Many of us have been working remotely for years, but others just switched to remote work a little more than two years ago when the world was in upheaval. At that time, some companies and their employees already had plenty of work-at-home or remote work tools available, while others were floundering as the “new normal” nudged its way into place.
Now, many employers have discovered that allowing their team members to work remotely makes a lot of sense. Gone is the high cost of real estate and other expenses associated with bringing several employees together in one space. Instead, we’re all learning more about not only how to work remotely but also how to work smartly while working remotely.
Routines and time management
One of the most difficult parts of working remotely – whether from home or elsewhere – is managing your time and sticking to routines. Sleeping a little later is tempting when you no longer have a commute. Or things that need to get done around the house might steal your attention. Others seem to work all day while working from home and don’t take enough breaks or start too early and end too late.
Make a Schedule
As such, studies show that remote workers who make a schedule and stick to it are most successful at making this transition. If you make an hour-by-hour schedule, you can also share it with your team. A team who can no longer walk into your office to determine whether you’re free for a chat. A schedule helps all of you be more efficient.
Be sure to schedule breaks throughout the day. Data from the last two years shows that many at-home workers work too much. Working is convenient and means only a walk from one room in your house to the next. It’s important to choose a starting and ending time to your workday and adhere to it. No one should expect you to be always on.
Communication is key when working remotely
Some remote workers have begun to feel isolated and lonely and are missing the option of working together with their team, but with good communication tools, you can simulate that work environment and help everyone thrive.
1. Video Conferencing
Video conferencing, for example, has proved to be super important for remote workers. This is mainly because many humans are visual learners, making video conferencing more effective than a bunch of emails…and more personal. It’s also proven to be key for effective workflow.
2. Group Chat
A group chat option is also a good idea. With group chat, you’re in the here and now and possess an in-the-moment way of communicating with your colleagues. You can keep a conversation going all day without ever picking up the phone.
3. Virtual Office
Some companies have also adopted software that creates a virtual office. With a virtual office, you can view a floor plan online and see who’s in each office, with your colleagues represented by avatars. Each time you “enter” an office, you can speak to the others in that space. It’s super cool, and many companies have done well with such a program.
Put good IT in place
Management and communication from remote locations are only as good as your hardware and software allow. That’s why it’s important to have all the right tools in place and, if you’re an owner or manager, to ensure that your team has what they need. This might mean providing them with computers or other hardware and ensuring that all software is set up properly and working well.
If video conferencing is a big part of the workday, be sure that your group has high-quality equipment, including noise-canceling headphones and other tools necessary for someone working remotely in an atmosphere that may not be quiet and private.
Test your technology beforehand so no precious time is wasted.
You should also have tech and tools available in case of a technology failure. For example, ensuring you have Cloud backup is important when your employees are working from so many different places but accessing the same information.
Overall, you want your team to make it through the day unencumbered by things like the internet going down or problems with programs that collect and disperse data. Remember, they are still your employees, no matter where they’re working, so you’re responsible for ensuring they have what they need to do the job.
Trust the Professionals
At Stillwater IT, we understand there will always be a need for personal interactions but also recognize that remote working is here to stay. We realize that both leaders and their workers are responsible for making off-site working manageable and enjoyable and are here to help that happen.
Our “people first” culture has helped us stand out during these post-pandemic times, and we aim to truly understand our clients’ unique needs as many transition from the office to remote. If you need assistance managing your remote IT needs, call us at 604-899-1105 for a free consultation and suggestions to help your workday run more smoothly.