We are going into a new period where a lot of people will have to work remotely for an unknown amount of time. Here are some tips to help make this transition successfully and easy for you, your family, and for your company.

  1. Set up your workspace to be conducive to work. This means different things for different people, but mainly it’s an area without distractions. Sitting in your living room with the TV on while your family comes in and out is probably not the best place. Find a quiet place, set it up so that you are able to work consistently during the day without interruptions.
    • Avoid distractions. Have a pile of personal paperwork on your desk that you’ve been meaning to get to forever? Put it aside, in a closet, or work on it after work hours to get it out of your space. TV on, Netflix playing, radio or Spotify playing? Turn them off and focus on the task at hand.
    • Family Ground Rules. Have a discussion with your family and set some ground rules, for example when the door is closed, do not disturb. Those of us with children will know that they will need attention throughout the day as well, however set up some rules where you can get some deep work done. 
  2. Over Communicate. One of the biggest challenges with remote work is being able to get in contact with people that you need to when you need to. It’s easy in an office to ‘pop over’ and have a chat with someone quickly, but that is still needed when you are working remotely as well. Make sure you are in constant contact with:
    • With your team.  The quick questions that you want answered, the updates, the help you need is right there. Keep in contact with your team through Slack and throughout the day. Let them know what you are working on and and when you need help.
    • With your Manager. They are going to want to still be aware of challenges you are facing and how they can help you. Management is there to help, and can only do so if they know what is going on, so keep in touch with them. 
  3. Keep your calendar up to date. One of the quickest and easiest ways of informing everyone what you are working on, and if you are able to be disturbed, is through the calendar. Make appointments for yourself for ‘lunch’, ‘break’, or ‘deep work’ so everyone knows what is going on. If you are needed for something, or you are not responding to Slack, it lets everyone know where you are and what you are doing. 
  4. Make time to get up and walk around. Being remote and not having any outside influences can be great for deep work, however you need to look after your health as well. It is recommended that you stand up and walk around every so often just to make sure you are being healthy. It’s good for your heart and your mental health to take a bit of a break and walk even around the house, for 10 minutes.
  5. Get dressed for work. Working from home is still working. You don’t need to be a 24/7 pyjama monster. Being dressed for what you are doing is important, not only because we want you on video conference calls, but also because it sets you in the right frame of mind for the day and tasks at hand. 
  6. Connect Socially. Working remote can be very socially isolating, and humans need outside communication to survive. Solitary confinement has been identified as having adverse effects on the mental health of those that have been subjected to it, and working remotely can have many of the same effects. Schedule time to connect with your colleagues. One tactic is to set up some “Beverage of Choice” meetings, where you take a break and video chat with colleagues. Get 2 or 3 of you together to have a 15 minute break, chat about what has been happening, what you are working on, or whatever. Keep the social connection with your team and people at work.
  7. Know when to log off.  Ever been working away and check the time and suddenly it is much, much later than you thought it was? When you are in the zone (current terminology is ‘the flow’) time just seems to pass by.  Make sure you give your mental health a break by stepping away from the computer and focus on anything else. You will be able to come back refreshed and able to tackle the task anew.