I was a bit of a unicorn when I began working at home in 1999. Connecting to work using a 56K modem, minimizing knowledge I wasn’t located in an office, and figuring out how to stay visible while not on site were a few of the challenges. The biggest gains, however, were enhanced productivity and ability to focus on work itself.
As companies approach the COVID-19 situation with an abundance of caution, many are electing for remote work. Technology consultants are no stranger to working from remote locations, whether it is their houseboat (Yes! One of our M3 consultants lives on the water!), home office, or local dog park. So, this isn’t new for us. We’ve spent years finetuning how to deliver the same, consistent experience whether on-site or managed remotely.
If Coronavirus has you working at home for the first time or at a loss on how to keep your productivity up, here are some things learned over the years:
You need a dedicated workspace – Many schools, colleges, and universities have opted to finish the semester with students attending classes through remote learning. For the home worker with school-aged children or roommates, that means busy households and more interruptions. Set aside a space to work where it will be quiet and separate from the rest of the house.
Stick to a schedule – Working from home provides some flexibility but it’s important for colleagues and customers to know they can count on you during business hours and for other household members to know when you shouldn’t be disturbed. Having a schedule also ensures you have time for meals, socializing, rest, and other activities outside of work.
Increase communication frequency – Out of sight is out of mind. Stay visible by staying in contact. Send emails, start Slack conversations, text, or call. You’ll enjoy the human interaction, project and team members will feel connected, and it will keep projects on task.
Turn your video camera on – Seeing people you converse with deepens engagement, understanding, and enjoyment. It also creates the right-there feeling with appropriate social distancing. Not in love with your home office? Turn on a virtual background.
Get familiar with collaboration tools – If you’re used to working in an office, it’s practical to walk down the hall and get your questions answered or input to ideas. Take advantage of social media, instant messengers, Zoom conferencing, and other productivity and collaboration tools. Find out what works for your network and how they like to stay in touch.
Seize the opportunity to be innovative – You’ve just gained some hours back from commuting and other activities associated with getting to the office. Use the time to learn something, try new technology, squeeze in a home workout, or explore a project you’ve put on hold.
Through use of technology and online collaboration tools, we plan to continue delivering the high-quality service and support Avaap customers are accustomed to receiving. With consultants equipped with laptops, VPN access, conferencing tools, and the ability work remotely, efficiently, and securely as needed, we’re everywhere you need us to be.