10 Tips for Successful Telecommuting
If the threat of COVID-19 has you working from home, you’re not alone. Here’s how to stay productive while practicing “social distancing.”
With the spread of COVID-19, many of us are working from home for the foreseeable future. Normally, the opportunity to work remotely means taking it easy and staying in your pajamas until 3pm. But in the age of COVID-19, it means lots and lots of video meetings—and a shared determination to stay productive, professional, and connected while we’re away from the office.
Below, we asked a few professionals to share their tips and tricks for successful telecommuting, both on and off screen. (And yes, they learned some of these lessons the hard way.)
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Enjoy your non-commute.
“Instead of just starting work earlier or ending later, intentionally replace your normal commute time with something productive but not work-related. Take a walk, do yoga, or read a book,” says Valerie, a communications manager at a bank. For some people, not commuting means gaining one to two hours a day—make the most of them.
Keep some semblance of routine.
“When we’re working remotely, my co-workers and I say hello and goodbye like we would if we were in the office. We do this via Slack, and people usually reply with a quick ‘Mornin’’ or an emoji or timely meme. In the evening, we ‘wave’ goodbye digitally. It seems silly, but it’s also a way to assert your office hours and have people leave you alone at a certain time,” says Meredith, an editor at a media company.
Encourage remote team spirit.
“It can be easy to drift and under-communicate if you’re not used to working remotely, so I set up a daily ritual for my team. We do a quick in-person standup, meaning we all hop on video together and do a funny icebreaker. This way, there are signs of life and you can create that ‘desk-side banter’ that happens naturally in the office. Other teams at my company have virtual drinks, where they just hang out and have a beer on video like you would at a normal happy hour,” says Melissa, Head of Research at an e-commerce company. Today, we had enough people on a Google Meet hangout that we formed a perfect Brady Bunch screen. We tried to recreate the opening credits (including staring at the corners). It was a big fail but very funny.”
Take a nap.
Seriously, when was the last time you took a nap during a weekday? Now’s your chance.