For a lot of companies, prior to the government’s Stay at Home initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of allowing employees to work from home filled them with dread.
Overnight companies had to re-think the norm, problem-solve outside the box and allow those that could, the immediate ability to work from home.
At Carousel, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to work remotely for over 10 years.
We have made it work well for us and have proven that working remotely doesn’t affect our productivity or overall success. We have worked hard, we have worked smart and we have worked as a team, even when we’re not all in the same room.
Team Carousel’s top tips on how to work successfully from home:
Creating a designated space at home in which to work is key to getting the balance right and ensuring you can work efficiently and successfully. Set up as large an area as your home allows and your role requires, near to power sources, with your PC/laptop and phone and any files and folders you may need. Ensure you are away from distractions (TV, housemates, family members) and ensure that noise can be eliminated easily when you need peace and quiet or to answer a call.
Create a routine for your working day. If you no longer have to undertake your daily commute, use this bonus time wisely. Could you use this time to go for a run, join an online fitness class or spend time enjoying breakfast with your children?
Do you need to split your day up to allow for home schooling your children? Perhaps you have to re-think your working day completely and schedule hours of work in the evening once your toddler is in bed? Or maybe you are able to stick to your standard working hours and therefore as close to your usual routine as possible.
However you need to work, a basic routine is key to ensuring a focused and productive mind.
It may sound obvious, but getting dressed and making yourself look and feel ready for work is key. Plus, if your boss calls an impromptu video meeting you’re ready to go and won’t need a last minute dash to get showered and out of your pyjamas.
Ensure you have all the technology, facilities and information you need to be able to set up and work remotely. This is the time to get IT savvy – ensure you know how to use your PC packages and any new apps/websites as you get introduced to them. You may be lucky and have IT support at the end of the phone but it won’t be the same as having your IT Helpdesk on hand at the drop of a hat.
Outline your workload, tasks and targets for the day/week ahead, then set yourself mini-goals to keep motivated and to stay on track.
Make sure you step away from your desk with short and regular breaks; use the time to clock up steps on your step counter, to rehydrate and to feed both your body and mind.
If the children are home too, try to join them for lunch or play with them in the garden for half an hour. If you have a dog take them for a brisk 30 minute walk.
Keep up regular communication with your team mates whether by email, video call or telephone; maintain
a sense of team spirit in whichever way works best for your company and your colleagues.
We now have weekly ‘TLC’ meetings where our MD checks in to ensure each and every one of us is OK; we cover what is happening in the world and it is also an opportunity to boost morale and team spirit and ensure our company communication lines remain open.
Maintain Focus And Discipline:
If you’ve created the right environment in which to work, you’ve scheduled your working day and have all the equipment and information you need to get the job done, then the most important thing to do is to keep focused and maintain discipline.
Set your goals and ensure you have accountability for achieving your goals.
Self-motivated planning and the desire to prove your capabilities, even more so now you’re not in the office, are paramount to ensuring you don’t get distracted and allow time to run away with you.
Could this be the new norm?
We are in unprecedented times. The world as we knew it changed overnight and a large majority of employees were thrown into a new and somewhat virtual working world.
Create the right environment to succeed at remote working now and it might just change the way many companies operate for the long term.