“Teleworking”, “Virtual Teams”, “Remote Work”, “Working from Home”, etc… are all phrases we are hearing more of these days, phrases which all mean the same thing; they define any work being done outside the traditional office space.
Businesses shifting to remote work because of the outbreak of COVID-19 or Coronavirus, is now a global phenomenon, which has led to huge numbers of people suddenly working from home and companies working against time to set up remote working capabilities.
At Hero Gaming we have always had the flexibility to work remotely from home when required and given that we are an online business this is many times possible to do without hindering the productivity of our business. However, for many professionals around the world and some of our heroes, this means employees will be working remotely for the very first time in their careers. Undoubtedly, working from home requires slight adjustments when compared to working from an office.
Here are my top tips to make you remote working effective, productive, and engaging:
1.Get Dressed & Work from a Desk or Table
Start off the day as you usually would when going to work at the office. Start early, take a shower, dress up and get ready to go! Working from home is not an excuse to work from the sofa in front of your TV and sit in your pjs all day. Work from a desk or a table and set up your quiet workspace. Doing so will signal your brain that it’s now time to work and remain focused! Having a specific workspace also helps when having to juggle work with having kids at home.
2.Maintain Productivity & Plan Your Schedule
In my experience, you can be more productive when working from home as there are way fewer distractions than there are in your office space. Getting into a ‘Get Things Done’ mindset will help you avoid any distractions and work when you’re most productive to get things through. Remember you’re still more productive when working from home anyway.
Plan your schedule, communicate your progress with your team & manager and be clear on expectations. It would also be a good idea to integrate activities for your kids in your plan so you can multi-task as much as possible and have time to get in the ‘Get Things Done’ zone! In the context of COVID-19, colleagues and external clients will need to be fully supportive, with Child Day Cares, Schools and Universities closing because many employees will find themselves providing caregiving responsibilities during the workday too – and this is totally fine!
3.Celebrate Your Wins
Keeping your motivation high for a long period of time when working from home may be challenging, especially when there are multiple distractions such as TV, dirty dishes, grocery delivery, a pile of laundry, cupboards which needs organising and so much more! One great way to stay positive is to reflect on what you have accomplished in a day, rather than thinking what still needs to be done. It might be a good idea to keep a to do list or a journal to help you reflect. Let’s celebrate our small and big wins even remotely!
Effective communication is an important function which brings people and teams closer to each other, and when it comes to remote work it is an even more important function. To make sure that you’re feeling supported and connected to the “real world”, ensure you keep up with your usual team meetings, 1:1 meeting, etc… do them via a video call so you can all remain engaged. Working from home is no excuse to cancel or not to attend meetings. Interact as much as possible with your colleagues; keep in mind that you are not working from outer space! Creating a culture of feedback and transparency during these times will also encourage accountability and team collaboration as everyone will still know what is going on within the company.
Now is the time to make best use of our technological advancements. Working from home might be another millennial trend, but now is the time to put all best practices to good use! Make sure you have the right tools and tech you will need to do your job effectively; such as a strong Wi-Fi connection (having the ability to take video calls without losing connection), a second screen, a mouse, headphones (ideally noise cancelling) and a keyboard – basically the same set up and comfort you would usually have at the office. Working from home in a silent space may, at times make you feel a bit isolated at times. A good idea would be to find a productivity playlist on Spotify to listen to while working (try to avoid YouTube Playlists as this will affect internet speed and VPN) to listen to while working.
6.Take Time for Self-Care
When Working from home it’s still very important to focus on your well being so you can remain focused and productive. Find time to achieve your fitness goals and make sure that you’re creating blocks in your schedule for a 30-minute home exercise session and time to eat healthy, nutritious meals to keep you going. A great idea is to prepare your healthy meals the night before, as it is very easy for the fine line between “work” and “home” to start to blur; you may possibly quickly find yourself stuck to your screen. Tied to this, you also have to know when to ‘switch off’. One of the best parts of working from home is having the flexibility to work when you are most productive, so be careful about setting the standard that you are available 24/7.
Bonus Top Tip: Trust Your Teams
Managing remote teams is no mean feat, it requires major adjustments! You can easily ignore remote workers and it may be hard to evaluate productivity. You cannot demand their attention when you want, you cannot check up on your team and it becomes harder to hold anyone accountable. However, as a manager and business leader, especially in this new landscape created by the Coronavirus, you have to trust that you have the right team in place and that the work is being done with the same drive and motivation as when you are in the office. You simply need to make an extra effort to keep in touch and motivate the team remotely. This new working landscape can be a great opportunity and a powerful time to show one another our compassion and full understanding of one another.