Make remote working work for you, your team and your business
As COVID-19 continues and as the Government announces an extension on social distancing measures, more people are working from home than ever before. Things may be different for those out on the road right now, but we also appreciate that life is very different for operational staff who have made the switch from an office environment to home working.
It may feel like home working should just be a simple transition but for those who aren’t use to working from home, it can become a daily battle. Current circumstances have also made remote working quite different from the ‘standard’ home-working that some may be used to, with added distractions from other family members, house mates or children, who also find themselves confined to the same environment.
If you – or any of your team members – are working from home, you may find these tips useful.
How to stay productive while working from home
Working from home may seem great at first; no commute or the need to wear a uniform or work wear. However, it can also be distracting with house chores, family, home-schooling, pets and TV quickly shifting your attention. There are a few things you can do to eliminate distractions and boost productivity:
- Firstly, set and follow a schedule. Set yourself clear goals and start with your usual routine. Simple tasks like getting up, getting a shower, making breakfast and get dressed for work. You don’t have to get suited and booted, but it certainly helps you switch from home-mode to work-mode if you’re not in your pyjamas!
- Start your day with the biggest challenge first. Completing the most daunting task before anything else means you have achieved something big, first thing, leaving any other tasks smaller and easier to accomplish.
- Try not to multitask and focus your efforts on one thing at a time (if you can). Move on to the next task when you’ve ticked the last one off your list.
- Take part in video chat whenever possible. This will help with motivation, more so than a telephone call. It also allows you to bond with your team members and touch base on other non-related topics that you probably would have chatted about in the work kitchen, had you been there.
- Take regular breaks. It’s difficult to work constantly, grafting away at full throttle, 24/7. You soon lose concentration and productivity suffers. Not only that, but it’s also not good for your mental and physical health. Take regular breaks by setting a mini agenda, and take your lunch – away from the computer, go outside if you can to get some fresh air. You will be ready to come back for the afternoon shift with a clearer mind.
- Create a work space that is separate from your home. Try and stick to the hours you would be working in the office and at the end of your day, switch off, mentally and literally by turning off any work-related devices. Move laptops, desk tops or any other hardware away from your home area so you can leave it behind.
Communicating effectively with your team
Although communications are limited due to the current circumstances, you can still communicate effectively with members of your team.
You could do this by:
- Using your online chat to replicate office conversations. As per the previous point above, it’s still important to get involved with non-work-related conversations with your colleagues as you normally would in an office environment when visiting another department, or popping to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
- Scheduling daily or weekly meetings with your team members.
- Reflecting with your team on the previous days’ tasks completed. Once you’ve reflected on your achievements, discuss what tasks are on your to-do list for the day ahead, and make yourself accountable.
- Carrying out daily check-ins with team members. You could also do this with other colleagues from a different department. Chat to other people, not just those who are part of your immediate core team.
Managing a team, remotely
Although overseeing a team whilst all working remotely presents itself with new, unique challenges, you can still overcome challenges and reach goals if the planning and communication is done effectively.
- Set out clear goals and manage expectations clearly. Think about what the main objectives are right now and from that, what are the goals that should be set? Write up an agenda for a team video call and assign responsibilities to each of your team. Agree what tasks should be done by who, and how often updates should be made, who to and in what form.
- Check in regularly with your direct reports on a one-to-one basis. Don’t just rely on group calls, nip issues in the bud quickly by continuing to have direct conversations with each member of your team directly.
- Provide regular feedback and keep in regular contact to help guide your team.
- Keep employees up to date with relevant information. It’s harder to ‘stay in the loop’ when you’re not in an office environment and are working alone. More communication is always better than less.
Looking out for mental and physical well-being
Remote working is just one transition many people are having to get used to. Many of us and experiencing added pressures and stresses during this time, so it’s important that you look after your own mental and physical well-being, and look out for others’.
We shared some top tips for drivers who are, for a number of reasons, already a high risk group when it comes to their mental health. Coronavirus only adds to that, but these tips are certainly worth the read for drivers, or any one else wanting to look out for their own, or friends, family members, or colleagues, health.
View these top tips here.