for better clarity may be useful and help out colleagues in need. It applies for you too. They would surely return the favor.
- Find your work-life harmony. Remember, all of us are at home. We all need a break from work and from each other too. We also need to bond as a family and stay together in this time of crisis. Schedule fun family activities such as board games (sanitize the board and the dice), chat virtually with friends and family staying elsewhere regularly, and stay connected.
- Remember to meditate. We are already socially isolated in a physical sense. The least we can do is to go inwards and try some relaxation and meditation techniques. It would also help relieve any anxiety and fear. A good meditation routine helps enhance time management skills, improve family well-being and handle workplace burnout and stress. If you want to try a free meditation app, with built in relaxation techniques, check out HeartsApp.
To do our part in helping humanity overcome this difficult challenge, we are providing a FREE Webinar on Strategies to Rebalance Work and Life. Nick Reddin, the Vice President of ATC is all set to share some insight on best practices to help navigate the working remote challenges.