theEMPLOYEEapp's Tips for Working from Home

Last updated on September 8, 2021 at 01:12 pm

The great remote work debate is actively being had at most organizations. While we primarily focus on frontline workers who never get this privilege, we think it’s important to address the challenges of working from home, why WFH or hybrid-work models should be embraced, and how you can navigate communicating with frontline, remote, hybrid, and in-office employees.

Challenges of Communicating With Remote Teams

If you choose to embrace remote work—or at least a hybrid model—in the long-run, it will change the way you used to collaborate and communicate. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

The truth is, remote teammates have a lot in common with your frontline workers. Intranet access might be a pain. Water-cooler chat might disappear (more accurately, change). They might struggle to feel connected to senior leadership or feel in the dark about what’s going on at the company. But these are all challenges you’re likely trying to address with your deskless teams. At least your remote or hybrid staff work on a computer and can be reached on Slack or Email. Tools already exist to reach remote workers. It’s just a little different. 

But the strategies that are effective at engaging deskless workers can also be applied to remote teams. You need more virtual programming. Maybe a new channel for culture, wellbeing, training, and so on. You need more direct communication. And you need to continue to ask these employees what they need. Take the guesswork out of it and go right to the source!

Why You Should Embrace WFH

Our teams are still remote, but it’s likely that when we emerge from the pandemic, we’ll have a hybrid workplace. People can go into the office for collaborative meetings, to meet a client, to bond with their teams. But then they have the flexibility and freedom (and peace and quiet!) of working from home the majority of the time. At the end of the day, it comes down to choice. There are some employees who will show up to the physical office every day because that’s where they are most productive. And others may come in very rarely. If you don’t trust your employees to work where they feel they bring their A-game, why did you hire them in the first place?

And why does that matter? Because it’s a huge game-changer for improving the employee experience for your deskbound teams. They’ll feel trusted and respected. You’ll be able to widen your search to find top talent outside of your geographic location. And this is helpful for improving DEI at your company. These are all things that your employees want. And we all know when the employee experience improves, the customer experience does as well. And at organizations who have frontline teams as well, they are a type of customer supported by your corporate teams. So, it logically follows that they will also have a better experience. All by just giving your deskbound employees choice.

Our Pro Tips for Working Remotely

Of course, not all of us know how to avoid Zoom fatigue and continue to connect with our teams virtually. Like anything, it can be learned. As someone who worked remotely before the pandemic, these are my top tips for finding work-life balance and peek productivity from the home office:

  • Have a routine. It’s key to create a routine and STICK TO IT. Get up at a normal time and structure your start and end time. Your schedule won’t necessarily be the same as when you went into the office–you won’t need to catch the subway or bus–but find a way to stick to a new routine.
  • Use extra time in the morning or evening productively. Since you no longer have a commute, the tendency can be to just sleep in! Yes, more sleep is good, but getting up and doing something productive will make you feel much better. We suggest: take time to meditate, read, water your plants, get some extra pet snuggles in, or exercise (getting outside if you can!).
  • Treat yourself throughout the week. One of my favorite benefits of working from home is being able to cook lunch for yourself. Right now, some of you might be getting a little stretched thin on recipes to use since we’re all trying to eat at home for all our meals. I suggest Basically by Bon Appetite – the recipes are delicious and usually include 10 ingredients or less, so they aren’t as complex. 
  • Get dressed for work. This might feel obvious, but seriously, changing into work clothes is so helpful for getting into the mindset of being at work. And then you look work-appropriate when you have calls with your team or clients.
  • Separate your work area from your living area. This might be hard for some — in my apartment, it’s impossible not to overlap. I don’t have a separate office to use. But I’ve still made the distinction between workspace and living space. My tips: avoid the couch or your bed. Try to keep those places for after work only. This should really help your productivity.
  • Set boundaries. Since this is an unprecedented situation, you’re likely working from home with other people (roommates, family, loved ones, etc.) And these people might expect you to be available now that you’re working from home. Communicate boundaries with them to control the distractions that they might cause in your workday.
  • Use video! Video is so much better than just audio in meetings. Seeing each other enhances collaboration and connection to your colleagues. It can also help to replicate the social aspects of work you might be missing.
  • Over-communicate with your team. There is no such thing as over-communication. Try to reply to messages as quickly as possible. If you use a collaboration tool, use the profile status option to let your team know what you’re up to. If you have an app, make sure you continue posting updates, news, and recognition. 
  • Get up and move. When you work from home, your lifestyle can become a lot more sedentary. It’s easy to feel cooped up, even if you move around the house! Make sure you introduce some activity into your day. I recommend getting out before and/or after work even just for a quick walk around the block. There are so many free YouTube workout videos that you can tune into use in place of your typical workout routine.

These ideas may seem simple, but they make a world of difference as you adjust to working from home!

Communicating With Different Employee Audiences

At the end of the day, regardless of where your employees get their work done, we all want the same things. We all want to feel appreciated and like our work is contributing to the bigger picture. 

If you’re completely uncertain how to change the way you communicate and collaborate, start with an internal comms audit. Find out who is receiving what communication and on what channels. Try an employee survey to learn what employees might want to see done differently, what they’re struggling with, and what’s helping them thrive. And last, think about how technology enables your workforce to excel at what they do.

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