10 Tips to Improving Your Telecommuting Experience During the Crisis
In these times of pandemic, organizations are asking employees to telecommute whenever appropriate. Adapting to this new reality may be a challenge for some of us. Our Brio colleague Ludovic Boutin offers a few tips to improve your telecommuting experience.
- Sticking to your usual routine: to transition towards working at home, keep up your typical routine. Roll out of bed at your usual time and get ready as if you were going to the office.
- Exercising self discipline: spending the day in your pajamas will not predispose you to work. Dress up, albeit casually, fix your hair, apply your makeup, as the case may be, as you would do for a normal day at the office.
- Creating a dedicated workspace: one does not become a “telecommuter” without making a few preparations. In addition to disposing of the proper work tools (a computer, a stable internet connexion, etc.), one must create the proper working environment, preferably in a separate room, or at the very least in an area distinct from meal and living spaces in your home.
- Setting strict rules: since schools and daycare facilities are closed, most children are at home. Nonetheless, parents still need to work. If possible, set a clear work schedule and inform members of your household in order that you may focus on your work.
- Keeping in touch: make sure you remain connected to each member of your team: call them regularly and schedule a time, perhaps a “virtual coffee break”, to have a casual discussion over the phone or through videoconferencing. This same principle applies to team meetings: invite team members to join 15 minutes prior to the official starting time, just to “shoot the breeze”. This will be good for morale, will reduce stress and bring the team together.
- Staying motivated: no one can predict how long this crisis will last, but to get to the other side, keeping teams motivated is a must. You should provide regular feedback, recognize team and employee effort, be genuine and transparent in your communications, discuss setbacks and recognize that everyone is learning and trying to improve as a result.
- Providing a proper framework: assign tasks and clearly set the roles and expectations for individuals and teams. To facilitate exchanges, list coordinates of team members and their preferred modes of communication.
- Polishing your communications: email will often complement our exchanges with work colleagues. As we can no longer share in person, refining our communications is more than ever necessary: be courteous, use greetings and salutations, thank your correspondent, wish him or her a good day, etc.
- Taking a pause: as you plan your workday, allow for regular pauses to take a breath and refocus. As you may be less active than you usually are, taking extra care of yourself by stretching, moving around, doing breathing exercises or even meditation will help you recharge your batteries. And please don’t go thinking this is a waste of time! On the contrary, you will undoubtedly be increasing your concentration level and efficiency.
- Viewing this challenge as a learning opportunity: beyond being challenging, these exceptional times also constitute an incredible opportunity to learn something new. This is a great time to register for online training to update your knowledge and competencies. You may also want to test new approaches, ways of doing things, to simply broaden your reach.
Lessons derived from this crisis will be plentiful. We will learn how to do things differently, including how to better use technology to improve our overall efficiency. Moreover, our relationships with colleagues will most likely improve, as we learn to trust more and become more dependent on colleagues and other teams. In the end, we will be in a better position to accomplish our individual missions, with a greater sense of commitment.