Remote working has long been wrongfully considered less productive than traditional on-site working. But with the quarantine measures put in place by the Coronavirus, suddenly millions of people must work from home.
By January 25, 2020, in China alone, 200 million people began working from home. Quickly, the rest of the world has followed.
Ideally, remote work positions are planned well in advance and filled by employees willing take the position.
Being thrust into remote working puts you slightly behind the curve, but you are likely thankful to still be working. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude can go a long way in making your work days easier.
Some of the Aboutislam team members have many years of remote working experience. So, we thought it would be helpful to share with you how working remotely can be done effectively.
Communication problems are cited as major issues in most work environments. It’s natural that communication will be more challenging now that you are working remotely. Our best tips to effective communication when working remotely are:
If you don’t understand something or maybe you think you do understand, but the request seems ridiculous—patiently double-check with whoever has tasked you with an assignment.
While we have gotten used to being short to save time, it’s oftentimes easy to misunderstand short messages. Be a bit wordy, especially in emails (see below). And at least initially, or until you get your groove, go ahead and communicate frequently.
“To disappear and not share information,” is something Tarek Ezzat, Managing Editor, Discovering Islam section, suggests remote workers don’t do. Ezzat explains, “It’s very important for virtual teams to stay connected, and not decrease their interactions because they work from home.
Responding to important communications on-time is crucial for the team’s success and sharing work-related information.”
Just as at work, there are many ways to communicate with your team, but working from home may require a little experimenting to find the best methods.
Daily check-ins are obviously a must and it can be nice to see one another via a video call or at least a phone call. Be sure to schedule your check-ins so that everyone is prepared and take care that they don’t drift into overkill, thus becoming time-wasters.
Emails are still the best way to communicate large and important amounts of information. Shared documents are also effective. Remember to be extra thorough while your team is adjusting to working remotely.
Texting is best used for quick updates. Our editorial team uses both Whatsapp and Messenger for this.
While some warn to be careful to not text too frequently, as it can get distracting and information can be easily overlooked if it’s buried in a long thread, others need to stay in constant contact.
“Within the marketing team we are constantly in touch via messenger so we are up-to-date with everything going on,” explains Social Media and Marketing Specialist, Nichola Taylor.
This is going to be rough. We are already stressed out during the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of us have the demands of childcare to deal with, elder care and perhaps even family members who have fallen ill; all the more reason to at least do the bare minimum to maintain our physical and mental health.
There are two basic areas to consider for your physical health: your work environment and body.
Environment – Home Office Space
While many people insist it is important to have a designated workspace, it isn’t secondary that the space be ergonomic. Maybe the couch works best for you, but if you crave working from a desk, arrange to get one.
If you can’t afford the acquisition of desk, with some creative thinking, you may be able to salvage furnishings from other areas of the house to establish a comfortable set-up for doing your best work.
Creating a comfortable work space will ultimately result in a more positive experience, leading to greater productivity.
Body – Staying Physical
Aside from your work space ergonomics, there are two key aspects to maintaining physical health: regular breaks and home exercise are a must.
Take Regular Breaks
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in work and you may find yourself working for a few hours straight. You will also find yourself mentally taxed and burnt out, whereas, working from in normal environment, there are regular interruptions that create both mental and physical breaks.
You need those same breaks while working from home. No, the interruptions created by children do not count as a “health” break! For every hour you work take a 10 minute break that includes getting up and moving away from your desk.
Do some stretches, get some fresh air, or lie down and try a meditation exercise – just be sure to move away from your work. When you return, you will feel refreshed and able to dive back into your work.
Even if you didn’t regularly exercise before being quarantined, you likely moved around a lot more than you do now.
A sedentary lifestyle is going to lead to both poor physical and mental health. Some people prefer to exercise before work, some after. Whichever you prefer (or even if you don’t want to), find some YouTube videos and get moving.
You are not alone in this struggle. Mental health is predicted to be the biggest hit to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with economic issues.
As far as work goes, remember to be gracious, and have empathy both for your co-workers and yourself. Be upfront about your struggles. If you are having a hard day at home, let your supervisor know that you may need extra time to deal with things and why.