Work from home: 5 pro tips to start out right
Create a comfortable and stimulating workspace
At the office, everything is done to ensure our workspace is pleasant while promoting efficiency. So, when you start to work remotely, you might tend to think that your home will be more comfortable than your office. Maybe, but only if you’re meticulous about it. It starts with a good chair, because you spend more time sitting when working from home than when you’re in the office. Next, an audio headset is ideal for making phone calls or using videoconferencing tools. And finally, a second monitor in addition to your computer screen provides more visual space to see colleagues working remotely, as well as the tools you’re working with.
Show others that you’re working!
When you’re part of a distributed team, it can be very practical to agree on a visual system to show whether or not you’re available. A color code, for example: Red leaf means “I’m concentrating, do not disturb” / Green leaf means “you can ask me questions if you need”.
And if you have other team members working remotely, you can reserve slots in your agenda for focusing on your own projects, and others where you’re available for an update, for a meeting, or for a discussion.
Change position several times a day
This is one of the secrets for how people who regularly work from home stay in shape: change position and move throughout the day, depending on what you’re doing.
If you need to make a phone call, do it standing up at least, and if possible, while walking around with a headset. If you need to read a document, maybe move to the sofa or to a comfortable armchair.
Changing position is good for your body and it also helps you refocus. And if you regularly work from home during the week – and if you can – remember to change room, table, chair… anything that helps you start a new week with a fresh outlook.
Prepare a timetable
The trap when working remotely is to think that you always need to do more, to prove that you’re efficient. As a result, at the end of the day, you feel like you’ve finished one long work session without having seen the light of day.
But a day in the office is made up of several phases: a meeting, morning coffee, a workshop, lunchbreak, an impromptu five-minute discussion with your neighbor, etc.
So, when you’re working remotely, set yourself fixed times to punctuate your daily routine with this type of activity. Set a time for the start and the end of your day, and above all for breaks. Real breaks, i.e. without interruptions from phone calls or notifications. It’s not easy at the start, all distributed teams say it; a bit like when you can’t be bothered to go for a workout, you drag yourself to the gym, but you feel good afterwards! This is the same.
Set a rhythm for the team
Working remotely doesn’t mean working alone: the more your team shares the same rhythm, the more efficient you’ll be. This can be simple things. For example, teams that have many members working remotely agree to take their lunch break at the same time. This makes it easier for everyone to organize meetings and other team events outside this period, without encroaching on this time. It also means less frustration and greater efficiency.
Everyone within the team may have different constraints – like most parents, who have to pick up their kids from school or daycare – but once again, the more you share your schedule with the team, the less guilty you’ll feel about leaving in the middle of a meeting. And your colleagues will get used to organizing meetings with you outside that period.
Once you’ve implemented all these simple yet very effective rules, you can move on to the next stage: staying in touch with the team, synchronizing your actions, and moving forward in the same direction, even remotely. How? By implementing team rituals.