In response to COVID-19, many companies have asked their employees to work remotely. These new policies left many employees and their managers operating out of the office and separated from each other for the first time. Of course, it is preferable to establish clear remote work policies and training in advance in case of a crisis or uncertainties. However, this is not the case for many companies and teams out there that rely on going to the “Office” every day and have no way of accessing company resources from outside the building. Luckily, there are steps teams can take to improve engagement and productivity while working remotely, even if there is little time to prepare.
My team and I had to adjust and pivot quickly to adapt to everyone working remotely and not sharing our office space. These are some of the things we agree to as a team:
Face to Face interactions with each other during our team calls, which we hold 2-3 times a week as a team. This doesn’t mean I don’t speak to someone in my group daily. I believe daily engagement is necessary to support each other during this stay at home orders. Many employees, on the other hand, struggle with reduced access to leadership support and communication. To some, being able to walk into your colleague’s office and share a moment has been the hardest adjustment.
So how am I adjusting to this current situation?
I start every morning as I would if I was going into the office. Shower, dress in my office attire, make myself a cup of coffee, and head down to my home office at 8 am every morning. This allows me to have the structure in my day. I occasionally will hear my kids running upstairs during some of my calls, but that’s just part of working from home. Setting up our morning routine is so essential and is the base foundation for working from home. I have daily check-ins with my manager on projects that I’m currently working on and allows us to set up goals for the week.
How do I stay connected?
Email alone is insufficient and not enough for teams that are not used to remote working. Remote workers benefit from having comprehensive technology such as video conferencing, which allows everyone to see each other during calls. We try to use the video feature in my team as much as possible, especially with our customers so they can see that we’re engaging in the conversation. Microsoft Teams is the tool we’re using in our organization, and it makes it easy for me to engage with everyone and other teams. We collaborate on different projects, and by using Microsoft Teams, I feel like I’m at the office since I’m able to get in touch with everyone at any given time.
Keeping a healthy balance routine is fundamentally necessary during this time. I go through my daily routine, and on Mondays, I set up a schedule for what I need to accomplish during the week. One of the benefits of remote working during these times is that I’m able to enjoy meals with my family and can disconnect and recharge my batteries. I hope these tips help you adjust during these uncertain times and remember that your team is counting on you, and we need to take full advantage of the technology available to us.