Remote working is on the rise, and corona virus crisis is fueling it. We’ve put together 5 tips on how to make your remote working more human.
1. Prioritise your focus
You will get many more emails and notifications than usual when not in the office. Block some time when you are only focusing on your tasks, and keep all communication tools off meanwhile (urging people when you’ll be available next). You an use pomodoro technique (25 minutes of focused work on one task/5 minutes break or chat to co-workers, repeat twice, with a the last one a bigger break of 20 minutes).
Physically, tell your household members if any that you aren’t available to reply to any queries during work, as if you weren’t around. Ideally work behind closed doors, and go out when you need to take the break. Same principle valid for doing things at home – you will always find something to do, so make an effort to keep your focus.
2. Take full advantage of remote coworking
Humans can’t be productive 24/7, unlike computers. The good thing about being outside of the office is that you can do something about it. When you feel you are losing productivity, schedule some different activity to refresh yourself, ideally physical. For example, I like to split my day in two, working from 10am to 1pm, and then taking a couple of hours to cook and go for a walk or do sports. This way, in the afternoon I am far more productive. Just make sure that you tell your coworkers when you are available next.
If you are a manager, allow your employees to take full advantage of remote working and don’t chain them to sitting in front of the screens all the time. Being online is not the sign of productivity.
3. Document well everything you do
As information inflow increases, make sure that you and your team has an efficient system in place to capture all actions required and share info. Email is not a tool suitable for this, because when you need to go through 1000 emails to find what you needed to do, it becomes unsustainable pretty quickly. Have a system in place that is easy to access and gets updated without everyone having to send yet another email.
4. Be fully present at the online meetings
Everyone is busy, but when you are doing something else behind the camera, it makes the meeting much longer and less efficient. Make meetings shorter, and be there 100%. It also send a good signal to the person who is speaking: your work is important, and I care, even though we are far away.
5. Have a separate communication channel for irrelevant stuff
A major issue in the digital world is separating important things from noise. The beauty of being human means joking and having irrelevant conversations sometimes. But if you are trying to work, and receiving an email with a funny gif, where 50 people are cc-d, you are pretty much guaranteed to lose your focus for the next 15 minutes, when everyone starts to reply to email. So agree with your co-workers about one channel (slack) or hashtag/email line that can be filtered the way that you will only look at it when you want it, and it doesn’t compete with things that truly require your attention.
Happy remote working in a human way!
PS Consciously Digital organizes guided online Focus Sessions for remote workers. It's a mixture of webinar and coworking, where our trained coach gives you a bit of theory about attention and motivation, and helps you set goals, and afterwards you continue working seeing your colleagues on the screen. If you are working remotely, and think this can be interesting for your company, please get in touch!