ITS has changed their staffing policy during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. For many of our team members, remote work is a brand-new experience. A few of our team members decided to share some tips they discovered to be useful as they worked remotely last week.
- Spend 15-20 minutes before your scheduled work hours to do something else around the house that gets the productivity started (ex. clean up dishes, start a load of laundry, etc.).
- Have a plan or checklist on what you are going to do for the day. You don’t need to plan the whole day but a general outline so you don’t get overwhelmed on where to start.
- Have your technology setup and tested to ensure there are no surprises when it comes to your work hours actually starting. Nothing is more frustrating when you’re ready to knock out your to-do list and Windows Updates decides to restart your computer.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to your co-workers to see how they are doing or to ask questions on something you are working on. Especially if they are usually 5 steps away from your desk. This will help it seem like just another day at the office.
- Make a time to get away from your desk/work area at lunch. Take a brisk 10 min walk, or grab the mail. Fresh air is good for the soul.
- Have a closable water bottle nearby (water + technology are not always friends), and drink as much as you can to avoid wanting to snack when you should be working. Your legs will thank you for the movement when you have to make those extra trips to the bathroom.
- If you need background noise, turn the radio on low a few rooms away so you can hear it when you are not on the phone but its not heard when you take an unexpected call. Saves you from trying to shut it off and miss a phone call.
- I listen to classical or acoustic musical softly while working from home. My current favorite is Brooklyn Duo.
- I use my iPad as a second monitor and keep my communication tools active and try to remember to update my status if I am on a webinar, going for a run, taking lunch, etc. so my team knows if I am available
- We made a family schedule in advance with snacks/meals and activities and expectations to avoid as many random requests from the kids as possible, but also scheduled if Mom or Dad were the point of contact for the day, so the kids know which parent to bug if they found a great new cookie recipe to try or need help selecting a movie title.
- Joel schedules a daily team meeting for all of us to attend whether in the office or working remotely – it’s a quick way to see everyone, learn what people are working on, and keep the team spirit alive in a time when are trying to physically isolate ourselves from others.
- Setup your workspace in an area that is as quiet as possible. The less distractions you have from others in your home, the more you’ll be able to focus and get done!
- Multiple monitors is a must, especially if your primary computer is a laptop.
- A good working webcam is great for keeping in touch with co-workers and customers. Obviously the goal of all of this is to limit contact with others, but its nice to “see” people when discussing things.
- Take 1 or 2 five minute breaks throughout your day. Get up, stretch, walk around. Same as you would in the office.
- When working remotely, I like to physically get up from my desk every now and again to take 5-minute breaks.
- I also like to turn on music that I know will help me focus and cut out distractions.
- Instead of just rolling out of bed and immediately getting started on work things, I like to wake up earlier and get ready for the day. I feel a lot more energized when I do this.
- I like to make a list of tasks I want to get done or work on for the day. This way, it’s harder to distractions to disrupt my activity.
- I have found that my environment working remotely is so much quieter than my work environment. Typically, my work day is filled with the sound of our technicians talking on the phone with clients as well as typical workplace “watercooler” chat. This change alone can throw off my productivity. I like to have a nearby speaker playing a podcast. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, it’s just the quiet conversation in the background that helps me focus.
- Each day I work remotely is started as if I was going to work at the office. I get up at the same time, take a shower as I normally would, and get ready. While I might be a little more dressed down when I work from home, this same morning routine helps me get in a productive mindset.
- I have found that it’s okay to get comfy (just not too comfy)! Whether that be to wear comfy pants or to put a footstool under my desk to prop my feet up on. If I’m more comfortable, I will get more work done.
For video conference calls, make sure there is nothing blocking the camera. We are seeing a lot of clients calling in with laptop cameras that “don’t work”, but often, the problem is that something is physically blocking the camera. Many of our clients have Lenovo ThinkPads with ThinkShutter. The shutter can be closed for privacy or open when you need to use the camera. Check this before hosting or attending a video conference!