In 2020, many companies are asking their employees to work remotely. Whether you are at home or practicing social distancing in a private office, we want to share a few useful resources that may keep you positive and focused during a transition to remote work.
Tips on working remotely
Send updates and hold check-ins daily
The biggest challenge in remote work is maintaining clear and consistent communication. Without the subtleties of tone, body language, or facial expression, workers may feel isolated or detached from the rest of their team. Schedule daily check-ins with your team to ensure all are on the same page.
Update your tools and technology
Relying solely on email will not be enough. Remote workers will need to rely on technology to stay up to date on projects and team information. For instant messaging, try out Slack. For video conferencing, try Zoom. You will also want to rely more heavily on a project management app— Asana, Mavenlink, and Notion are all great choices.
Develop routines for concentration
With the flexibility afforded by remote work, it can be easy to get sidetracked by your pets or a comfy bed. Start creating certain habits that will bring out your productivity. You may want to dress professionally to put yourself in the mindset of work, even if you don’t plan on meeting coworkers or clients virtually. Move to a more private part of your home, away from common distractions. Cut off phone notifications, social media, even email if you plan on working for an extended period. You may consider downloading a focus app, like StayFocusd or Freedom which limits your time spent on distracting sites.
Block out your calendar
Without the usual 9-5 schedule, it can be difficult to separate your work from chores at home. Instead of constantly going back and forth, block out 30-minute to hour-long events on your calendar for whatever it is you plan on focusing. First, this method will hold you accountable for working on your high-priority tasks. Second, it frees you up from agreeing to conflicting appointments and meetings.
Cultivate an environment of wellness
Above all, learn to take care of yourself, physically and mentally. At a time with such uncertainty, you need to protect yourself from the gloom of news headlines and social media. Take breaks between long projects or meetings. Remember to eat healthy snacks and drink water. Spend time with loved ones at home. Meditate. Even a simple message to your other coworkers can make all the difference.
Tools to stay connected
One of the earliest conferencing tools available, Skype continues to be one of the most popular apps for video chats. Now owned by Microsoft, Skype in 2020 has received a much needed revamp. Now you can even share your screen on mobile, which is particularly handy if you need to present while on the go.
For much larger businesses, GoToMeeting allows remote teams with up to 3,000 members to conference in at the same time. This can be vital in hosting a company-wide presentation or an all-hands meeting. In light of recent events, GoToMeeting is also providing front-line service providers “including eligible healthcare providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profit organizations” with a free license for any LogMeIn product for 3 months.
There’s a good chance you’ve encountered Google Drive already, Google’s quintessential cloud-based office suite. It offers 15GB of free storage, real-time collaborative editing, and a simple, clutter-free interface. Google Drive is still one of our most favorite ways to create and share important business documents, sheets, and slides.
Work in tech support or sales? TeamViewer allows you to quickly and securely access computers remotely. Using end-to-end encryption, a specialist can troubleshoot a faulty company laptop or assist a customer with the proprietary software, without having to meet in person. While there are other ways to accomplish the same task with a VPN, TeamViewer is still the easiest and safest way to do so.
If you’re working on an app, video game, or similar software product, then GitHub is your new best friend. A repo hosting service, it allows you to store all your code in one central place, and audit each person that adds, removes, or changes anything in your project. Other useful features include kanban boards and wikis for keeping your team on the same page, no matter where you are.
The impact of remote work is here to stay. We hope that these resources will help you through a particularly challenging time and that you may be able to carry these lessons on in the months to come.