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Working remotely is hard for some people. We have ideas to make it easier.

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The coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) has created a whole new world of working. Many employees have been sent home to work, where they can. But remote working isn’t for everyone.

Sure, I love working from home. I get more done, faster and can interact online with ease. In fact, I love interacting online; it may even be my preference. But my husband hates it. When we first moved to Denver, when I was working downtown, he had to work remotely and disliked every single second of it. He complained about being distracted and desperately missing social interaction. He was thrilled when he landed a new job where he was required to be in the office. Fast forward several years. With coronavirus, he’s having to work from home again, and the man is actually nervous.

IT employee thinking about an intranet- a championIf you’re like my husband Chris, here are some ideas to help you muscle through.


Limit distractions

Yes, this is incredibly difficult when your house is full — children, spouse or partner, animals, etc. The more you can limit distractions, though, the better you’ll be. Here are a few ideas:

  • Find a quiet place where you can work. Ideally, this place enables you to shut the door.
  • Remove things that entice you not to work — television, video games, etc.
  • Make it clear to family and those trying to interact with you when you’re working.

 

Finding that quiet space makes life a lot easier.

 

Set your hours

By setting your hours, you should decide when your begin time is and end time. Then, let everyone know what those are in advance if possible. That way, your manager and team knows when to expect you.

My biggest issue in working from home is working endlessly — in other words, not stopping. I can work for hours and hours without knowing I’ve worked at all. For others, like my husband, it’s about routine — starting at a specific time to get focused. 

Part of setting your hours includes scheduling breaks. Find times to walk away from the computer. Consider walking outside for a bit to get some fresh air and sunshine (especially as the weather gets warmer). Again, don’t forget to communicate your scheduled breaks, including times you’ll be back.


Communicate!

It may seem silly, but this is a good time to over communicate. Let people know what’s happening, what you’re doing for the day, what your priorities are, and when you’re not around for more than 15 minutes.

Make sure, especially, you’re in daily communication with your manager (unless he or she says otherwise) as well as your team. 


Stay engaged

There are lots of ways to stay engaged. You have access to … 

  • Phone. Phones are a great way to discuss information with another person, especially when you’re afraid of offending or upsetting someone. For example, if you need to give feedback, your best bet is a phone call. 
  • Online tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. These tools help you engage and keep up with people providing text, audio, and video connections. These tools are especially handy for teams — more than two people.
  • Discussion forums and social sharing tools. Share and collaborate online with colleagues.

Use all the communication tools above to build relationships — tell jokes, share more personal information, and more, of course within your company guidelines. The only catch is this: the onus is on you to be engaged and stay engaged.

 

Get feedback

 
If you’re really concerned about getting off task, ask your manager and coworkers to help you complete needed work. By checking in regularly, you should be getting immediate feedback about how it’s going so you can make adjustments as needed.
 

Summary

Sure working from home isn’t for everyone, but it may very well be the new normal … at least for a while. It’s important to get it right now at the beginning of your social distancing. Besides, you may find that it’s not so bad.
 
After all, that’s what my husband is starting to think.

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