The new coronavirus is a terrible public health threat, but a lot of digital experts argue that there is a hidden upside: It gives us a chance to rethink how work is organized and bring our policies into the 21st century. We have a very difficult task – to create a new digital remote work environment that is far more engaging, participatory, and full of human connection.
Some of the organizations will be tempted to pave the cowpath with remote work, just replicating office work at home. It is a huge mistake and a missed opportunity for these organizations. So what can you do now?
1. Shut the Door and Maintain Regular Hours
The most important piece of equipment is a door that you can close! It’s almost impossible to work effectively at home if there are other people nearby.
Set ground rules with your family. Have a spot where you can feel organized, with all of the tools you need to get work done.
Even if you like working in the middle of the chaos of life, there will come a time when you’ll be glad you have a place to go when you’re facing a deadline or need some time to think. That’s especially true if your work requires lots of video meetings or phone calls. By the way, your kitchen table may be a bad choice.
2. While everyone says that you need to stay in touch with your team, I will say: Control your social media.
Think carefully about which notifications to keep on, and which to mute until later. It’s hard to control when there’s no boss nearby who could notice you updating Instagram feed.
Allocate time slots for checking your phone. And, if you’re still struggling, check tools like OFFTIME for Digital disconnection. This does not mean that it is worth breaking the connection with the outside world for all 8 working hours – a good solution is to limit yourself to an hour or two, during the performance of certain tasks.
Unless you have an urgent message that absolutely requires the attention of everyone in a channel, uses these tags sparingly.
- Using Group DMs.
Sending a direct message to a small group of people seems like a great idea. You can loop only the people who need to engage in a conversation, especially if it’s sensitive.
- Making every conversation public
One of the principles that proponents of Slack often advocate is to have every conversation in public channels for the sake of transparency and collaboration. Some conversations, however, shouldn’t be public. Conversations may not be sensitive, but are irrelevant to anyone not directly involved, and as such just create more noise.
- Not acknowledging messages
It’s totally reasonable to want a little peace and quiet from the constant stream of Slack notifications. However, if someone sends you a message, especially a DM, it’s just good etiquette to at least drop a little acknowledgment. Even if you can’t respond, or handle whatever the request is, a simple check-mark emoji goes a long way.
- Show your emotions in messages
Clear and specific messages are good, no one wants to waste time reading unnecessary information.
However, when all teamwork remotely full-time, all its members must support each other and share positive energy.
Therefore, avoid the multitude “.” and “!”, and use these guys – 😃😉🙄 You’re going to need them.
3. Be realistic about what you can achieve
Instead of planning an unrealistic amount of tasks I recommend to have a more realistic approach and feeling satisfied, rather than feeling disappointed you didn’t do everything. Choose three to five things to do and aim to get the majority done before lunch.
4. Network Online
Working remotely can be isolating. Building a community of practice with other professionals is important. Find where your people gather online and make those connections a part of your day. Start a virtual book club, a Facebook chat, or just message the work pal you used to see at the coffee spot each morning and have a virtual coffee chat.
5. Take a Sick Leave
Finally, when you’re not well, take the sick time you need. And it’s not about coronavirus. Everyone sometimes suffers from a headache or a stomachache. The fact that your “office” is in the same room as the bedroom does not mean that you do not have the right to take a sick leave day.
I also recommend you to read these 2 articles about what happens when you start remote work and what negative might happen after a few weeks and how to avoid that: