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Working from Home Best Practices

Karyn A. Nunn

March 23, 2020

As we adjust to the new normal of working from home (WFH), below are a few best practices to consider:

  • Communication is vital. Consider setting up scheduled check-in times with teammates to make sure everyone is on the same page, moving in the same direction, and/or aware of progress or decisions made. This can be accomplished with phone calls, but in this time of separation, video conferencing is preferable. We connect best when we can see each other. Since in-person isn’t possible, video conferencing is our best substitute. People need to see other people. Consider setting up virtual coffee breaks/happy hours with your team.
  • Try to set up common core hours with your team for at least part of the day. You don’t all need have the same start and stop time for the day, but a core time where everyone will be available, will help support communication within the team.
  • Set up a designated work-space away from home distractions, if possible. This will allow for more focus on the task at hand. 
  • Utilize technology tools. If you don’t have collaborative or video conferencing applications available, consider downloading. Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are built-in collaborative applications for anyone with an Office 365 account. Another collaborative application called Slack allows basic free accounts. Zoom also allows people to set up free basic accounts for video conferencing. Skype and Zoom welcome users in a chat/meeting to share their screen with the other person, which can be very helpful when working through an issue. Also, make sure you are following your company’s IT guidelines.
  • Share your availability status so people know if they can reach you. You can set your availability status in some of the collaborative applications previously mentioned. It can show others if you are available, in a meeting, set to do not disturb, or away from your computer.
  • Choose your communication method based upon how quickly you need a response. Reserve e-mails for items that do not need immediate attention. Utilize a collaborative tool to instant message for issues that are more pressing and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone if the question is urgent. f you see there are multiple messages back and forth on the same topic, this may be an indication that a video or phone call is needed to discuss the issue. 
  • Dress for your day and be prepared for video calls/meetings with clients and your team.
  • Keep track of open items, to do lists, and any backlog. Without being together, we may miss out on conversations about the need for workload re-balancing. Make sure you are working with your team to help each other out.
  • Take breaks during the day – a walk, video yoga, or as mentioned above, virtual coffee break or cocktails after work hours with a friend or co-worker.
  • Be flexible!  We are all acclimating to working from home 100% of the time and there will be adjustments needed. All of us have different home situations and will need to adapt in different ways. We can do this!

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