Social distancing requirements, currently in place around the globe, mean that more and more of us are required to work exclusively from home. As companies prepare for long-term teleworking conditions, our team at Mach Media has a few best practices to help you stay productive:
Taunya Renson Martin – Founder and Managing Partner
Create an action plan for the day, especially when you have kids or pets to take care off. Remember, there is no “one-size-fits-all” for breaking up your day. Find what time management strategy works best for you to ensure you can hit all your tasks. For those who have to balance work and family responsibilities, connecting in advance with your loved ones can be extremely helpful. For example, will you both take a break from work at the same time to have lunch, or will you eat in shifts so one can take care of the kids while the other one eats? Have these conversations early in the week and continue to share any changes in your work agenda to make sure everyone’s needs, and commitments are met.
Cameron Heffernan – Director, North America
Providing an agenda in advance is a good best practice for any meeting, but particularly for remote meetings, which can more easily drift off the rails. When sending out an invitation to a virtual meeting, put in key touch points you plan to go over with your colleagues in the email list. Not only will this keep everyone on track, but it will help other participants in the meeting to prepare, improving meeting efficiency and cutting down on wasted time.
Carmen Pacheco – Designer and Digital Marketer
Put yourself in the mood for work by getting up early and dressing like you really are going into the office. If you can, find an area to designate as a work, preferably one that is organized, bright and quiet. Set boundaries to avoid distractions, and make sure your non-work-related contacts know when you are busy, so they know to respect your time. Do not forget this advice works both ways. It can be easy to lose yourself in your work and forget to keep a healthy work-life balance. One way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to set boundaries for your colleagues and clients, keeping them aware of when your typical workday is over.
Most importantly, remember that work is work, no matter where your desk is. In my experience, many people have the perception that remote workers are on an on-going vacation. I get a lot of comments from family and friends about how jealous they are that I don’t have to “go to work.” Some would even say that I have time to do “whatever it is” because I work from home. What do they mean? Last time I checked; my computer doesn’t do anything for me. I have to commit to be in front of it eight hours of my day, and be present, and focus. Temptations and distractions do arise, but if you don’t want to see yourself working nights and weekends, you have to be disciplined with your work schedule.
Kim Bratanata – Senior Consultant
Routine is the magic word for productivity while teleworking. While it may be enticing to take advantage of the new-found flexibility of a work-from-home schedule, keeping normal working hours will guarantee you maintain the organization to hit all your deliverables. Sticking to a regular routine will also make it easier to develop a healthy work-life balance. If you start your day at the time you would normally leave for work, and you stay focused throughout the day, you’ll find you have a much longer evening to enjoy.
There are many more distractions at home, especially for those with others in the house with them. One solution is to use a visual element to show your family members when they can disturb you. For example, if you are working in an office or bedroom, you can use the door as a signaller to others in the house; closed means don’t disturb me, while half open means you can come in if necessary. If you don’t have this option, perhaps use an article clothing as a flag, hanging it up and taking it down to signal when you have a moment to talk.
One of the benefits of working from home is being able to take care of quick chores, such as putting laundry in the dryer or emptying the dishwasher, during the day. However, if you do, treat those as a break from sitting, just as you would go for a coffee when in an office. Then promptly return to your desk within five minutes. Do not use these chores as excuses to procrastinate. Going full-on Marie Kondo and cleaning your entire house is not an activity for work hours!
Let’s end with a great quote from Adelaide Tola, our newest Sales and Marketing Manager: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – P.Jackson
Need a specific strategy and guidance on how to effectively manage your team during the coronavirus pandemic crisis? We are experts in corporate communications and will be happy to solve your business challenges. Contact us now to learn more!