3 Ways to Help Your New Remote Team Work From Home

I’m going to be honest. I hate working from home. In my past I’ve had team members and managers that took advantage of it. They were not available when I needed them. It was unclear how much work they got done in a day. It became a stressful, distrusting team dynamic. Please, don’t be that person.

The #ColoradoShutdown is enforcing what my office was already practicing, and everyone should be staying home to help the medical infrastructure carry out the greatest survival rates of this COVID-19 pandemic. Are you feeling uncertain about your team working remotely? Are you confident your team can stay sane working from home? Here are three tips if you are fearful that this new style will cause commitments to slip.

  1. Get alerts that work for you

Whether in the office or at home, there are distractions. We get up and move around for necessities like going to the bathroom, to take the dog out, or to answer the door for UPS. Distractions are good, even healthy, for the sedentary desk work. But you need to ensure that you answer questions as soon as possible. There are so many notification types out there: Slack, Skype, email, phone, text, the list goes on. Sometimes you see one and think “I’ll get back to that later”. Don’t. Find a notification style that works for you and that you respond to every time. Communicate what your preference is to your team and respond as soon as you can.

2. Make office hours

Finding the new balance of work-time vs home-time is going to be hard. You might find yourself feeling guilty if you watch the latest press conference live in the middle of the day and so make up for it by working until seven thirty at night. If you do the above well, you shouldn’t feel guilty. But please, don’t use time as a measure of whether you got your work done or not. You’ll spiral into counting how many hours you worked or half-worked. Half working and over working doesn’t help you get more done. If you are having a bad day, tell your team you need a break and step away. Take a full break, feel justified, and be accountable to your team that you’ll return.

3. Set goals and communicate them

With one and two above, it is even more important to communicate. Tell people when you are going to lunch. Tell people how you are progressing on a task and ask for input. It might seem silly, to check in and say only “how are you?” but now more than ever you need to make sure your team knows you are available when they need you. Give them opportunities to reciprocate. Your teammates need to know that every time you ping them it isn’t with something bad. Keep the trust alive, keep the hallway conversations alive, reach out for 10 minute brainstorming without a meeting, and talk to your team constantly.

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