Without the daily commute nor the coffee break with your office buddy, it can be a challenge to adjust to the new work from home (WFH) routine. Throughout the COVID-19 situation, our global WFH playbook has helped us stay productive, focused, accountable, and safe.
While we've already shared our playbook in its entirety, we wanted to highlight its most effective remote work strategies for staying productive. As a bonus, we've also provided tips on writing emergency remote work guidelines.
Working from home, especially for those living alone, may have an effect on the well-being of individuals. Start the day off with a video call (we use Zoom).
A wave, a smile, and clarification on specific topics can certainly boost the mood. Gather as you usually would to give updates, but also make sure everyone is feeling alright. When managing virtual teams, consider a short check-out at the end of a long day to reflect on how the day went.
Tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions get lost over text. It's best to use video calls for detailed conversations or when there is a difference of opinion.
When there is a sudden shift from the normal, what you're currently working on is seldom obvious to your team members. Consider whether the workflow you've created – during the pre-WFH days – with project management tools like Jira, Asana, and Google Sheets, work for total remote communication.
When priorities are getting shuffled, certain documents might not be up to date, and without a little extra communication, you're at risk of doing the same task someone has already done.
When managing virtual teams, the best practice is to encourage clarity and over-communication, ask for feedback regularly, and share your learnings. These practices help with both workflow and accountability.
Constantly moving around once a part of your body has cramped up can affect your physical health and productivity. Try not to work in bed or on a couch. A global pandemic is not a typical short-term WFH situation, so clear off a table or counter and set it up, so it's as comfortable as possible for your neck, back, and arms. Here is a helpful home office website we shared in our playbook.
Our company values: clarity, commitment, learning, positivity, and passion have become powerful tools during these times.
Respect the government and WHO travel policies and limit your travel. Work from home means work from home. While many of us would love the opportunity to "ride this out elsewhere," you are still coming in contact with people, trains, gas stations, hotels, and Airbnbs, if you try to relocate. Communication is vital in these times. By remaining local, your team can easily reach you.
Without a colleague to tap you on the shoulder to say, "Salad run?" we know it's easy to work through lunch. To increase your work from home productivity, eat and take a mental break at the same time you usually have lunch and try to use the full hour.
Use the time to cook, do some stretches, and, if possible in your region, take a short walk to clear your head. Keeping with your normal office lunch routine is more productive than powering through and getting hungry around 4 p.m.
Tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions get lost over text. It's best to use video calls for detailed conversations or when there is a difference of opinion. We use Slack, and typing out long drawn explanations and replying to threads can make an argument longer than it has to be.
When waiting for someone to respond, it's tempting to think and overthink what they really meant. When you notice the chat getting a little heated, send a Zoom link and hop on a call, so you don't have to add "lol" to the end of everything, so your tone doesn't get misread.
On Slack, we created a WFH channel so that the challenges, tips, advice, and updates don't cloud everyday business communication.
You don't have to dress business casual but certainly, change out of leisure wear. When you get dressed for remote work, this signals a mental shift that it's time to concentrate on your daily tasks. Even if you are on a video call, put on proper pants.
Even if you do not intend to stand up, a delivery could come to your door, or you may need to stand up to help someone in your household urgently. At the end of the day, switch back out of work-mode to keep some normalcy of the routine of going to work.
On Slack, we created a WFH channel so that the challenges, tips, advice, and updates don't cloud everyday business communication. We use this channel to do polls to see how everyone is feeling, send links to things to do indoors, share tips on how to work from home productively, link to podcasts, news articles, and so on. You can also create sub-channels like the #virtualwatercooler, #parents-venting, and #homelunchideas.
With many schools closed around the world, parents or guardians working from home need to work around their children's schedules. This means planning meetings around nap times, playtimes, homework times, babysitter work hours. You can read more tips in the article, Here's how our working parents stay focused while social distancing.
People may also be taking care of the elderly, other relatives, or someone else's pet at this time. It's key to be clear that you're not working under normal circumstances and will have to adjust your schedule.
Our company values: clarity, commitment, learning, positivity, and passion have become powerful tools during these times. With a culture of accountability, we don't have to constantly wonder how to keep remote employees accountable. As mentioned in tip #2, we encourage clarity and over-communication, ask for feedback frequently, and share learnings.
During these times, we still celebrate birthdays over Zoom and announce our big wins over Slack.
While we’re on the topic of WFH tips, we wanted to provide support for office managers and HR professionals who are constantly updating their remote work guidelines to news of the current times.
We’ve shared our internal WFH policy guidelines and have pulled some social distancing-specific highlights to include in your own policies.
Read more WFH tips from Kathrin Hartrampf, one of our German language specialists.
For updates on our open positions check out our Careers page.
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