Top Ten Tips for Working Remotely

The recent crisis surrounding coronavirus is sending many people home to telework for the first time in their careers. And while the concept is not that much different than working in an office, it does take a little while to get into the groove of your new “normal.” Here are a few tips we’ve compiled from our colleagues who are regular teleworkers to help make your transition smoother and avoid some of the challenges we have all faced at one time or another.

  1. Set your agenda each day and give yourself goals to accomplish…

  2. …but be sure to give yourself breaks throughout the day. Get up from your desk, walk around a bit (even if it’s just to the kitchen) and stay hydrated (with water, not caffeine!). You can walk around the block, do laps around the living room and up and down stairs, or even walk in place. Any movement counts (and don’t forget to stretch!).

  3. Communicate regularly with your team and with your manager. A morning and end of day 15 minutes can go miles toward feeling connected to your team and reducing stress.

  4. Keep it positive but realistic. Acknowledge the reality of the situation we’re all living through but keep a positive outlook. “We will get through this,” and “we will be stronger as a company,” are truths that are worth sharing with your team and can be reassuring to hear in times of stress and uncertainty. But as the messenger, you must believe it and carry the message authentically.

  5. Keep to a routine set of hours as much as possible but give yourself the flexibility to change things up if you feel stuck or sluggish.

  6. DO NOT OVERBOOK YOURSELF. Back-to-back phone calls are a ridiculous idea and lead to burnout. Take time between phone meetings to take notes and track follow up items for each call.

  7. Build in transition time at the beginning and end of each day, similar to what you’re used to when you commute to work. Some people even go out the door of their home or apartment, walk a bit and then walk back in, giving their mind the opportunity to “reset” into and out of work mode. Whatever helps you make an easy transition from work life to home life is worth doing.

  8. Be clear with loved ones when you are working and when you can be interrupted. Hand signals or sticky notes on your door or workstation can be very helpful. If you have little kids, turn it into a game to see who can be quiet the longest while mom/dad is on the phone.

  9. Mix up the technology used. Video chats are great to connect with colleagues face-to-face, but not for every call. Give yourself options.

  10. Be kind-to each other and to yourself. Chances are you’re not the only one on your team working from home for the first time and it takes a while for everyone to find their rhythm. This is a challenging and stressful time for everyone to figure out how to balance family needs and work needs in the face of a global crisis. Give others the benefit of the doubt.

Bonus tip #11 – don’t forget to sleep! Sleep is one of the most powerful tools we have, especially when it comes to dealing with stress and keeping your immune system strong. A power nap for 15-20 minutes can be a great way to reset in the middle of a stressful day.

As you jump into your new telework routine, take time to find what works best for you, your family and your colleagues. In no time, your new “normal” will feel like just another day at the office.