Teleworking: 4 tips to make it work for you

For many, teleworking used to seem like a dream (or a nightmare, depending on who you asked). Thanks to COVID, it has become reality for many in the working world. Here are four tips to help you make sure teleworking works for you.

Prior to COVID, when you talked about “working from home,” most people would say “Oh, sure that’d be great, but it could never work for my job,” or “Yeah, I’d love to, but my boss would never go for that!” How times have changed.

For nearly two years, everyone at our company has worked from their homes.  Very early, we realized, no matter how bad COVID became or didn’t, it wasn’t worth the risk to our staff and their families. So we sent everyone home, with their computers and work phones.

If you are dealing with a similar situation, here are four important tips that we have found useful in helping to “normalize” the situation.

Have a dedicated work space

If you’re working from home, it is crucial to have a dedicated work space. This allows you to spread your work out and not worry about your kids or dogs trampling all over it. It also allows you to have professional meetings without “distractions.”

But, most importantly, a dedicated space can also help you “leave the office” at the end of the day. If you are working from the sofa, and your laptop is just sitting on the coffee table, it is a lot easier to “just finish one more thing.” We need to work, but we also need to rest.

Take breaks…frequently

And speaking of rest, the next most important part of any work day is taking pauses. Even just standing up and walking around the room a couple times counts. Stretch your legs, arms, back, shoulders. Change your eye focus away from the screen that is 18 inches from your face to the trees and hills outside the window. Go get another glass of water. Maybe go switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer!

All of these not only help your body to keep your blood flowing properly, but also help your mind, by giving it a rest for a second, which can also help you find a way around that problem you’ve been battling all morning!

Make sure you’ve got great internet service

But for all of this to work, you need the right technology! Is your Internet connection fast enough? Providers are putting in fiber optic (Glasfaser) in even the smallest villages, so maybe call your provider to see if they can upgrade you (I actually saved money by upgrading my service!).

Get the right apps

Having the right applications is another crucial part of working remotely. By now, most people know all about Zoom, the ubiquitous video conferencing software.

Other options include the newer Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans and Jabber – not to mention Webex, GoToMeeting and Skype. Video calls are great for business meetings. They can also be a nice way to do “stand-up” meetings or just see each others’ faces once in a while!

And for quicker conversations, there are a number of “chat” applications, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Chat, that allow you and your team to communicate quickly.

Most of these apps also allow you to share images, files, and create groups for team- or subject-oriented conversations.

For bigger situations, like project management, there are some great options out there. Basecamp and Asana have been around forever, but we use one called Redbooth.

Most project management applications let you create users, assign teams and roles, upload documents, create and assign tasks, etc. These can be a great way to collaborate remotely.

So, while your current work situation may seem like a big shift, with a little attention and care, it can also help keep you and your family safe, while also keeping things moving at work.

And hey, maybe you and your boss will even come to like the new setup, at least a couple days a week!