CXT Software is fortunate to have a 100% remote workforce since 2013 – and we’ve learned a few things along the way. From setting a schedule to harnessing the power of the “mute” button during calls, below are some tips to help you and your staff establish a positive and productive work environment.
Create a Workspace
- If possible, set up your “home office” in a room away from community areas, like a second bedroom or den, so that you can work away from distractions. This also helps with the feeling of going to an “office”.
- Avoid working in your bedroom or main “relaxing” space to create a natural separation between “home” and “work”.
- A comfortable (and preferably ergonomic) desk chair is important.
Set Yourself Up for Success
- Keep a schedule as much as possible – self discipline is key!
- Calendar your day; include start and end work hours.
- As tempting as it is to stay in pajamas, many have found that the same “getting ready for work” activities places them in a better headspace to be effective during the work day.
- Set all Windows Updates and any personal backups for midnight or later. This will ensure that your computer system is always up to date and that you will be able to work uninterrupted during the day.
- Don’t eat in your “office area” area. Instead, go into the kitchen or eating area to have lunch or breaks.
Recognize the Difference Between Working from Home vs Working at the Office
- Don’t get tunnel vision.
- Keep healthy snacks and water nearby.
- Set timers for breaks and lunch, and TAKE THEM! It is very easy to unintentionally work through your entire day without taking the time to eat and take a well-deserved break. This breaks up the day, refreshes your mind for the afternoon, and helps avoid burnout.
- Set timers to move (a Fitbit or smart watch has many features to address this). Staying sedentary too long is a motivation killer. Random alerts help remind you to engage in breathing exercises and/or to simply stand up and reach for hydration.
- Close the door (if you can) when you are done working for the day; otherwise you may be tempted to check emails, etc.
Communication is Key
- Talk to your team, especially regarding any difficulties you experience – people can’t see that you are having a bad day so it is harder to be “in touch” with other employees.
- Stay tuned-in to your chat programs and emails, as this is your new lifeline for communicating with coworkers (the new pulse of your company).
- Become a pro at using the “mute” button on your audio devices so as not to distract others when in virtual meetings.
- Video chat (vs phone or text chat) can help coworkers feel “connected” (using apps like GoogleChat, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc.)
- If possible, have a backup plan if power or internet interruptions occur (for example a cell phone hotspot). Locate your internet service provider’s phone number and program it into your phone, to expedite resolution if any issues arise.
Working from Home with Children, Family or Roommates
- Block off time on your calendar when meetings might not be possible (such as lunch time, or when children may typically be waking up from naptime) to prevent co-workers from trying to schedule during those times.
- Create a door or desk sign to indicate that you are on an important call, and need to minimize interruptions. Additionally, you can agree on a hand signal with your family, so you can quickly signal to them that you need the noise-level kept to a minimum.
- If children are also home, create a daily activity calendar in advance with pre-planned activities and times. Post the activity calendar where your children can reference without your assistance. By doing this, older children can transition on their own to the next activity or chore. It also helps reduce your downtime when transitioning younger children because the next activity is already set.
- Learning tools and activities can be found online (for example, companies like ABCMouse are offering free subscriptions to learning software).
- Many school districts are sharing activities, ideas, and homeschooling information on their websites.