COVID-19 has resulted in many people in the UK transitioning to remote working. While you may have found your way around video calls and at-home distractions, the etiquette of working from home is also important.
1. Call or video chat whenever possible
Connecting face-to-face is important, especially when dealing with your UK business. Whenever possible, touch base with your colleagues using a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Teams. This is the quickest way to chat, ensuring there’s no missed information or miscommunication.
At Sable International we prefer to communicate via video call rather than text-based communication whenever possible. While working in isolation, having face-to-face catch-ups helps reduce feelings of loneliness many of us have experienced during lockdown.
2. Keep in mind different time zones
It’s important to remember where everyone lives and factor time zones into your meeting requests. You don’t want your co-worker’s phone ringing at three in the morning telling them there’s a conference call about to begin. Try rotating the start time of your meetings so the same people aren’t inconvenienced every time.
With offices in the UK, South Africa and Australia, we also have to work around this. When setting a meeting time, we check all the attendees’ calendars and speak with them directly to find the best solution for everyone involved.
3. Structure your work hours
An upside to working remotely is flexibility. Many people who have made the abrupt transition into working from home may have responsibilities that prevent them from working their usual office hours. You can easily extend your day or start earlier if needed. However, it’s still important to give yourself clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day to avoid burnout.
Your colleagues may be continuing as normal and depend on you to respond to their queries and attend conference calls as if you were still present in the office. If you need to take a bit of time out to take care of some life admin, plan your meetings accordingly and try to work on your most important tasks at the times of the day when you know you’re able to be focused and productive.
Don’t forget to block off the times in your diary that you know you will be unavailable to take calls or attend meetings.
4. Communicate everything
While we’re working from our homes, we can’t just walk over to our colleagues’ desks and get the answers we need. It’s important to respond quickly to emails and direct messages so that you don’t slow down the workflow. Another reason for overcommunicating is transparency. Document your tasks more than normal and in as much detail as possible.
Project management software can help you and your teammates keep track of your processes – we use Jira. There are many productivity tools available that can help you maintain communication and a seamless workflow in your virtual office – you just need to find what works for you.
5. Update your status
The flexibility of remote work may also become a downside if not managed effectively. It’s easy to assume that because you’re stuck at home you’re always available for a quick chat, and your colleagues may send you messages outside of your regular work hours or while you’re off sick. The solution is to treat any time off the same way you would if you were leaving your work at the office. If you are unavailable, be sure to send a group message, or change your status to let everyone know.
Status updates on your chosen chat platform are a great way of letting teammates around the world know when you are and aren’t available. This helps colleagues who may need information in a timely manner to plan accordingly.
See also: How to run a remote team successfully
2020 is going to be seen as the year of remote work and as technology improves and the advantages of a remote team become apparent, it’s something that may become standard in the future.
Remote work has quickly become a necessity for many UK businesses – and we think it’s just the start. Our expert consultants can help your business adapt to this new way of working. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0) 20 7759 7553.
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