By: Myong Galletta
It’s been over two years since most of us at iWorks started our journey to full-time remote work due to Covid. Pre-pandemic, iWorks always had remote work options, with some of us opting to work one or two days from home. While working at home does have its advantages (good-bye long commutes), it can also be isolating, distracting, and challenging. Below are my five favorite tips to keep you and your team working successfully from home:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Frequent communication with your team is the most important factor in a remote environment to build trust and community. Use chats and video calls to engage, collaborate, and even socialize. I have a group chat with my team—it’s a small group, and we share work statuses, our weekend updates, and when we will be offline for an extended period. We communicate daily and have video calls at least twice a week to make sure we’re all on task and everyone has clear goals for the week. This helps us maintain accountability and a sense of community within our group.
- Go on camera. While nothing beats in-person meetings for collaboration, turning on your video camera and being seen is crucial and even necessary for remote work. Going live on camera keeps the audience engaged and connected. It’s nice to put a face to a name especially in large meetings, and you can capture non-verbal cues as well, such as a nod or a smile. When going on camera, make sure you face forward into the camera, remove any distracting objects that appear in your video (or use an appropriate background image), go on mute when not speaking, dress for work, and have proper lighting—I find the best lighting for video calls is to sit facing a light source such as a window or a lamp so it illuminates your face.
- Take frequent breaks. When we were in the office, we’d meet by the water cooler or in the kitchen to chat, and we’d often go outside to take a quick walk when the weather was nice. Just because we are home doesn’t mean we need to be confined to our laptop for eight continuous hours. I encourage my team to get up and move around, take a coffee/tea/water break, and get some fresh air—it’s good for our bodies and our minds.
- Dedicate a separate space for work. Since you probably spend a good chunk of your day at your home office, make sure you have comfortable seating, a pleasing and functional desk space, sufficient lighting (natural light is best), and all the necessary equipment to work productively and efficiently. Some suggestions to enhance your office space are: a comfortable chair with good back and arm support, a second monitor, a convertible standing desk, and a wireless ergonomic mouse and keyboard. Dress up your desk with a green plant and pictures to bring some warmth, interest, and color to your workspace.
- Maintain office hours. While being home, the boundaries between home and work life can blur. Go to work as you would commuting into the office, even if that office is now only a few steps away. When you’re working, you shouldn’t be doing house chores, babysitting, or other tasks that take you away from work. Likewise, when work hours are done, be off. Maintain a healthy work-life balance so you can be fully present for work and home.
Did you find these tips helpful? What other advice would you give others? Let us know on Twitter @iWorksCorp!