March 18, 2020

570 words 3 mins read

How to Remote - Part 1 of n...

I just scribbled this down since I’ve been asked multiple times on how to be efficient when working from home. Here’s some tips that will hopefully help you:

  1. Have a separate place to work. Have a separate place to sleep / eat / relax. Do not mix them up. Everyone makes the mistake of working from their beds. Stop that!

  2. Have specific times to work. Dont go into this never-ending spree of working because you have a stable internet connection and uninterrupted power. Start at a fixed time, STOP at a fixed time. Note the emphasis on Stop.

  3. Take regular breaks. Go for a quick walk - Even if its the confines of your home. Stretch, stay hydrated, spend a few minutes talking to your family - The context switch lets you come back fresher and geared up for more. I’ve worked remote nearly half of my career of 15 years and trust me - That context switch is insanely powerful!

  4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. You’re no longer working face to face. The key to working efficiently when remote and not under someone’s watchful eyes is to communicate. Its fine to bombard the channels with what you’re up to. When your team knows what you’re up to, everyone works smoother.

With that, here’s some tips for the leads / managers / whoever manages a team:

This remote work thing that everyone is going through - the scale of this is unprecedented. Too many people, including yourself have been thrown into the paradigm without a chance to prepare. So, here’s some tips for you:

Remote work does not mean you ping your team member every minute to check if they’re working. Trust them to deliver and they will. Trust them to not, they’ll prove you right!

  1. You have to grow into a larger role than the manager you were at work! You need to now prepare to enable your team to work without supervision and deliver. Spend a few minutes every night to prepare a task list for each of your team members to try to accomplish the next day.

Note: The task list is a happy list. You and your team aspire to complete it. But you do not penalise if its not done. A good middle ground is if atleast 60-70% is done.

  1. Ease your team into the remote paradigm - Have a call with them first thing in the morning. Walk through the list and help them understand very clearly what the tasks are so they can operate on them independently. Choose the right set of tools so you can enable them to collaborate well. Refer to point 4 in the list above. Communication starts from you and flows downward.

  2. Make sure you understand the team well and make them feel comfortable - They’re scared. Everyone has the right to be. Their productivity will not be the same as how it was when you were all in the safe confines of your office. Be their support system.

  3. Change every conversation from “why you did / didnt do this” to “how can we change the process so this doesnt happen”. Make the discussion about issues. Not about people. Its embarassing to be screamed at when one’s at home and is surrounded by family. A job is a point of pride, make the effort to keep it that way.

Will throw in some more tips next time…

Take care! Stay safe!