WFH how to: stay connected and productive when working from home
6 April 2020
Right now, it seems that just about the whole world is moving to working remotely, and for most that means working from home. Some, like us here at Sauce, have been operating remotely for a long time, however for others this is a new and sometimes daunting experience.
So, Team Sauce has put our heads together to share a few tried and true tips that we have found to work for us in delivering excellent service to our clients, no matter where our desk happens to be located!
Our team is also currently helping clients to support their employees and maintain strong internal communication and engagement throughout the COVID-19 crisis. If you would like to see how we can support your team, check out the new services we are delivering.
With team members spread across three states and territories, Sauce has a pretty good handle on staying connected and productive WFH. Here’s our recipe:
- Teleconference and videoconferencing tools
- Online collaboration services such as Sharepoint or Google Docs
- Your mobile phone
- Headphones (the noise cancelling kind are a MUST if you’re sharing a workspace)
- A dash of self control and creativity
Step 1: Minimise distractions and stay focused
While you’re at home, it’s also easy to be distracted by things such as household chores – this is where having a designated workspace can help. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room or office, close the door! Consider implementing time blocking or setting goals for specific tasks, before you give yourself five minutes for a break, hang out the washing, or get distracted by a chat with your “live-in colleagues”.
It can be challenging to stay on task, especially if you are new to remote work. For some, having a more regimented approach to work planning is important, so plan out your day and check back in regularly to make sure you’re on track.
Step 2: Stay in touch
Make sure you keep in touch with workmates. Check in on each other and collaborate as you normally would in the office. Use collaboration tools, messaging groups or the good old telephone to keep working together, swapping ideas and supporting one and another. At Sauce, we use Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts to stay connected. The Google Docs suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms) are fantastic for collaborating on documents at the same time and works especially well if you’re on the phone at the same time.
P.S if you’re new to teleconferences and videoconferences, do your colleagues a favour and get acquainted with the Mute button!
Step 3: Learn to work with your mobile phone – avoid the scroll!
You may be used to using the desk phone and keeping your mobile phone hidden away and unless your employer has provided you with a work phone, your mobile phone (see: the ultimate distraction) is also now necessary to do your job. This is especially difficult for those of us already addicted to our phones!
Keep your phone in sight, but not front and centre. To keep you on task, use your device’s settings to measure your screentime and lock access to particular apps during work hours. This will help you avoid picking up your phone to call a colleague and instead losing 15 minutes to the dreaded scroll and asking ‘why did I unlock my phone again?” – we’re looking at you, Facebook and Instagram!
Step 4: Limit news intake
Especially in the current environment where news is fast paced and can be upsetting, avoid consuming too much news while at work so you can keep a clear head. Try stick to two news updates a day, once in the morning and once at night.
PS – minimising your intake of media overall is likely to be beneficial for your mental well-being!
Feeling productive now? Go to the final blog in this series: Achieving work-life balance from home.