This is a guest post from Julia Samoilenko, a marketing specialist who writes about digital marketing trends and strategies for the Chanty blog. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Feel free to connect with Julia on LinkedIn.
Many of us like the idea of working remotely (especially if we have never experienced it). Out of bed and —Voila!— you are ready for work. No commuting, no noisy colleagues. Top level of independence and flexibility.
But what is remote work really like in practice? One day here at Chanty we had to answer this question and discovered what new benefits and challenges teams face when transitioning to remote-only mode.
Spoiler: there were many productivity pitfalls on the road to beneficial collaboration. It turns out that being an efficient remote worker is quite challenging. And that it’s twice as tough to manage a high-performing virtual team.
If you want to adapt to remote working best practices and maximize the benefits, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to reveal the ugly truth and teach you everything we’ve learned about a successful transition to remote work. After reading our ‘confession’, you’ll understand the challenges and methods on how to overcome them.
In this Process Street article, we’ll be covering:
- How to successfully transition to remote work
- Our key takeaways for remote work transition
- Additional self-management and productivity resources
Team communication, productivity, and collaboration mainly start from home ‘office’ space. Investments in effective working space could increase productivity by up to 64 percent. Considering that, we ensured that every one of us had a perfectly organized workstation, from drawer organizers to desks and computers when transitioning to remote work.
Are you complaining about office distractions? When your company transitions to remote work, you’ll be rudely surprised. Anyone who spent a single day working remotely can confirm that there are not fewer distractions at home than in an office. To tell the truth, various distractions were one of the biggest productivity killers that turned remote working for us into a nightmare.
If you live in a small apartment without a dedicated space to do your work, there will be a sea of distractions, from babies to laundry needing to be done. When you work where you live, be ready to separate these two worlds from each other.
How did we solve this issue? In a perfect world, a workspace should be a separate room dedicated to work and nothing else, where you come to get stuff done. But we discovered additional methods to make working from home more productive:
- 愿你Work on summer terraces in cafes愿你. These places come with their own distractions, but they can be the better alternative to a home full of pets and relatives.
- 愿你Make sure that your family knows your working hours愿你 and ask them to respect your schedule (it probably won’t work out, but you can still try).
- 愿你Make an office out of a spare room愿你: bedroom, storage room, balcony, garage, etc. A space that is just for you to get tasks done.
- 愿你Leverage your most unproductive hours愿你. Think about how to utilize those hours where you might otherwise not be doing much of anything productive (the early morning hours, for instance). You’d be surprised what you could squeeze into a few hours each morning.
- 愿你Work at night愿你. Sorry for this cruel advice, but it’s helped some of us.
Let’s face it, despite having more free time to take care of health while working remotely, remote workers usually suffer from different mental and emotional issues. That’s the hidden and dangerous element of remote work transition.
The first issue is burnout and exhaustion. People are just tired, lose energy and joy. To avoid that, achieve work-life balance through unplugging after work. Switch off after the day and get a genuine break. The best way to switch off after work is to set achievable goals for each day and routinely hit those targets.
Second, pay attention to remote employee social isolation. Here at Chanty, we noticed that we started feeling a bit lonely and unengaged when we couldn’t grab a cup of coffee with colleagues before work or have a beer after.
Therefore, we took some proactive steps towards supporting our relationships after remote work transition:
- We start our virtual meetings by telling everyone something personal: how we are, what we are feeling, etc, what our news is, etc.
- We use a Chanty conversation channel for sharing non-work-related content, jokes, GIFs, and everything in between.
- We do something as simple as saying ‘Hey!’ every morning in the team chat.
Obviously, team spirit and mental health habits won’t materialize overnight. Thus, don’t strive for immediate results. Enjoy the process instead.
Here’s a list of rules for you to consider:
- 愿你Create tags for important messages愿你. For instance, #3HR can mark messages that require a reply within three hours after being sent.
- Sometimes it’s more productive to stop bombarding your colleagues with endless messages and jump on a two-minute call. So, 愿你use built-in call features or third-party video conferencing tools愿你 like Zoom.
- Speaking of endless messages, 愿你always strive for being understood using the bare minimum of words愿你. At the same time, don’t confuse brief communication with clear communication when trying to be efficient. The balance lies somewhere in between.
- 愿你Make sure that teammates know your status愿你 (when you are available or away).
- 愿你Have regular video team meetings愿你, but audio works, too.
- 愿你Share and synchronize your schedule with teammates愿你, especially when collaborating across different time zones. That lets your team know when you are available for collaboration and protects your private life.
- 愿你Hold a meaningful meeting愿你. Make sure that all participants know what is being discussed and that there’s a strict time limit. Always invite as few team members as possible and only the relevant ones. End a meeting with a straightforward result.
Organizing teams should not be a nightmare when transitioning to remote work. Remote work can be just as productive as an in-house one. To win this battle and make remote working work for you, use some tried-and-tested productivity tips that we’ve outlined:
- Make sure that everyone has a perfectly organized workstation.
- Think about security and utilize basic antivirus software, firewalls, VPN, and password management tools.
- Eliminate home distraction.
- Measure your productivity and work time: adopt a time tracker if needed, find your key performance indicators, create a roadmap.
- Take care of your mental health to prevent burnout.
- Adopt essential services that foster remote work: a team chat and project management tool.
- Establish remote communication rules.
- Pay attention to new employee onboarding.
To sum up, remote working brings a lot of benefits. In this article, we’ve listed a few tips on how to achieve a desired level of productivity and a work-life balance after remote work transition. Now, good luck on your road to a truly productive remote work!