Considerations for Working Remotely During the Coronavirus

Mar 22, 2020

Working from home or a remote location provides unique challenges that may not be immediately evident, both from the employee as well as the supervisor perspective. This document provides some considerations for fostering a more successful outcome of a remote working setup during this stressful time.

  1. Expect distractions. Deal with them and don’t get frustrated when they happen. And when they happen, not if they happen, then set your work down, deal with it and begin your focus again. Distractions can actually lead to new creative solutions on issues you have been dealing with, so embrace them but then return with focus and commitment to your role.
  2. It is common for the both employee and supervisor to lose sight of the fact that this is working from home, not time off. Language matters and making sure that you both reinforce this message through your words helps set the expectation.
  3. Consider having a daily 15-minute team meeting via phone or video conferencing since you won’t get to see each other around the office. This meeting is designed to give the team a sense of togetherness and beginning to the day. Some teams like to do this twice a day, one in the morning and one after lunch.
  4. Clearly stating expected goals is important. It’s easy to slip into a mindset of decreased productivity because of the decreased visibility. Employee and supervisor should clearly understand the expectations.
  5. Set a clear agenda for the week to make sure the supervisor and the employee have a clear understanding of the weekly mileposts that are working to be gained. This understanding will help keep a steady pace.
  6. Consider a buddy system between you and another employee. The increased check-in and collaboration help both employees stay connected, and reinforces that work is being done as a team.
  7. Take advantage of technology by emailing each other, send text messages, do conference calls, facetime each other, and use video conferencing. Making sure you are staying available to your supervisor, and that as a supervisor you are able to see your team online and available can make a big difference.
  8. Keep the same routine you would if you were going into the office. Something as simple as getting dressed for work can help start the day right. This also allows you or your employee to accept an impromptu video call request without having to get ready before hand.
  9. Have a clear agenda for meetings to keep them from wandering off track. Working remotely can cause feelings of disconnectedness and meetings can turn into a place for wandering conversation, throwing the schedule off track.
  10. Have a test run of equipment, web cam, headset, video call steps, etc. before you get in a scenario where  you’re rushing for a meeting. This will ensure when a meeting is in order, you are ready to join the meeting smoothly and on time.
  11. There will be a greater temptation to snack. Keep healthy snacks and fruits on hand.
  12. Take breaks and consider walking or exercising for 30 minutes during these breaks. Exercising benefits both our physical and mental well-being. It improves mood, boosts our immune system, sparks creativity and helps you sleep better at night.
  13. If you are in a situation where kids are home, it’s important to keep a strict schedule for the day with goals to meet. To avoid talking over each other’s calls, assign different areas of the house where you each do your work or play. If your spouse is also working from home, alternate shifts. Communicate with your supervisor about good times to talk and not talk. Enjoy lunch together and take short breaks to go on walks or to the park. It’s important for both the supervisor and employee to recognize that challenges and plenty of distractions and interruptions will occur when there is no separation between work, home and school. However, with a little patience, parents will learn to remote work and their children will learn by example.