Most people assumed working from home is simply bringing work home. But things are not as simple as that.
How things work in the office may not necessarily work remotely. The way people work and collaborate are different. From discussing face to face to meeting virtually, from walking across the desk to sending messages, from doing work supervised to unsupervised.
Most people have probably realized that they need to learn work-from-home best practices to excel in remote working, instead of relying on the office way.
Think of work-from-home best practices as a guiding principle anchoring all team members.
With a set of common guiding principle, the team can:
Communicate in a clear and concise way without invading other’s personal space,
Conduct effective and efficient video conferences,
Live healthy and stay energized throughout the day,
Be more productive.
In this article, you will learn the guiding principles, namely, the 5 keys to working remotely successfully.
You will also get a ‘work from home best practices’ checklist at the end of this page. The short and straightforward checklist can remind you of these important etiquettes and practical ways to implement them.
5 Keys To Working Remotely Successfully
#1. Treat Video Calls As Physical Meetings
Just because people are working from home, it doesn’t mean they should be wearing pajamas, eating snacks, or playing with phones during video calls.
This can give the impression of not being serious, disrespectful, and maybe offensive to some individuals.
The simplest unwritten rule when it comes to remote working meeting etiquette is this:
Treat video conferences as physical meetings.
In physical meetings, people get dressed up, test their speakers and mic, do not eat, do not look at phones (maybe sometimes), and do not interrupt the speaker. In short, they get well prepared for the meeting.
As for virtual meetings, people tend to slack off a little and do not treat video calls as serious as physical meetings. This can result in leaving a negative impression to the team.
One more thing.
Did you know that people can see you better in video calls than in physical meetings?
In physical meetings, the speaker holds the spotlight. In video calls, your video could be one of the five that shows up in everyone’s Zoom.
So, assume that everyone can see you and behave in video calls just like in physical meetings.
Above all, background noises are annoying. They can affect moods and morale, turning happy faces to unhappy ones.
If you are at a place with background noises, it is one of the work from home best practices to mute when you are not talking. To mute, click on the Microphone icon and you will see a line appear diagonally on the icon.
And remember to unmute when you need to talk by clicking the Microphone icon again. It could be tiring to repeat what you said 3 minutes ago when your co-worker just told you to unmute yourself.
#3. Keep Follow-Ups At A Comfortable Level
Imagine each follow-up text or phone call is equivalent to knocking on someone’s door and say, “Hey, have you completed the task yet?”
When a person receives waves of text messages and phone calls, the sender is actually invading the receiver’s personal space and time.
The receiver could feel stressed or even frustrated at the ongoing “pings” from the same person, chasing for the same thing every 5 minutes.
Look, we are not saying to not follow up. But keep it at a comfortable level. And each individual has a different comfort level of communication.
One of the work from home best practices is to ask your co-workers to set a comfortable level of follow up.
A person might prefer to receive messages in the afternoon. Another person might not be okay to receive texts upon texts in a row, while some are okay with it.
Find out what your co-worker’s comfort level of communication is and follow that.
However, one is not restricted to meet their co-workers for work only. They can organize a physical meetup on the weekends to celebrate someone’s birthday or anniversary.
If meeting physically is not an option, hold virtual celebrations. Catch up with your co-workers after meetings. Show care and extend help when they need it.
Remote workers may not be physically connected with their team, but they can still be mentally and emotionally connected.
#5. Stay Healthy And Well
Remote workers run the risk of burnout, therefore its in our interest as remote workers to stay healthy and well. Working from home comes with two sides of a coin.
With the kitchen and refrigerator just a few feet away, it can be tempting to grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or a box of donuts lying around.
It can also be easy to roll up the sleeves, put on the apron, and start cooking 15-minute, delicious, healthy meals.
While we are not forbidding ice creams or donuts or any of the sorts, what you put into your body can directly affect your work performance.
Remember the mid-afternoon crash? That often happens when people eat high-simple-carb meals like donuts, energy bars with high sugar, fruit yogurts with added sugars, pastries, pretzels, or chips.
An afternoon crash can reduce energy, delay focus, cause brain fog, and sleepiness. Thus, tasks take a longer time to complete. The brain is unable to stay focused. And the temptation to sink into the bed can overtake almost anyone.
On the other hand,some foods provide sustained energy throughout the day. Aim for high-quality complex carb foods such as whole-grain bread, cereals, hummus, fresh fruits, vegetables and vegetable sticks, and quinoa. And most importantly, water.
The rule of thumb here is to consume high-quality complex-carb instead of simple-carb meals. And stay hydrated.