Working from home has its advantages…
For a lot of people, remote working has been an aspiration, but few made the step of getting out of the social habit of going to work every day. Seeing your colleagues, talking to them, the routine a job creates is comforting. So, even if you have been hoping to sometimes work from home, the lack of structure can be disarming. But don’t fret because of this change! Remote work has a lot of advantages:
- You can create your schedule, even if you need to be online during a certain period;
- You will be more productive because there won’t be any interruptions;
- You won’t have to commute and spend a lot of time in unhealthy means of transport;
- You will have fewer expenses because you won’t have to buy coffee and lunch;
- You will protect your health which is very important in these times.
… and drawbacks
Probably, the best parts of working from home have made you think that it won’t be so bad to adjust to a new way of doing your job. For sure, it won’t be! But you need to take into consideration the challenges of working remotely, especially if you haven’t done this before. The disadvantages are:
- You need to bring your work home, with your children, family, and pets;
- You need to create a new routine;
- Communication might be challenging especially if you are part of a team;
- You might not find your motivation because you are not in a proper work environment;
- It might get lonely.
How to successfully transition to remote work
Remote working can be problematic on a personal level if you haven’t done it before. But, as we covered, it also can be rewarding. You just have to figure out how to adapt to a new way of doing your job. In this regard, here is some advice on how to overcome the struggles of remote working for the first time.
Set up your home office
You need to recreate your office’s environment at your home. This means that you should find a room or space where it is quiet and you won’t be interrupted by your children or pets. If you don’t have a spare room to set up your office, then choose the most comfortable place for you. That should not be your bed, though. It is easy to fall asleep during your work hours and even to find your motivation. A desk or a table should be great!
Always be connected
Firstly, you should check your internet connection. If it is not the best, then you should change plans. Secondly, install all the communications channels and tools you might need. Slack, Trello, WhatsApp, Zoom, and many other apps were created to help you get in touch with your team easier and faster. Therefore, you miss any important memo and update. Furthermore, this way you will always be in touch with your mates, even for small talk.
Maintain your schedule
The structure is very important when you are working remotely. You won’t feel motivated and productive every day. But if you are creating a structured schedule for yourself you will be able to accomplish everything that is asked of you. Also, it will help you prevent any problems that might arise. A schedule keeps you always on top of your game, even during the days that you feel like doing nothing.
Communication is the key
Great communications solve a lot of problems. But working from home comes with some challenges in this regard. It is important to always maintain all the channels for communication open. Also, if you encounter problems, you need to address them. Always be prepared to report on what you are doing. And keep in touch with your colleagues. Even if you are not meeting at the coffee stand, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk anymore.
How to transition your team to remote work
For team leaders and HR professionals, the transition to remote working is more challenging than for individuals. They need to think about how to manage this situation, especially if the company doesn’t have a policy for remote workers. Nevertheless, there are some things you should keep in mind when transitioning your team to remote work.
Establish clear goals
You should define your expectations from the beginning, so there won’t be any confusion. Also, you need to rate goals and responsibilities for each member of your team. This way, each individual in your team knows how to handle their work. Therefore, you need to:
- Set a clear objective for your team;
- Establish the result you are expecting and create milestones;
- Assign clear tasks for each individual;
- Track their progress.
Meetings are crucial
It is important to have scheduled meetings to track the progress of your team. Also, these meetings can be used to solve problems that would have been dealt with easily in the office. Here is a guide on how to make these meetings more productive:
- Schedule meeting and invite everybody that is part of the project, so they can discuss the problems at hand;
- Create a clear agenda in which you track progress, assign tasks and deadlines;
- Engage everybody with specific questions;
- Encourage your team to talk about non-work topics because they need social interaction.
Include your team in the planning process
Transparency is very important when you are not all working in the same office. You need to communicate everything, from leaves of team members to changes in methodology. For the leaves and absences part, your job can be relieved with a self-service leave app, like LeaveBoard. Tasks can be set on Trello and problems can be communicated via Slack. The more you include your employees in the decision-making plan, the easier it will be for them to be more productive.
Celebrate success and learn from failures
If the project ended successfully, tell your team. Also, if there have been problems and it didn’t end so well, talk to them to identify the issues and complications and find solutions that you will take into account in the future. Everything needs to be discussed because your team members might feel out of touch otherwise.
Note: You might be interested about a flexible working arrangements example email template.