Tips for Working Remotely
Tips for Working Remotely
Contributed by Nonprofit Center HR Consultant and Instructor Roslyn H. Schaffer, Director of Human Resources, Delta Community Supports
- Create a separate work area. Make sure others in the household know it’s your work area and that, while you are there, you are working. Some people recommend keeping a green plant at your desk to improve concentration and decrease stress levels by detoxifying the air around it. Having a separate area for work enables you to leave it to eat lunch, take breaks and to leave work at the end of the day.
- Plan your day in advance. Write down your daily goals to keep you on track and focused. List the specific tasks needed to accomplish the goals, what websites need to be visited, who needs to be contacted, etc. Then you won’t be worrying about planning when you wake up.
- Listen to a motivational audio or watch a video first thing in the morning. Your subconscious brain is most active when you first wake up, so anything you put into our mind at this stage sets your mindset for the day. Using a motivational tool trains your brain to think positively and accomplish more throughout the day.
- Get some exercise. It pumps up your blood and oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think clearer, get rid of the mind fog and have a better focus when you are ready to tackle your tasks. Motion creates emotion and puts you in a better mood to do the work ahead.
- Get ready for work. When you are in loungewear, your mind is in lounge mode. Get dressed for work.
- Eat breakfast. What you put in your body and how much is super important for how you are going to feel throughout the day. If you eat a lot of carbs like bread, cereal and potatoes along with foods that are high in sugar like jelly, orange juice or doughnuts, you will crash very hard and have low energy for hours.
- Eat lunch, and not at your work desk. That’s called a “sad desk lunch.” Studies show that non-desk lunchers are better able to contend with workplace stress and show less exhaustion and greater vigor. The most powerful lunches have autonomy and detachment.
- Take breaks. You can’t be your most effective self and in the zone all day long
- Something is better than nothing; a short break is better than no break and frequent breaks are better than occasional ones:
- Micro-breaks are better than no breaks;
- Hydrate—get up and fill the water bottle;
- Stand up and move around for 60 seconds;
- Practice controlled breathing (which also helps control blood glucose). Take a deep breath, pause, exhale slowly to the count of 5 and repeat 4 times.
- Lighten up; listen to a comedy podcast.
- Moving is better than stationary breaks. Simply standing up and walking around for 5 minutes is effective. Or try out desk yoga—Google it!
- Social is better than solo to reduce stress—much better than looking at email or getting a snack. Arrange an online chat with a friend or coworker. Now is a good time to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken with in a while.
- Outside is better than inside. Even if it’s just taking a stretch outside your door. If you can’t go outside, looking out the window is better than looking at a wall.
- Fully detached is better than semi-detached. Multitasking doesn’t work well for most. So, remember that when taking a break, don’t combine it with work tasks or conversations.
- Communicate actively via technology:
▪ communication requires words, tone and body language.
▪ language accounts for 55% of impact, tone accounts for 38% of impact; words account for 7% of impact.
- Be sure to schedule calls and video meetings. Video is best. Be sure to monitor your body language by leaning forward, nodding your head and smiling when appropriate. When we are on the phone only, we need to transfer the missing 55% of body language into tone. Remember, both are missing in emails. So, keep them to a minimum, especially if there is a disagreement or communication is critical.
- Meeting etiquette doesn’t go away just because it’s a virtual meeting. Have an agenda and stick to the time schedule. Avoid interrupting and crosstalk as no one will hear anyone.Restate or paraphrase to ensure that you understood what was being said. It also helps to suspend judgment because you are listening with the goal of being able to restate what was said rather than interjecting your own ideas. Ask questions so you better understand the other person
- Use video conferencing technology such as Zoom, Skype, Google
- Hangouts, Adobe Connect and more. Consider using one exclusively for non-urgent or live chatting with co-workers so messages don’t interfere with work related messages.
- Minimize interruptions by scheduling interactions. Keep others informed if things change—it’s all about respect.
- Consider practices like sharing weekly updates using tools like an internal blog (Async).
- Set up a virtual water cooler. There are even tools such as Automattic that has themed microblogs to discuss shared interests, so you can share your progress in learning the art of bread baking or knitting.
- Think about how you like to be rewarded since the pizza party is not an option.