As our clients adapt to the disruptions caused by COVID-19 I thought it would help to share our remote working experience. Here are what we have found to be the four most important things to do when adjusting to working remotely:
- Define Space
- Define Time
- Define Dress
- Define Interactions
I have worked in head office for a fortune 50 firm, worked in remote operations offices, worked remotely for a large corporation, worked in an office with a small firm, remotely for a small firm. In each case I ended up doing the four things above. While in no particular order, of the four, Interact is still the most crucial to define and ensure happens.
As social creatures we need to define interactions to stay focused and to optimize what we do, especially when we are remote. Currently I have a desktop and a laptop (and an office we use), but currently we are remote. I always have a video tech ready to run so that I can see the other person I am working with, whether a co-worker, client or for my work a candidate. The point is being able to see someone else, even by using Face-time, Zoom or Skype to share a virtual coffee break with co-workers is like having someone drop by your office. It helps to stay connected and here is where technology is a true enabler.
Don’t hesitate to set up a defined space to work, particularly if the time period for remote working becomes extended. Having “your stuff” in the same place each morning when you start working is the single greatest efficiency optimizer I have every found. This is particularly true for file organization; even though largely paperless we do file “stuff”, best to have a set space to put things away in an organized fashion.
Work is crucial to efficiency and frankly for peace of mind. It is very stress reducing to work set hours when remote. Define time to start work (or exercise beforehand), take lunch breaks and when to stop working. This setting work time is particularly important to do for those who share your space when you are remote. The habits of being are simplest and least stressful when you stick to a routine. Others you work with who are not physically adjacent also benefit from knowing what you are likely doing a certain time, it makes them more efficient as well.
While seemingly optional, if you define dress attire for your working period you also reduce stress. The reason is that ritualistically changing clothing to work is crucial to owning your working environment. Linked to define time, the ritual of defining how you want to look also creates a sense of being connected. More importantly at the end of the workday changing has the benefit of altering others that you are now off work time. So it comes down to:
Get up, get dressed, go to work and share a video coffee with co-workers.
Seems simple enough, but with all the other stresses now in our working environment it is more important than ever to keep things simple and do the things that truly matter. So stay safe and stay connected.