You might be literally working alone right now, but you’re actually in good company. In a survey conducted by Owl Labs last year, it was found that 62% of 1,202 full-time workers worked remotely at least sometimes.
For many employees around the globe, however, a virtual workplace during the COVID-19 health crisis presents a newfound learning curve. This migration comes with challenges for teams and leaders, but there are applicable rules that can result in a successful virtual workplace.
1. Make a Schedule
In this age of coronavirus, where it’s still unclear how long physical-distancing will last, it’s important to develop a schedule – especially for the employees who have also been promoted to teacher for their children.
Start your schedule with the moment you wake up and move on from there, including any actual plans you have, such as business meetings, and general time for getting other things done, like spreadsheets. Set time in your calendar for daily projects – in priority order – and allow time for answering emails, conducting research, or whatever else may need to be done. For parents, you will also find it helpful to include classwork, play, and outside times. Both types of employees should include their breaks and lunches and moments of the day to incorporate some sunlight, self-care and mindfulness & breathing exercises, work outs, etc.
2. Create a Productivity-Conducive Work Area
Everyone’s ideal workspace if different. Whatever works best for you, establish that and stick with it. It will become similar to muscle memory and your brain will quickly get accustomed to going into work mode when you enter that space.
You might find it helpful to set up a workspace at home to mimic your office. Keep items you need handy and put away home desk items that will not be used.
3. Stay in Touch With Co-Workers
Check-in with your colleagues at least once a week. One thing that will send your remote life into a downward spiral is the failure to communicate.
Many organizations are doing weekly virtual happy hours to keep connections strong. Whether through Microsoft Teams or another software platform, employees have the opportunity to virtually engage with one another.
4. Schedule Routine Check-ins with Your Supervisor or Employees
Managers need to regularly reach out to individual employees to track progress or pull team members together to make sure everyone comprehends the tasks, expectations, or communicate any changes to the plan.
If you manage a team, be sure to set clear expectations for completing projects. Managers must articulate distinctly a project’s purpose, protocols, timelines, goalposts and specific endpoints so that employees can better perform to those.
5. Remain Positive & Motivated
We are pivoting the way we work and operate, and the more we can positively communicate with our team, the better. However, the way to stay connected will depend not only on the company and the team, but also each individual and personality type. Extroverts, for example, are not going to like working remotely, not one bit. These individuals should take the time to pick up the phone and chat with team members, clients, or others. Introverts, on the other hand, may enjoy this isolation as a way to refresh. It’s critical for these personality types to make an effort to connect with others.
When meetings return, it’s going to be fast and furious; utilize this time for scenario planning, creative thinking, and development. We are responsible for motivating ourselves and giving ourselves inspiration. Spend some time thinking about what motivates you to move forward and carry on. What inspires you? These are good way to keep the creative juices flowing.
While we have given you a few tips, set aside some time to figure out what works best for you and your employees. Also, don’t forget to embrace change. Remote work routines can get stressful, so focus on remaining positive. Make sure you and your loved ones are safe and taken care of. Be there for your employees and be flexible as we navigate this new normal.
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