The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has changed the world that we live in. Currently about one half of the world is quarantined at home. So, many people around the world are trying to continue with their jobs and work from home. Working from home is different in many ways from working from the office. I run a digital marketing agency and I have extensive experience working from home because digital marketing is done via the internet. In this blog post I will share with you some advice about working from home. I hope that this information will be helpful for many people who have had to adjust to working from home in the last month or so.
1. Team Communication
Communication is very important in the business world. Many surveys have shown that the number one skill that employers look for when they hire new people is communication skills.
Good communication is even more important when the team works from home. It is a lot easier to work together with your team when everyone is together in the same office. When your team is physically together you can just walk over and ask people a question any time. However, when everyone works from home it is a lot more difficult to get in touch with people.
Teams that are new to remote work often try to communicate via email or ad-hoc call to other team members during work hours. In order to improve team communications while working from home I suggest using one online communication tool for the team, such as Skype, and asking everyone to be “online” on that communication tool during work hours. On Skype you can have several different statuses, such as: online, away, offline. Therefore, my suggestion is to ask everyone to be “online” on Skype during work hours. This will make it a lot easier for team members to reach out to each other when they need help.
2. Stay Focused
It is a lot more difficult to stay focused when working from home. At home we have many distractions such as: the TV, music, neighbors, children, pets etc. I have a cat and she is my biggest distraction when I work from home.
Therefore, when you work from home you need to make more of an effort to stay focused. Please do not think that because your boss cannot see you while working from home you can slack off. If you do not take your job seriously while you work from home that will show in the deliverables that you prepare and will have an impact on the results of the team.
Even though it is a lot more difficult to stay focused when you work from home you really need to make an effort! My suggestion is to designate one area of your home as “work area” and try to remove all distractions from that area in order to make it easier to focus on work.
3. Team Management
Another topic that is important to discuss when talking about working from home is team management. It is a lot easier for team managers to manage the team when everyone works together in the same office. Normally there is a lot of informal communication going on the office and therefore it is a lot easier to make everyone is aware of upcoming deadlines, milestones and project activities.
When the team works from home team communication needs to become a lot more intentional. Therefore team managers need to schedule more virtual team meetings in which they will talk with the team about upcoming deadlines, milestones and project activities. This also means that in a work from home environment team meetings become a lot more essential.
I hope the information that I shared with you in this blog post is helpful! You can also watch a video on this topic on my YouTube channel. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions when you work from home during the coronavirus outbreak. Stay safe, stay home!