Faizel Patel – 27/05/2020
As the country prepares to move to Level 3 of the COVID-19 lockdown and while many will be returning to their places of work, some others will still be working from home.
Most of us are well into the working from home routine and have adjusted to different spaces, pets and children on work calls, and erratic WIFI when the entire neighbourhood all tries to homeschool at once.
Many people initially planned for a short-term work from home routine, however, but it’s becoming obvious that it will need to be part of our regular operations for some time to come.
If you need to ramp up your work from home skills to expert level, these tips might be helpful.
1. Create a team alias to easily stay in touch. An email list that includes all your team members lets you quickly share information, and a chat room can be used for faster-moving discussions.
2. Check sharing permissions on important documents so collaborators can edit and comment as needed. You might even consider creating a shared drive where your team can store, search, and access files from any device.
3. Schedule meetings now so you can stay in contact later. Set up calendar invites, create an agenda ahead of time, and attach relevant docs to the invite. It’s also a good idea to make sure everyone is familiar with video conferencing.
4. Hold daily meetings to stay connected with your co-workers. Working at home can be isolating for some, and video conferencing is a great way to keep people engaged. Try to be visible on camera when appropriate, present relevant content, and ask questions to spark conversations. When time zones prevent everyone from joining a meeting, record it—after making sure that participants feel comfortable being recorded!
5. Share goals and updates regularly. Whether it’s through a chat group or in a shared document that everyone updates, a record of what’s being accomplished is a great way to feel connected, keep everyone up to date, and follow-up on action items. You can also set up an internal site to consolidate important information and resources into a central hub for your team, or to share information with your organisation more broadly.
6. Continue to practice good workplace etiquette. Just because your team isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they’re not busy. Check calendars before scheduling meetings, and when you reach out via chat, start by asking if it’s a good time to talk. You can also proactively inform your co-workers of your own availability by setting up working hours in Calendar. That way, if a team member tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of your working hours, they’ll receive a warning notification.
7. Don’t spend all day on video. There are many tools at your disposal for staying in touch with your team, whether it’s a chat room, a shared document, a short survey, or a quick conference call. Pick what works best—especially if you’re sharing an internet connection.
8. Find the right set-up for you. You might need to try a few different configurations before you discover how to stay focused and not distract others. Here are six tips for better video calls including how to turn on live captioning so you can read a transcript of the meeting in real time.