As the world is encouraged to practice social distancing, many of us have begun to work from home. This may be unfamiliar and slightly uncomfortable for some, but because the team at Clifford Chance Applied Solutions is spread across continents, remote working is not too much of a stranger to us. Here are some of our top tips on working efficiently from home.
Check-in with your colleagues every day
While you may rejoice at the thought of no interruptions from colleagues, we humans crave social interaction after all. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, working on your own for a prolonged period can be lonely. Having some daily chitchat with colleagues albeit remotely maintains a sense of normalcy. So why don't you go ahead and schedule a 5-minute video call with a different colleague every day just to catch up? Alternatively, you could encourage your team to have a daily 15 to 30-minute team check-in, allowing everyone to meet together and share how they are feeling in this changing times. This is a small promise to keep and can help combat the effects of isolation.
Dress like you’re going to work
A common mistake of remote work is sitting in pyjamas all day. Not only is this unprofessional on conference calls, but it also won’t make you feel any better. Instead, follow you daily work routine and dress as if you were going into the office. An added benefit is that people won't see your sloppy trousers should you stand up and get a glass of water during a conference call.
Set clear hours for work and unplugging
Without a commute and a separate space for work and home, it’s easy for work and personal life to blend together. If you love your job, you will always find more work to do but that’s a direct path to burnout.
What you can do is diarise the start and end of your work day, with a lunch break sometime in between so that the computer prompts you to leave work. Another method of setting mental boundaries is taking a short walk at the start and end of your day to simulate a commute and get some exercise. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your clients. Besides, clients may not like being emailed during their remote out-of-office hours either.
Set up a working area and stick to it
You must have seen a few photos of workstations on social media now. A clear desk and complete computer setup helps to create a pseudo office environment at home. Having a proper keyboard, mouse and standalone computer monitor can also help with your posture, instead of crouching over a small laptop. Remember, unlike in the office, you may not have the luxury to rely on an ergonomic chair at home to correct your posture.
Set expectations with colleagues and those around you
You may be a parent, pet owner or caretaker of an elderly member. While most people are sympathetic towards responsibilities at home, it's important and frankly polite to notify others who may be expecting work from you or attending a conference call with you to set appropriate expectations. So if your kids are popping in and out of the camera in the background or your dog is asking for attention, announce it in advance. You can always make up for work after your dependents are in bed.
On the other hand, if you are sharing limited space with someone else who is also working from home, it is a good idea to set out and agree with your family members or housemates on when can you be interrupted and what for. Setting a clear schedule for video meetings could work too, so that the other person would be quiet while you are on a call. The key here is communication and compromise.