COVID-19 is leaving both employees and employers with questions on how they should continue working while staying, and keeping others, safe and healthy. If your company’s decided to work remotely for the time being, here are some tips for how to carry on your work as usual, while working from home.
It’s not a surprise that working remotely can feel as though certain means of accountability fall to the wayside. Not making direct eye contact with your manager might mean they forget about that project you owe them. And it might feel like not a big deal to postpone meetings or deadlines because I simply feel more arbitrary when working remotely.
As an employee who’s been working remotely full time for 2 years now, the best piece of advice I can give any remote team is to over-communicate.
These days, companies often have messaging systems to communicate interdepartmentally. These systems become especially important when your team no longer shares an office. If you’re used to working in an office, it may take some time to get used to communicating more via messaging apps or email but It’s crucial to staying in sync and on top of goals as a team.
While over-communicating may sound like more work, you’ll actually find that being completely transparent and timely in your communication will save your team world of headaches, miscommunications, and dropped balls down the road.
Video conferencing is your best friend
Leading from our last point, not everything is communicated perfectly over messaging apps. Don’t be afraid to hop on quick 5-minute video calls with your team to get on the same page.
Companies should do their best to set the standard that video calls among teams don’t need to be perfect or polished. This way, teams are much more likely to feel as though they can ask for a short call with a manager or coworker without feeling like they’re imposing or asking for a lot.
Aside from being great for communication, video conferencing is a great way to lift morale and feel connected to your company as a whole. Teams can even take this a step further by creating team bonding initiatives, even working remotely. Since writing this blog, our team has decided to work remotely for the time being but still plan to keep up the team spirit by:
- Keeping up with our Friday Scouted Tunes (our collaborative weekly Spotify playlist)
- Continuing to provide Tuesday team lunches
- Planning themed/spirit days
- Organizing a simultaneous podcast stream & team-wide discussion
(Ideas courtesy of our Co-founder, Jax).
Structure and defined expectations are crucial
There are two types of structure we’re talking about when it comes to working remotely: the structure you set for yourself throughout your day and week, and the structure your company sets for itself and its departments. Like we said while working remotely it can be easy for assignments to fall to the wayside because of a feeling of less accountability.
The thing is, if you want to do your job the very best you can, it should be your desire to set up accountability and structure for yourself in order to do that. Don’t wait until your manager asks you if you’ve completed a project. Schedule regular meetings with them and be proactive about holding yourself accountable so others don’t need to do it for you.
As a remote employee, I have meetings with my manager at the start and end of each week. One meeting to sync on my goals for the week and the latter meeting to talk about what actually got done, where I might need help, and how I’m feeling about the projects I’m working on. For me, this has been really helpful to set very clear expectations for the week and to know that there will be helpful accountability at the end. It helps me create small, achievable goals that are broken down into realistic segments that I can complete from week to week.
From working remotely, I’ve learned that accountability isn’t scary or annoying, it helps us achieve more. I’ve also learned that creating large goals for each quarter and then breaking them down by tasks for each month and week is a great way to get big things done without feeling overwhelmed.
There’s a very good chance that if you’re reading this, your company has decided to work remotely or has at least talked about the possibility. Do you have concerns with working remotely or are you up for the challenge? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll do our best to respond!