Remote Working Tips With Corona Virus And COVID-19
Oliver Sarfas • March 18, 2020career rant
The world is in complete disarray!
COVID-19. The largest viral pandemic since the Spanish Flu in the late 1910's has hit the world like a freight train.
Countries are closing their borders, flights are being grounded, and someone keeps on buying all the freaking toilet roll.
Most employees worldwide have now been advised to work from home wherever possible with the aim of slowing / stopping the spread of the often deadly virus.
As someone who has worked remotely on and off for the last 5 years, here's my top tips for getting the most out of the situation, maintaining concentration, and more importantly - keeping communications open, during these uncertain times.
Establish a workspace
Ensure you have a dedicated workspace. If this is a private room like an office or a spare bedroom, that's perfect. If you don't have that luxury, maybe setup on the dining table.
Being able to detatch from home-mode and into work is an important part of remote working. Having dedicated spaces for this will help tremendously.
It not only helps with getting work done, but it makes things far easier to turn off. Having your work at home means that you're only even 10, maybe 20 seconds, away from reading that email, checking that report, finishing that task... Stop. You wouldn't do this if you weren't working remotely, don't start now.
Take frequent breaks
As you're in your home environment, you're probably not going to be walking around to meetings, talking to people in the kitchens, popping over to see Sharon from accounts, as much as you would do.
This takes it's toll on your muscles. Ensure that you spend 5 minutes every hour or two just looking around, maybe walk up and down the stairs. Keeping your body active is just as important as your mind.
Never eat at your workspace
At the office, you've most likely eaten some of last night's meal out of some tupperware. When at home, you'll do the same. Do not eat at your new "desk".
When you're eating, you need to relax and take a break. Much the same as the previous "take frequent breaks" point. You need to ensure that you mind and body rest sometimes; give yourself a break.
I've found that planning a video call with colleagues/coworkers around the same time, then eating and chatting over video call for lunch is very helpful in achieving this.
You're at home. It's very easy to get distracted. Cats and Dogs nagging for attention. Netflix is just over there on the TV. Radio is on in the background. Keeping on track can be very difficult.
Set yourself a list of goals for the day, and then check it every couple of hours to remind yourself of what you've done, and are looking to do next.
This also serves as a nice record for your employer should they want you to check in with progress and updates on status'.
Use communication tools like Slack, Teams, Skype, Facebook Business
Working from home is a lonely place at times. There's a plethora of online tools that are free and integrate easily into your current workflow.
Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other tools such as this make keeping communication channels open very easy.
If you're working remotely and need to do video chats / conferencing; there's tools like Google Hnagouts, or WhereBy that cater for this.
What happens after COVID-19?
Hopefully companies will move to a more "remote-first" work-ethic. Working remotely in today's age should be the standard for most industries. The internet is an incredible tool and we're really not using it to it's fullest.
Regarding COVID-19, please take your government's recommendations on board. Do not bulk buy essentials. Be mindful of others. Stay close, but not too close!
But most of all, and I cannot press this enough;