Many people have availed themselves of the work-from-home option for a while now, and not just those comprising the "gig economy".
For some it's only for a day or two at a time because the reality is although businesses offer "flexibility", their preference is to have their workers in the office. For others it's just not possible to work from home almost full-time. As a result of coronavirus, many people will now experience work from home for the first time, and many businesses will operate with the majority of their staff performing duties remotely.
Communication is always central to business success, but now it takes on even more importance. Humans have been conditioned to think in threes, so here are three tips for the new remote workforce: establish secure access, ensure you feel connected and informed, and stay productive.
Always use a virtual private network to ensure secure access. If you're unsure what it is or how to use it, contact your IT colleagues. Cyber criminals prey on people working from home.
While nothing beats being in the office with colleagues, working remotely is engaging if you make an effort. Speak with your manager and team colleagues about:
- scheduling online stand-ups and other interactions
- making sure everyone knows when each person is "at work", taking a break, and finishing for the day
- finding other ways for keeping in touch.
If you have something urgent to communicate, grab your phone and talk or text. Do not assume an in-house messenger or an email will be read the moment you send it.
Working from home is easy for some and challenging for others. You can help reduce distractions and frustrations by:
- making sure you have the screens, keyboards, workspace and chair you need
- adopting a routine for planning and progressing your day
- making an effort to keep in contact with others.
Remember, a problem shared is a problem about to be solved.
Think about your home environment and assess its suitability for a few months of remote working. You've probably already assessed the toilet paper situation.
If working from home is a success during the coronavirus pandemic, it may become the new normal. Following these tips will set you up for a productive career from the comfort of your new home office.
Now, about that coffee machine ...
Greg Crowther is the director of Communicate For Impact
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