With the rise of COVID-19, we’re seeing more and more companies adopt work from home policies. As more people are forced to work from home, we’ve seen the process of quickly making that transition can be difficult.
Here are 10 ways to improve your work-from-home experience in 10 minutes (or less) that we’ve learned first-hand. This is a boiled down version of conversations we’ve had with over 300 HR specialists, remote workers, and founders of distributed teams at companies like Gitlab, Buffer, and Automattic.
Here are some of our tips for how to smoothly transition to working from home:
Okay, you might have just rolled out of bed or maybe you’re working from your garage, but when you’re not going to see your coworkers for awhile, using video (not just audio) is imperative for feeling connected to your team. We also recommend using a tool like Remotion or Tandem, to recreate a virtual office for your team. And those lengthy Slack back-and-forths? Move them to video chat ASAP.
With the shift to virtual, the way you have to communicate is also changing. With remote, it’s best to always air on the side of over-communicating. It’s okay to relay information more often than you used to or ask people on your team to react to a message once they’ve read it.
Without a morning commute, it’s easy for the sun to set and realize you haven’t gone outside all day. Be sure to continue to get those steps and Vitamin D in by taking a short break and walking around the block. Encourage your team to do the same as well!
Just because you are in different spaces, doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate lunch with your teammates to get in some casual conversation. Make it a recurring calendar invite and check out how the co-founders of Pragli ate lunch together over video. It’s a great way to establish camaraderie with your team!
Some people on your team may take advantage of the WFH policy to spend time working away from home to visit family or otherwise. Even if the plan is still to work the normal 8 hours, it is helpful for your team to be aware of each other’s plans so that you can navigate time zones and schedules for meetings. A lot of teams set “golden hours”, or certain times in the workday that the entire team overlaps, which can be useful for quick questions and collaboration.
With your new “office” only 10 steps away, it may be difficult to stick to your normal routine. Even though it is easy (and comfortable) to work all day in your PJs, it’ll be easier to get into your work groove if you keep your normal morning routine and when you’re done for the day, completely power down. You can try to switch it up by working from different parts of your house as well – for example, sitting at the dining table for an afternoon call.
Maybe you can’t go out to the bar around the corner to your office to celebrate your team’s latest product release, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate! Put time on the calendar to have a (virtual) happy hour. Completely BYOB with some team bonding over zoom.
The only thing more awkward than waiting for everyone to arrive in a conference room is waiting in a Zoom room. Without the ability to tap your coworker on the shoulder to remind them about your team meeting, waiting for participants can be a weird situation even if it is only for 2-3 minutes. And if you know you’ll be late, be sure to let your team know ahead of time!
This may be especially difficult if your significant other, children, or all of your roommates, will also be home all day. It’s important to find a spot that you can work for hours without distractions –– and this may involve communicating boundaries to others or finding a nearby coffee shop so that you can do your best work. Worst case, you can always use a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help you focus.
It’s important to have the home office set up that enables you to do your best work. Since we don’t know how long these WFH policies will last, it’s worth investing in an ergonomic chair or monitor (especially if you’re an engineer) or even high-speed wifi, so that work can go on as normal.
So there’s a few hacks to improve your WFH experience in less than 10 minutes. Let us know what hacks you’ve tried that have worked well for you!