A broken leg, a child stuck in bed, a medical appointment scheduled in the middle of the day … Some situations prevent us from going to the office and oblige us to work remotely. In the past few months especially, containment measures around the globe aimed at slowing down the progression of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have made remote work absolutely essential.
The good news is that there are now many tools that allow you to work from home, as efficiently as if you were at the office. Examples include Trello for project management, Talkspirit for day-to-day collaboration, and Zoom for teleconferencing.
However, when you are used to working close to people, it is difficult to change how you work overnight.
Following a few prerequisites, you will find below our tips and tricks to easily switch to remote working and quickly get up and running.
Prerequisites for remote working
1° A good internet connection
Of course, in the digital age, a reliable internet connection is necessary, whether it is by ethernet cable or wifi. Make sure you have sufficient bandwidth to access your various software and especially to have real-time exchanges (a good test is videoconferencing).
2° A secure professional access
In some companies, access to your email inbox and documents is done by simply logging in with a username and password. But in others, remote access is secured by a VPN (virtual private network). Ask your IT department for information on how to connect.
3° The necessary equipment
Working at a distance means, above all, communicating, which means you must be equipped for it. A headset with a microphone, a webcam, and possibly a printer will do the job perfectly.
4° A serene and peaceful working space
You can’t work in the middle of your living room if your small children are playing next door. You need to be able to make phone calls, video conferences, and at least have enough calmness to concentrate just like at the office.
Our tips for finding your own pace in remote working
1° Develop a routine
Remote working presents a risk: the risk of gradually removing the boundary between your work and your personal life. To avoid falling into this trap, it is crucial to establish a work routine.
Don’t change your habits: dress as if you were going to the office and start work at the same hours (you’ll save time on traveling, by the way!). Don’t work from your bed or couch, but rather a dedicated workspace: in a room with a desk if possible, but it could very well be your kitchen or dining room table. The only thing that matters is that you’re comfortable there. The seating is also important.
Take breaks, as you would at work, and don’t work later than usual. Just because you work from home does not mean that your work has to invade your personal life.
2° Isolate yourself
As mentioned above: isolate yourself. If your children are running around, playing, heckling and shouting, and always talking to you about this and that, it’s hard to make the work environment worse. At the office, you wouldn’t last half a day!
If possible, move to a quiet corner, away from noise. This will make it easier for you to really concentrate on your work. Also, teach your family and friends to respect your working hours.
Nearly 40% of remote workers say that they have a maximum of 1 single contact per day with another employee in their company. This can quickly lead to a feeling of loneliness and isolation, which should be avoided at all costs.
Working remotely should not lead you to communicate less, but on the contrary to communicate more, in a different way. For example, via collaborative tools, instant messaging, and phone or video calls. It is perfectly possible to work remotely and have as much interaction as at the office. It’s even healthy!
4° Managers: trust your employees
Are you a manager who is afraid of having difficulties managing your team remotely? This is a particularly good time to develop a more trust-based management style. Trust your employees. They will be grateful to you and will be all the more motivated.
To reassure yourself, draw up a clear roadmap with each member of your team, including the actions and projects they must carry out during the day/week. And agree on follow-up arrangements (form and frequency of reporting, indicators, etc.).
Authors: Paul Maubareyt, Benoît Renoul