What if remote working is your new norm?

Written by: Rachael Moller

Well, we all hear it. Everyone talking about COVID normal – the new norm.

Businesses have risen to the challenge and adapted to remote working. Organisations that hadn’t yet embraced workplace flexibility have been propelled into a completely new and progressive way of thinking.

But let’s be real here, while remote working has many positives it also creates some downsides. To maximise success when working from home, you need to bolster the way you work to ensure you achieve results whilst balancing your needs and the needs of your team.

Here are our 3 top tips to blitzing remote work:

1. Tailor your communication

Much of our communication is via email, video conferencing or on the phone. We have minimal face to face communication and multiple possibilities for miscommunication. This can be easily managed though.

Just think about your audience especially in an email

Who are you writing to? Would their preference be short, sharp and to the point or would they prefer detail, data and evidence or what about those who need warmth and a personal touch to be infused into the content?

Let’s look at the first scenario – short and sharp, maybe even without a sign off.  This can be off putting if it’s not your style. It can lead to questioning the sender’s intention, which can flow on to a delayed response, with time spent worrying about the email rather than focussing on the action required. And of course, if you are the short, sharp emailer, this can be incredibly frustrating.

The same applies to other styles. Hence why tailoring your communication is a better option.

  • If you’re not sure, check out their writing style and respond in a similar way.  It might sound a little strange but think about the emails you like to receive and then think about how they have been constructed. In most cases if the style meets your needs, you respond quickly and accordingly.
  • If you know the recipient is quick and too the point, leave out unnecessary detail, include only what they need to know and don’t waste time asking how they are feeling.
  • If they love detail and data, then give them the detail, the facts and any other information that relates in a systematic and logical way.
  • If they are warm and people focused, ask or comment about something important to them and yes that means find out about something that’s important to them or they may have even given you clues along the way. Greet and sign off the email with a focus on personal connection.

2. Keep connected

It is so easy to forget about your colleagues when you cannot see them.

Some of us love a chat and some love to be left to our own devises. And if you know your colleagues you will know exactly who I am talking about.

Infuse some informality and maybe even some fun into online team meetings where you can.

It can even be just 5 minutes at the start of the meeting to ensure you acknowledge and connect with each person.  If you do this with real intention and purpose, it’s amazing how this can keep team members feeling united, in the loop and it also impacts the rest of your day in a positive way. You can very easily switch the focus to business once you have had the chance to check in.

Aside from meetings, don’t forget to pick up the phone and say hi. You can even coordinate a virtual coffee break if that’s your cup of tea. Either way remember you are still part of a team and that you need to look out for each other.

And if you haven’t done it yet, get onto some virtual team building! It could be more serious and about setting the values, behaviours and objectives of your team with a particular focus on the new norm. Or it can just be fun! Trivia, scavenger hunts, pizza Fridays or anything you can conjure up to keep the team united.

3. Maximise your motivation and focus

Keeping motivated and maintaining focus when you are working remotely can also be a challenge.

It all starts with your morning routine. Making sure you have a regular ritual that you follow to prepare for the day. It might sound trivial, but these sorts of routines are very important.

Routines give us structure…

Routines provide a roadmap, keep us on track, eliminate the need to plan, free up time to be more productive and the list goes on.  They also ensure we start the day stress free, focussed and more prepared to tackle whatever comes our way.

Once the workday starts, review your objectives for the day and beyond, set targets and timeframes to be achieved. Push yourself a little. It’s motivating to have a little pressure driving us along and very satisfying to tick off objectives as they are completed.

As you progress through the day use different focus tactics to ensure you knock those objectives off one by one.

Are you a morning or afternoon person?

You could consider scheduling more complex tasks based on the times of day, where you feel the most energetic and focused and leaving simpler tasks to the times when your energy levels drop.

Make sure you take regular breaks and stretch every 90 minutes or so.

Evidence shows that a break recharges you – you become mentally fatigued, productivity and quality drop, and let’s face it, it is all so much harder. I guarantee if you take regular breaks, away from your desk you will be re-energised, re-focused and far more equipped to succeed.

With these 3 tips up your sleeve, you just might find that the new norm has created a workplace that is perfect for you.


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