Millions of people are going to be trying out working from home for the first time over the next few weeks, and while this is productive news for some, for others it can get a bit lonely without the office banter or a concrete reason to wake up after that third alarm snooze. We’ve put together our favorite tips for a happy office environment—without the office environment.
Err on the Side of Over Communication
Whichever apps your company uses for messaging and organization, know that your team is all on the same page by using the same platform. If a task is taking a bit longer than normal, communicate with your team. Unlike when everyone is in the office together to solve a problem, it’s hard to know if lunch is happening or if a colleague has fallen asleep. Set certain points in the day to check in via voice. Tone of voice can often tell you more about your team than a text can. Even better, video chat can make sure everyone’s attention is captured and can go further to create a sense of teamwork.
Keep to the Schedule
All jobs are different, but there are always several deliverables that need to be finished by a certain date or time. If team members work independently, schedule a time to call in and catch up with where everybody is in their workflow.
Virtual Coffee Breaks
Our team begins the day as we would on any other day—with a daily coffee and knowledge share. It’s something we can all do to start the day at the same time and check-in with each other via a conference call. It helps maintain consistency. If you work independently, you can and should take measured breaks. Stand up for an hourly stretch or a walk around the house.
Continue Your Office Culture in Virtual
Many chat platforms offer the capability to send Gifs to channels. Our team utilizes this feature to showcase our personalities and have a good laugh. Many people are now working with a furry-four-legged assistant, so sharing photos can be a fun way to maintain your team’s connection.
We encourage you to keep things lighthearted and fun when you can. Realistically, nobody is dialing into the conference call wearing business casual attire. Be sensitive to your colleague’s kids running around in the background or your team’s need to take a lunch break to walk the dog.
Use Your Commute Time for Productivity
It might be tempting to skip the early alarm and use that extra half hour to sleep. Instead, use that time to make yourself a nicer breakfast than normal or wind down after the day ends. Read an article or book you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. Take that lesson in a foreign language or learn to play guitar on YouTube. Get in a home workout.
Remember, there is no one set recipe for working remotely successfully. Some people swear by getting dressed in the morning while others work perfectly fine in their pajamas all day. Some teams can get by with one weekly team meeting, and many other teams can just put the highlights of the meeting in an email. Whatever works for you is ultimately the best strategy.