By Karen L. Edwards.
After joining a roofing tech startup back in 2010, I made the transition from going into an office every day to working in my home office (when I wasn’t on the road). It can be isolating and make you feel sometimes like you are on an island. After 10 years of being a remote worker, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that can make it a rewarding and productive experience.
1 – A Defined Workspace
Decide on your workspace. If you already have a home office, that’s great! Now is the time to clean it up and put it to use. Make sure you have a comfortable chair, as you will find yourself not walking around like you used to for chatting with co-workers. Determine a dedicated workspace where you can limit the noise and interruptions that may occur from other household members. I also recommend using a Bluetooth headset for talking on the phone as it frees your hands for note taking during a call.
2 – A Daily Structure
It’s important to stick to routine. If you normally start your day at 8 am, keep doing that while working from home. I recommend not working in your pajamas, but rather get ready for your day just as you would if you were going into the office. Be sure to take a lunch break. That’s a good time to stretch your legs and take a walk; get the circulation flowing since you aren’t walking as much as you would in an office setting.
3 – Hold Video Meetings
Don’t just hold conference calls to meet with the rest of the team working remotely. Video meetings are great for morale and eliminate the ‘working on an island’ feeling. There are a number of free video conferencing services and some companies are expanding the free versions of their services in light of the shift to a virtual workforce. It also helps to ensure that you don’t multi-task during a meeting because everyone can see what you are doing!
Making it work
It’s important for you as an employer to trust that your employees are committed and dedicated to getting the job done – no matter where they are working. It’s equally important for you as an employer to be understanding. There may be dogs barking, or cats appearing on a video call when they jump on the desk or table (just happened to me the other day!).
Also realize that schools are closed; there might be children in the background. Depending on their age, children can have a hard time understanding that just because mom or dad is home, doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Expect there to be interruptions from time to time.
Together we will get through this!
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