Remote Work: 7 Key Steps to a Strong Transition

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to change the way we go about our daily lives, most organizations, their leadership teams, and employees are trying to manage and minimize the disruption to business operations and productivity. While there will certainly be obstacles as we continue to work remotely, there are ways to optimize the current situation and aspects we may even adopt long-term.

There are many approaches to making remote work as optimal as possible for the short-term. Some organizations may even adopt this way of doing business long-term. Here are seven key tips to help you engage your team, your customers, and manage your own successful transition to a remote work environment:

1. Overcommunicate

Create a recurring, formally scheduled meeting with your team(s). This meeting is as much about connection and sense of team as it is about discussing business needs. Consider video calls to add a human element to your meeting. Video calls allow you to see body language and use your emotional intelligence which can be invaluable when building relationships, helping your team adjust to remote work, or pushing a project along. It may be tempting to sacrifice this meeting to make time for more pressing needs, but don’t underestimate the importance of bringing your team together consistently when you’re all working remotely. In addition to your regular meeting, embrace conversations throughout the workday: often a five minute call can replace countless e-mails and lead to stronger working relationships.

2. Be Honest About Struggles

Remote work can be difficult. For some, the distractions are seemingly endless: kids, pets, loud neighbors, and all those household tasks waiting to be done. For others, working remotely may feel particularly quiet and isolating. Use a daily team call to connect and discuss the difficulties of remote work and (hopefully) come up with ways to alleviate pain points. Support each other and think collectively; sometimes the solution may be as simple as putting on headphones.

3. Structure Your Day

Plan as if you’re going to the office: set your start time and end time, go through a regular morning routine to transition from “home” to “work”. As you start your day, think about: What are the key events and tasks of your day? Who do you need to connect with and why? Consider making a task list either the previous day or first thing in the morning. Share the list with a manager or team member for increased accountability. Lastly, avoid prolonged distractions that would not be part of your “normal” work day.

4. Take Care of Yourself

When working from home, it’s even more important to pay attention to taking care of yourself. Make sure to take breaks, step outside, and physically move enough to feel fresh and alert, multiple times a day. At the office you would get up and walk to a meeting, to get a cup of coffee, or to talk to a co-worker. Those distances are generally farther in an office than in your home, so it is particularly important to be intentional about getting up and moving. Remember there is a start and end to your day, but breaks are critical to feeling your best and putting your best thought process and work forward. Work with your team to help your team members take breaks as well.

5. Set Clear Expectations

With a change in work location, it is helpful to set very clear expectations about what has and has not changed. Take time to communicate working hours and deadlines carefully and clearly. Share the schedule with others in your work environment – your colleagues and your housemates. Encourage your employees to do the same to protect their working time and minimize interruptions.

6. Keep Morale High

Find ways to connect with your team and carry your company culture from the office to the home office. For example, in a company where team lunches are popular, consider having a video call where team members come together, each with their own lunch, and spend the time together. These informal gatherings will help with morale and team dynamics while maintaining a piece of in-office company culture.

7. Remember your clients

You clients are not immune to the struggles of remote work. Help organize their day by managing your relationship as if it were a project. Reach out consistently, over-communicate, and make sure expectations are clear. Foster the relationship to show your commitment to your clients and their continued success through a shifting landscape. Remember, your clients need the first 6 steps as much as you and your teams do. Make the 7th your commitment to support them.

As we all adjust to working remotely, there are habits that we are practicing that can serve us well when we’re back in the office. Whether remote work remains part of your routine after the restrictions are lifted, communication, honesty, structure, care for ourselves, clear expectations, high morale and engaging our clients are worth our attention and energy.

For more information or to discuss these tips further, please contact our Business and Technology Advisory team at 800.244.7444.

Disclaimer of Liability: This publication is intended to provide general information to our clients and friends. It does not constitute accounting, tax, investment, or legal advice; nor is it intended to convey a thorough treatment of the subject matter.

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