Working from home is here to stay. For the foreseeable future, you will be earning your salary physically isolated, completely reliant on communication technology and working harder to show your value and productivity. All remotely. Remember that cynical saying, “It’s not enough to work hard, it’s important to be seen to be working hard.”
Welcome to the world of teleconferencing, video conferencing, Facetime, Zoom, Meet and many more! But not to worry! There are great ways to stay engaged and ensure you stay valued and visible. So keep reading, this blog will give you actionable tips to succeed in a very different workplace than what you have been used to!
“The joys of not having to commute and fight traffic seem at odds with the claustrophobia of a lockdown city and your home.”
Working at home gets old soon. It’s been a week and we’re sure you have your pet peeves.
The initial joys of not having to commute and fight traffic seem at odds with the claustrophobia of a lockdown city and your home. To help you and your staff, we put together a playlist of online videos to effectively work from home. ( We used kPoint’s nifty feature to import YouTube videos.)
Let’s talk about your most important activity for your company. Working to a plan, collaborating with your team and communicating your progress. You and everyone else will rely solely on technology to achieve that. The following four actions will make a difference. And they are simple things anyone can do. All that matters is doing them.
“Documentation. It is always important but probably tenfold now with a dispersed and isolated workforce.”
- They say, a glass of wine brightens your mood and sharpens your wit. A bottle deadens your spirit and stupefies your mind. So it is with the number of hours you are on online meetings. If you must have everyone at the table, go old school here with the preparation. Have someone own every online call. Share material ahead of time. Have an agenda. Be precise and on topic. Be on time. No annoying external audio, kids screaming, dogs barking, metal utensils clanging, flushing (really!), etc. No more fumbling with “Mute”, “Can you see my screen”, “Let me find it…”, etc.
- Every video/audio conference call has a big technology setup overhead. Have people stay back on a call and continue sidebar discussions. One esteemed and efficient colleague growled last week, “It’s nuts as expected, but on top, these gadgets and headphones start to hurt my ears by lunch”. Have your conference call technology always set up. Seriously, don’t mess around pairing your Bluetooth headset to your laptop as the call starts. Use a small speaker instead of headphones.
- This unique situation amplifies the value of a “ Important, Not Urgent,” activity (Regards to Steven Covey). Documentation. It is always important but probably tenfold now with a dispersed and isolated workforce. Use the best in breed technology to create searchable audio visual documents. Add a voice over commentary as you stream your laptop screen when you code or review. Create an archive of referenceable material for your team, especially new team members. All by recording the discussions you are having online in any case! DIY indexing makes it accessible and you can share it with controlled access. Get feedback and track how it is used.
- By now the coworkers you regularly meet should run a tight ship on conference calls and remote collaboration. First off, is it really needed? Could people contribute asynchronously? Present a topic using various media and ask coworkers for feedback and comments by a specified time. Use recorded video bytes instead of only voice or email or documents. That audio will add the human touch missing due to WFH.
This is the time to fine tune that all important balance of synchronous and asynchronous activities with your remote team. The good news is it’s all in your control. No awkward pauses. And no rudeness with a “please go away… I need to finish this NOW!” as your loved one steps into your home-office for a bit of attention.
Publish material you want to have reviewed, approved, and track if it has been consumed by all concerned. Your real time interactions will be quicker and much more effective.
This pandemic WILL pass. But perhaps the new ways to work that we are being forced to adopt will bring a better understanding of how we earn a living and how we spend our time. It’s the one thing that you cannot buy no matter how much you earn.