March 18, 2020

How to Make a Smooth Transition to Working from Home

Hannah Riggle
March 18, 2020

How to Make a Smooth Transition to Working from Home

Hannah Riggle

Our Head of People & Culture, Emily Olinger's work from home setup (and adorable pup Fender!)

Working from home can make maintaining your normal work and home life challenging. When in the office, it's easier to focus and collaborate with others. To keep that cadence while working from home, it's important to take steps to avoid over-working, distractions, and fatigue. Forgetting to move around, skipping lunch, or missing out on normal “small talk” can really impact your workday. To combat that, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help make it easier.

 

1.      Set up your workspace.

·        Make it as separate from the rest of your home as possible.

·        Get your technology fully set up from the start – Wi-Fi, VPN, monitor, etc.

·        Make it as ergonomic as you can by setting your monitor at eye-level, using a proper chair, and utilizing a keyboard and mouse.

·        Use noise cancelling headphones to block out distractions.

2.      Set your hours.

·        Wake up at your normal time each morning.

·        Take a lunch break.

·        Treat your schedule as if you were at the office.

3.      Dress like it’s a normal day.

·        Wear the clothes you normally would wear to work.

·        Wear shoes when you’re at your computer.

·        Shave/do your hair/put on makeup.

4.      Communicate more than seems necessary.

·        Utilize videoconferencing for every meeting if possible.

·        Set up time to just “catch up” with coworkers —try to mimic “water cooler talk.”

·        Be mindful and inclusive during meetings by pausing longer for responses, asking specific participants for their thoughts,and sharing your screen when applicable.

·        Set realistic expectations for your team about how much work you’ll be able to get done each day — this may be different than a normal “office workday” depending on the nature of the work.

5.      Move around.

·        Walk around in between meetings to give your mind and body a break.

·        Go outside as much as you can by taking a walk, going for a quick drive, or sitting on the porch for a few minutes.

Spreetail focuses on building strong relationships among employees - this is easily seen through our open workspaces and emphasis on events. But what happens when we’re unable to meet face-to-face? It might feel a bit like maintaining a long-distance relationship. Below, let’s dig deeper into practical ways to build and grow a positive company culture when working from home.

 

1.      Maintain and build relationships.

·        Share photos from home.

·        Schedule time to get coffee (virtually) together.

·        Check in on each other and ask where you can help.

2.      Hold effective one-on-ones.

·        Keep your manager informed by filling out your “Wins & Opportunities” in advance.

·        Don’t multitask while speaking with your manager or direct report.

·        Set aside time to catch up on a personal level.

3.      Adjust meetings as necessary.

·        Send the agenda beforehand and share it on a screenshare during the meeting

·        Ask (and wait) for comments — a lag in video can make it difficult for each participant to share their thoughts.

·        Create a chat for pre and post meeting conversation to occur.

It’s also important to communicate with your roommates or significant other what your expectations are for this season of working from home. It can be difficult to create boundaries, so we've curated a list of useful tips below.

1.      Create signals to communicate to your household.

·        Put a little sign on your desk that indicates when you absolutely can’t be interrupted and when you’re flexible to chat if necessary.

·        Work in a room with a door that you can shut when you are busy or on a call, if possible.

2.      Set strict hours.

·        Set “quiet hours” for when music, TV, conversation, etc. is to be kept at a minimum.

·        On the flip side, set hours aside for when you are going to be done working.

3.      Communicate with your team.

·        Be realistic with your team about how much work you’ll be able to get done during the workday and how you will maintain your production as you may have variable hours and/or interruptions. If you have children, your “working from home” life is going to look a little or a lot different.

 

Navigating through the confusing state of the world right now can seem daunting, but a few intentional adjustments can help create a productive and efficient work environment. While trying to match the same output you have at the office, remember it’s also very important to nurture relationships with coworkers, family, and friends.

Hannah Riggle

Training & Development Specialist

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