COVID-19 has had an immediate impact on how all of us live and work. As we adjust to new standards for ensuring our own health, as well as the health of our personal and professional community, working virtually, or ‘Working from Home’ (WFH), has become a critical element for maximizing our business opportunities while minimizing our exposure risk.
Did you know that approximately half of CSI’s staff are dispersed throughout the country and work virtually every day? Yep! Many of us are used to remote work.
For those professionals who are new to WFH, or even those experienced pros who may be adjusting to all the new faces showing up in their video feeds, we wanted to provide our top 10 tips for WFH success.
Enjoy, and take care of yourself!
1. Set a schedule
- Begin and end your day at a specific time—much like you would a regular office schedule.
- Establish a morning routine. Take a shower and get dressed, go for a walk or drive as your ‘commute.’ Do not work in your pajamas!
- Take normal breaks (including lunch). Without office interruptions, WFH can lead to working nonstop. It is easy to get in the zone and not move for eight to 10 hours, so keep your energy high with mini-breaks to mimic office breaks.
- End your day. When you leave your ‘office’ be 100 percent at home, many people do not realize how much harder it is to leave work when you WFH.
2. Create your ‘office’
- As much as you are able during this time, find a dedicated workspace. That space is not your couch and TVs are not part of your office.
3. Video is important. Save yourself time!
- 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. Using video lets you see your colleagues in real-time, while creating more of a community environment.
- Use video for regular and pop-up meetings—it allows you to be more effective and creates quicker opportunities for collaboration because you see body language and facial expressions.
- If your organization does not already offer a platform, there are a variety of tools including Zoom, Google Meet, Whereby, GoToMeeting you can easily implement.
4. Stay engaged during meetings
- Avoid multi-tasking during the meeting. Not only is it rude, it does not facilitate effective meetings.
- Arrive early if you want to provide some time for socialization/free flowing conversation prior to the meeting.
5. Set rules of the road for communication with your teams
A few examples:
- If a project or issue takes more than three e-mails, pick up the phone or schedule a video chat to speak personally.
- Use chat for conversations that require minimal back and forth. Call for in-depth conversations (it is quicker in the end).
- Calling someone without a meeting is akin to ‘dropping by’ an office. Sometimes that person is available and sometimes not. They will answer if they can.
6. Communicate to connect
- Be purposeful to create virtual water cooler talk.
- Use your webcam and video conferencing.
- Reach out to co-workers via phone or video when feeling you need to interact, not just email/chat.
7. Communicate what you expect your availability will be with supervisors and your team members
- Update your calendar to reflect your availability, and let your team known in advance when you expect to be out.
8. When time permits, be sure and check in with your colleagues regarding their health and their family’s health
- These are trying times, and we all need to see where and when we can support each other, and to also be willing to let others know when we need extra support.
- The CSI Community is this association’s greatest strength. Our ability to rely on each other, and be there for each other, is essential to all of us.
9. Use project management and team communication software to interact with your colleagues and employees in real time
- At CSI, we use the Microsoft Office products to do this—Skype primarily.
- Other options exist, such as Slack, Mondays.com, Basecamp, etc.
10. Enjoy it! Working remotely can be a wonderful experience and right now, it can also be critical to your health.
Want to share your own examples of how to make WFH a success? Go to the CSI-Connect Community and let everyone know how you make Working from Home work.
*This article is from a blog post that first appeared on the CSI website.