Navigating this current uncertainty given COVID-19 is no easy task. Many folks will not be fortunate enough to be afforded the opportunity to work from home to avoid getting or passing along this virus. I am so heartened to see how many companies are permitting work from home as a way to reduce the spread of illness, and further, how many are agreeing to pay those hourly workers given how their jobs rely on office workers being present, well, in the office.
If you are fortunate enough to work from home on occasion or as a steady state, then you may already have your spot set up–proper monitors, microphones, and location away from barking dogs and kids who need help with homework. And the coffee is always as you like it!
For those who are rarely given this option, this will be their time to shine. They may feel a bit lost at first, but will find that with some discipline, this could be a way to show more companies that this is a viable perk that actually brings about a higher level of productivity. When this all passes, this may be a new option if this practice round is successful.
“With great freedom comes great responsibility.”
To you, the newly minted “remote worker,” here are some tips to get situated:
- Establish your work area and keep it sacred.
- Clutter and/or reminders of household responsibilities will make it harder to focus and be productive.
- Use your calendar more strictly than you have before.
- Mark time to do your actual work so no one carves meetings out and pushes your deadlines.
- Confirm and over-communicate your deliverables to your manager(s).
- This instills a two-way piece of mind that you are working–and working on what you know your manager has prioritized.
- Use your remote tools to keep the rhythm of the office flowing into the various new “remote” locations.
- Messenger apps for quick questions.
- Impromptu video calls for short/drive by convos.
For managers who generally have teams onsite and who had exactly NO more room to accomplish their goals for Q1, first, I’m sorry and I know this is an unprecedented time. But you may be able to swing this into a good thing, and here’s how:
- If you don’t have one already, set up a common Slack or Hangout channel.
- You will only have to say things once in channel and stuff will not get lost in DM hell.
- Be patient for the first few days as folks acclimate.
- You may be surprised at the efficiencies once people settle in.
- Remember they want to do a good job, make their deadlines, and may well be afraid of being perceived as unproductive working from home.
- Utilize your company’s resources to identify optional online training opportunities that will fill any gaps in your employees’ workday.
- Time previously spent with drive-bys and watercooler conversations will become that chance to uplevel employees who want to become more proficient in their technical areas.
- Consider proactively identifying where you could use some extra assistance and allow your team members to volunteer and rise up to help.
- This is the kind of circumstance where when we demonstrate as leaders that this too shall pass and we can all rise up together, the team cohesion can increase exponentially.
With so much uncertainty out there– economic, social, political–remember to be kind to one another, assume good intentions, and take time to recognize the good fortune we have to work remotely and keep our companies moving forward.