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Tips For Working Remotely
Working from home or remotely for the first time can be intimidating, especially when it’s an unplanned change! I started working from home more than 14 years ago, and just over 10 years ago, our entire organization here at SMP went 100% remote. It’s a transition for sure, but one you can make easier by implementing some key best practices. I hope these tips help make the transition easier, even if your WFH (work from home) life has a limited lifespan.
Create Your Own Workspace
Create your own workspace, and (as much as possible) keep it free from distractions! Your workspace is sacred – make it and keep it as your space (no kids, no dog) to allow you to focus on getting the work at hand completed. Now, I realize this isn’t always possible – if you and your partner are both working from home plus children who now are effectively being home schooled, this may sound daunting. But this can be as easy as – hey – this folding table in this room is “my work bubble”. Don’t allow your kids, roommates or partners to come in and drop things on your desk or interrupt you while you’re “in your work bubble”.
Pro Tip: Create time every hour to check in with your partner/roommates/kids who are “working” from home with you – if you have a dedicated, regular check-in time, it helps keep your workspace as your own and cut down on the interruptions.
Keep Up Your Routine
Keep your routine – get up at the same time, make your bed, squeeze in a quick workout, shower, get dressed, etc. Whatever your routine was before, don’t slack on it! Getting “ready” will help you get off to a productive start.
Start Your Morning With a Call
Schedule a call first thing in the morning. This helps ENSURE the above – you get up, get ready and start rolling – because that 8:30 AM call you committed to – it’s happening, ready or not. Might as well be ready!
Think connectively: could this email be a phone call? Use this as an opportunity to stay verbally connected with co-workers, your boss and your customers. And, think to yourself – have I talked to others today? If the answer is no, make that email a phone call instead. It’s important for your sanity to stay connected to your “work family” – and be sure to use it as an opportunity to ask how the other person is doing. We all need someone to check in on us from time to time, especially now.
Consider Background Noise
Background noise might actually help you be more productive! This one is up for debate – here at SMP, I have team members who tell me they swear by silence while working and would tell you not to worry with “creating” background noise. But for me, it was practically essential early in in my WFH journey – the silence (other than pecking at the keyboard) was deafening! If you are like me and need background noise or are simply used to working in humming office environment, consider this one for sure! Of course, if you have kids at home? No worries – they’re probably providing ALL the background noise you need! But if you don’t, consider tuning in to talk radio, downloading and using a white noise app, kicking off your favorite playlist from your music app, or turning on the TV to an uninteresting talk show (if it’s TOO interesting, you’ll get sucked in, so choose wisely)…anything to just break up the silence.
Watch the Snacks
Cut down on snacks/snacking – the kitchen is RIGHT THERE – but it doesn’t mean you need to constantly visit it. Back to item #2 above – keep your routine! Do you snack mid-morning, have lunch and snack mid-afternoon in a “normal” workday? Perfect – do that at home, too. You don’t “need” chips and cookies all the time – you just want them because you’re out of your regular element.
Keep the “social” in your social distancing – this isn’t “ISOLATION” after all. Find ways to stay connected with friends, family, co-workers, AND your customers – it’ll make WFH easier. FaceTme with a friend at lunch, use Google Hangouts so you and your closest co-workers can “work” together while being remote (this is also great for quickly bouncing ideas off each other, asking a quick question, etc.). Use MS Teams or other instant-messaging apps from your computer to reach out to co-workers when needed or just to check in. Host virtual sales calls with some of your customers to solidify your relationship – see how their business is doing, talk through how you can help meet their current needs, talk through how your company is responding to COVID-19, and/or loyalty promotions/offers your company has available at this time.
Share More Tips in the Comments
Do you have other tips I didn’t think of, or questions you’d like to ask our team about how we handle certain WFH challenges? Ask away in the comments below!