Tips for Working Remote
Working remotely has become the new normal for many and it has its benefits and challenges.
For some businesses, the reality is they were completely unprepared to conduct business away from the office. At Freestyle, we’ve offered team members various opportunities to work remotely for a few years now. So when the COVID-19 reality set in we were able to shift gears quite easily with little to no disruption to our clients.
Here are four tips we utilize at Freestyle for WFH (working from home).
1. Keep to a Schedule
Setting up a schedule and sticking to it will not only help you but your fellow remote team members. This will assist your team with scheduling conference calls and stay on track with assignments. Abiding by a schedule can also help to keep track of deliverables you may need from teammates. Another great benefit of setting up a schedule is that it will demonstrate to your manager that you are on time with deliverables and have your day planned out to build a remote work routine between both of you. At Freestyle, every team member has at least two meetings scheduled at the same time each day.
2. Communication is Key
Regularly check-in and communicate with teammates. In fact, if you feel like you’re over-communicating — you’re probably doing it just right! In fact, meetings at Freestyle have doubled for some team members during this remote work.
Send clear emails, be thoughtful in your internal messages, and distribute detailed agendas in advance. All of these things will help create a more stress-free workflow for your team. This is especially important in businesses that are fast-paced. Without the face-to-face interaction you have back at the office intentional communication can allow everyone to still be on the same page.
A word of caution: technology (although incredibly powerful) can create a barrier that is hard to translate, especially via email or Slack message. The more personal touch of checking in by phone or video call with teammates is a great way to make sure that everyone is in sync and project expectations are aligned. The added bonus is that it also allows you to go more in-depth on what you’re working on and what you need from the team. At Freestyle, almost every meeting and even intern interviews happen via video conference. Staying connected to teammates is also a good way to boost your mood and not feel so isolated (especially if you are working from home by yourself).
3. Remote Technology & Tools
Employees need remote technology tools because email alone will not suffice. Every employee at Freestyle is equipped with a take-home laptop and it has proven to be a game-changing investment in our current remote environments. Integrating video conferencing into daily calls is a great way to get that “face-to-face” interaction you miss being away from the office. (Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Uber Conference are great options for video-conferencing.) Video conferencing is a great way to read emotions and get real-time feedback on projects. This also helps combat that feeling of isolation. Just be sure you remember when your camera is on and where it is pointed!
Other useful tools include instant messaging platforms such as Slack, Google Chat or Microsoft Teams. This allows employees to quickly communicate with other teammates, similar to texting. Instant messaging tools are great for keeping track of multiple projects daily, sharing files, sending notes, or checking in on a project’s status.
Don’t shy away from picking up the phone. Getting back to the basics, right? Keeping in touch with clients via phone calls helps further the relationship and can lead to a quicker response. Email responses can take time, while phone calls are quick, save clients time, and it’s better for gauging reactions.
4. Get Some Sunshine
Taking breaks is critical to your sanity, but also help you rest your eyes from sitting in front of the computer. At the office, you typically take breaks by talking to employees, taking a walk outside, or just walking around the office. You should do the same at home. To help with this, add breaks to your schedule and set aside time each day to get some fresh air or walk around for your overall health. Mix things up and move your working area on occasion. Staying in the same place can feel repetitive. If you’re in a rut, move to a spot where there is a lot of sunlight, (which helps produce serotonin) to boost your mood and focus.