Like most of Vector Solutions friends and clients, the Vector Solutions staff has started to work from home (WFH) this week due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As team members settle into the new normal, Vector Solutions wanted to share best practices and tips for WFH. Those include:

  • Sticking to your normal routine, with modifications
  • Managing the change
  • Ensuring teams & meetings remain successful
  • Over-communicating

To start, let’s debunk some myths related to working from home:

MYTHS

  It’s easy! I’ll be up and running in no time – I’ve been dreaming about working in bed!
  Remote work is less productive.

TRUTHS

  It’s important to take the time to set-up your workspace to ensure success.
  Remote work forces you to rethink your processes and show compassion when communicating challenges.

 

When working remotely, it’s important to try to keep your life as normal as possible. Sticking to a normal routine – with modifications – will help! We recommend to keep waking up at the same time, get dressed, leave the bedroom, protect the workspace by setting up an at-home desk, eat breakfast & lunch and take regular scheduled breaks.

Remember – It is NOT about how hard and how long one works. Make sure personal and family needs are taken care of. This includes, eating, staying hydrated and performing healthy habits like; exercising, stretching and/or meditating.

A best practice for working with laptops is the 20-20-20 rule;

  • Maintain 20 ft distance away from the screen
  • Look away from the screen for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes

MANAGING THE CHANGE

For some, working from home might be new. It is crucial for organizations to understand that change takes time to getting used to. Learning how to do things can slow productivity at first, and that’s okay! Practicing compassion, personally and towards the team, as we settle into the new normal will help.

We have a few tips to ensure success and productivity is maintained in the team:

Step One – Considering the Change:
Things to think about:
  • Are working hours staying the same?
  • Are you expecting your team to be available beyond certain hours?
  • Are all projects moving forward?
  • Do we need to update Success Criteria, or can it remain the same?
Step Two – Defining Processes:
Use this opportunity to define (or possibly redefine) the processes for the team to follow.
  • Something to consider
    • Do your current processes fit in the WFH space?
  • Communicate and clearly define what the processes are.
    • This is crucial! If the team does not know or understand the processes, they can’t follow it. Make it clear & concise and uniform for all projects.
Step Three – Enable the Team
Enabling the team will help with ensuring that they can be productive while working from home
  • Offer Tips and Best Practices
  • Define who they can reach out to
  • Provide physical resources (i.e., laptops, monitors, etc.)
  • Download/Provide virtual resources (i.e., Work Management Platform, Virtual Meeting Software, etc.)

ENSURING TEAMS & MEETINGS REMAIN SUCCESSFUL

One reliable way to communicate with the team is necessary. A Work Management Platform is ideal to use. It should include methods to share the following: Documents, Project status updates, Approvals and an Open communication channel. Make sure the team knows how to effectively use whichever platform is used.

As businesses are switching away from in-person meetings when working from home, Video Conferencing Software is encouraged to use (i.e., GoToMeeting, ZOOM, Hangouts Meet, etc.) Businesses might want to consider asking team members to turn on their video camera as a policy. This ensures the team is ready and prepared for the meeting, keeps them focused and instills a sense of comradery that is present during in-person meetings.

Create an agenda and share prior to the meeting time to ensure productivity and effectiveness. During the meeting, review the agenda as a team, encourage participation and answer questions (be sure to allow extra time for this to be completed). Post meeting, use the Work Management Platform to establish one way to gather work, no need for multiple channels.

OVERCOMMUNICATE

Communication might seem obvious, but it is extremely important. If communication is not clear, frustration occurs which can hinder a team’s morale. Emphasize a practice of daily one-on-one check-ins. Taking the time, even for 2 minutes, can foster a feeling of connectedness to the team.

Working from home can bring distractions that are not present in the office. The biggest one can be our new “co-workers”, that’s right, children. Be sure to communicate with managers any unique challenges so that everyone can be on the same page. If you don’t communicate, they won’t know. Managers must show compassion as the organization is all adapting to the new work environment.

The Nation woke up to a new reality this week, but Vector Solutions is confident that we will get through this together. Vector Solutions encourages all to practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.

Vector Solutions is planning to post additional helpful articles related to the current climate to help ensure success for all businesses during the next upcoming weeks.

Please comment below with any feedback or topics you would like us to discuss.

Thank you for reading and stay safe!

 

Helpful links:

CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public

VectorSolutions – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Video Resource