Tips on working remotely
Sara Wilson, CPCC | Julie Whelan Capell
With coronavirus forcing many employees to work remotely, and now even coffee shops limiting access, working at home is becoming the norm. We here at MAYES WILSON & ASSOCIATES are experts on this, so want to share our favorite work-from-home tools and strategies. We’re a group of independent consultants working from home-based offices spread across two continents! Here are some of the ways we stay focused, connected and productive.
- Set up your work in a designated, quiet area of your house, preferably with a door you can close to keep distractions to a minimum. Pro Tip: You may want to invest in a virtual private network app to ensure your internet connection is private and secure, especially if you share your wifi with other family members. Our favorite is ExpressVPN
- Keep a regular work schedule. Our routine is to start the day early and end by 5 pm, unless time zones require more flexibility. Make sure your housemates/family know you are working, not on vacation, and that you are not to be disturbed during your work hours. Pro tip: Google Calendar will let you set up separate calendars for home and work.
- Dress for work. Truth: we never work in our jammies. Pro tip: Dressing for work puts us in a work mindset and communicates to housemates/family that we are at work.
- Set boundaries. What boundaries do you need to set? Beyond work hours, be clear about not doing the laundry between 8-5 pm, not taking a 2 hour lunch, not texting work colleagues after 5 pm. Pro tip: Make your list and share it with those who need to know.
- When you work at the office, your files are probably being automatically backed up every day. Working from home, it is imperative that you back up all your files to the cloud at least daily. If your organization does not already use a cloud-based file sharing system, consider using Dropbox or Google Drive, both very easy to set up and use. Pro Tip: We recommend you have at least two backups of every important document just in case one of your storage sites fails, for instance, one cloud-based and one physical, like a thumb drive or external hard drive. We like Carbonite in the cloud as our automatic backup.
- To keep your work-from-home team coordinated, try using a project management app. Our favorite is Trello. We love its visual interface, nearly infinite adaptability and the way you can rearrange things on the fly. Pro Tip: Use Trello’s due dates and “watch” functions so your teammates can keep track of actions that have been assigned to them.
What strategies and apps are you finding most useful as you and your team transition to working remotely? We’d love to hear about them.