Four aspects of remote work you need to pay attention to
Working from home is fairly different compared to working in an office. It is often more relaxed and allows us to focus more easily on specific tasks, while we are close to family and working in an environment that we have created, designed and decorated for ourselves.
The following paragraphs are an overview of several aspects of working from home that need to be addressed so that we can truly benefit from the experience.
What we took for granted is no longer possible. There is no colleague with whom you can consult sitting next to you, you can’t glance over the shoulder of a colleague at the table behind you and reply to a client’s email together, or chat about “things” in the lift. All of that is gone.
Ensuring an uninterrupted flow of information is one of the biggest challenges for remote teams. Working from home quickly teaches us that communication is one of the key prerequisites for the success of virtually any project. When working remotely, even those who always thought they could do everything on their own very quickly realise how much information they received and shared with their colleagues every day.
Although the right tool can help establish and facilitate it, effective communication, above all, requires good organisational structure and well-established processes. Who, with whom, when and why information is communicated is as important as the information itself, and far more important than the technique or tool used to communicate.
The management of processes and people is also a significant challenge for remote teams.
The universal solution to this problem is to re-shape the organisation and set up as teams that are as small as possible. Ideally, teams should be the smallest possible functional units. A team of three will find it easier to communicate with each other, to choose communication tools and schedule meetings, than a team of 20. It will be easier to share tasks, agree on a common approach and coordinate activities to make the process more efficient. Waiting for a colleague to finish something is a significant source of inefficiency within organisations.
It is much easier for managers to manage an organisation with six teams of three members each than one team of 18 members. The 18-member team is, in reality, 18 teams of one member each.
Even though working from home is generally comfortable, sitting is harder and more uncomfortable than sitting in the office. The reason is simple: most of us don’t have proper office furniture at home. If you are using a laptop, you may be tempted to work from the sofa or from the bed. Don’t! Stand up, stretch and walk regularly.
Make your daily work schedule and stick to it. Get up in the morning at the same time as when you went to work in the office, change out of your pyjamas into comfortable clothes that will not embarrass you if you need to suddenly join a video conference, set aside some time for a lunch break and work until the time when you would usually leave the office.
And one more thing. When you are working from home alone, there are no colleagues around you to lift you up, pull you in and help you focus. You are the source of your own enthusiasm and the generator of your own energy.