March 18, 2020
Are you new to working remote?
You likely know that a unique aspect of our business is that we have been an entirely remote workforce since inception (2008). Huco consultants are spread across all US time zones, and even other continents.
Many Huco consultants have found that working from home is initially more challenging than working in an established office environment. We understand that this transition is even more complicated due to the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.
Several of our customers have asked about our best practice tips for moving to an entirely remote workforce, so our consultant team compiled the following list of tips to stay productive while working from home:
Kate Crandell Consultant
Keep a normal routine
“I feel that it is important to treat working from home with the same importance as working in a traditional office. My suggestion is to keep a normal routine just as if you were heading in to a corporate workplace.
Set a schedule just as if you were commuting. It should include start/stop times as well as when you plan to take a break or eat lunch. On a daily basis, wake up, have breakfast, dress, etc. just as you normally would so you are ready to crush the workday when you log in first thing in the morning!”
Mike Lee Marketing
Use a work plan
“I find that carefully planning my work week is essential to working from home. I use an Excel spreadsheet to manage my workload. I update it as I complete tasks, then every Friday afternoon I spend 30 minutes reviewing my calendar and planning the next week. During this process I also make a point to review my email history from the past week in order to make sure small requests don’t fall through the cracks. By preparing on Friday, I’m able to hit the ground running Monday.”
Katherine Horn Sr. Consultant
Create an ergonomic workspace
“Be as ergonomic as possible – sit at a desk (or table – avoid the couch!). If possible, use a separate mouse and keyboard. Try to replicate the setup you’d have at your real office to avoid aches and pain from working in a bad position such as hunching over your laptop.”
Sameer Vyas Co-Founder
Use technology to your advantage
“The use of noise cancelling headphones with or without music is helpful to drown out distractions in and around the house. They are also useful both around the office, and especially on flights!
If you don’t already have a pair and are thinking of investing, over-ear headphones are the best at blocking out background noises and tend to work better than the in-ear varieties.”
Alice Harman Sr. Consultant
“While you may not be able to poke your head out of your office and shout down the hallway if you have a question, there are a variety of digital tools that can keep you connected. At Huco, we use Microsoft Teams on a daily basis for meetings, ad-hoc calls and even to give kudos or share non-work related updates. Non-verbal communication is extremely important as well, so our best practice is to use video when possible.
Your organization may have other tools such as Skype, GoToMeeting or Zoom, but if not, you can also use your own platform such as FaceTime or Hangouts to stay connected with co-workers that you will not see in person for a few weeks!”
“When my kids were younger but still somewhat independent, I put a sign on my door that literally said “Unless you are hurt and/or bleeding or someone/something else is, do not come in until this time (time).” That’s kind of a joke but it worked. It’s sooooo hard to work with younger kids at home, but older kids or other relatives/ roomates (for my younger colleagues) can also be attention suckers. So communicating with your family about your expectations for work time/family time is key.”
Marilva Wedge Project Mgr.
“Schedule breaks and use one to take a walk. A quick change of scenery and some fresh air may give you the inspiration you need to finish filling in that spreadsheet or writing that report!
Non-work hours are just as important! Something I struggle with is constantly feeling the need to reply same day. With co-workers working on the west coast, this can become dangerous because before you know it, you’ve ended up working past dinner time! One thing I’ve implemented is to turn off notification for my email on my phone in the evening. This keeps me focused on decompressing in the off hours so I am fresh and ready to go each day!”