It would be great if we could say April Fool's and the Coronavirus would just go away. But this is a reality we have to deal with every day right now. In part one of this series, we talked about some of the basics to consider when setting up your work from home space. The realities of working from home include a host of challenges, from focus to communication, to just being able to actually login. **My WIFI is crying from overuse.** Today, we’ll talk about how to address some of those potential problem areas.
Communicating remotely can take more effort and without that effort, people will feel removed and isolated. Our Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service teams went to a once-a-week meeting with cameras on, and while the updates are certainly covered, it also gives us a chance to get the personal updates and do the water cooler chitchat that you are missing out on by not meeting in person. Our Engineering team has a daily virtual standup. Different teams will have different meeting requirements, so don’t try to do a one size fits all policy.
There are many video meeting tools out there to help, both the free and the paid versions. We use Zoom for video calls and screen sharing. Some other options include Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, Join.me, Blue Jeans, and more.
In addition to that, we use a messaging app, Chanty, for all those quick notes that don’t require a face-to-face call. There are a number of different options here as well, such as Slack, MS Teams, Skype, and What’s App.
Use a tool like Viewpath to help keep track of the projects/tasks that you’re working on. A SaaS app lets everyone login and have visibility to the who, what, where, and when of what needs to be done. You can share visibility and help keep everyone on the same page. Along those lines, make sure you’re acknowledging the work your team is doing. Bringing up a completed list of items is an awesome way to hand out the virtual gold stars (use a sticker on your video call!) so employees feel recognized for their work.
Many companies aren’t setup for remote access. Do you have a VPN? Have you setup 2FA access? Some companies will already have a policy in place for remote work. Most will be flying by the seat of their pants as things shift minute-by-minute. As you evaluate, think about the security issues. This article from Netragard talks about some of the ways to protect your business. Get your IT team ready for a slew of questions about hooking up and getting access. Prioritize the severity of the access issues and try to get people up and running, even if it is in stages.
By eliminating the commute to work, you have the ability to add in a few more breaks than you typically would take in an office. Take 15 minutes, get up and check on your kids and their school assignments. Take a lunch break away from your computer. Take a walk – one of the most important things to remember to do is get outside and get some vitamin D - while maintaining safe social distances of course. Sunlight improves your mood by increasing serotonin levels in your brain which helps with depression, bad moods, and eating or sleeping too much. It relieves stress and improves your sleep. It’s really easy to get up from bed, move the computer, eat, computer, sleep, repeat. Taking breaks in the sun will help keep you healthy!
It’s A New World
COVID-19 is changing the way we do business, educate and interact. As this pandemic continues, we have to continue to adjust the how and why of what we do. Every company is unique, and the solution that will work for you may not work for someone else. Be flexible, be willing to try something, and to try something else if that doesn’t work for you.