As the Coronavirus continues to spread, more and more companies across the globe are instructing their employees to work from home to help combat the spread of the disease in order to upkeep health and wellbeing. The current, uncertain situation is understandably causing many people to feel anxious about the next few days, weeks and months ahead. Therefore, being prepared for remote working is one great way to help reduce anxiety or stress.
We understand the concerns about the current situation and the uncertainty that everybody is feeling at this time. Fortunately at CCM, the majority of our workforce has the ability to work from home due to the great technology we have in place. Our team is confident with these systems and how they can easily support remote working, and they are keen to share advice and tips with those who might not feel as confident.
Our 6 top tips are listed below...
1. Set up a comfortable and fully functioning workspace
It’s important you feel as comfortable as you would at your work office desk. Slouching on the sofa or sitting on a kitchen stool is fine for one or two quick emails, but if you're about to join an important video call or webinar, or start working on a key project, it’s important you’re sitting comfortably - not only for your productivity levels, but for your posture, mental focus and wellbeing.
The NHS has shared some fantastic tips here for how best to position yourself at a desk when working.
It seems obvious, but before you take your laptop home, make sure it’s up to date and set up to support remote working. Some businesses require VPN access to use their network folders. CCM uses Google Drive which makes all shared documents super easy to access, and puts you in a position to handle whatever is thrown your way.
2. Regularly check in with your colleagues
What’s the first thing you usually do when you walk into the office? We all like to make a round of drinks for the team and ask everyone how they are and have a little catch up. If part of or all of your workforce is working remotely, then there’s no need to suddenly stop this verbal interaction. Why not check in with your colleagues each day via Google Hangouts? We plan on having regular catch ups between departments and with the whole company via Google Hangouts so that productivity levels remain high.
3. Software is key!
Having the right software is so important. At CCM, we’re confident in the type of software we use and know that whether in the office or in the comfort of your own home our whole team is set up to maintain strong relationships and high levels of productivity.
Slack is the perfect tool to help you maintain strong levels of conversation with colleagues and clients. Not only is Slack more personal, but it’s also a lot more direct and speedier than sending an email (which we all know can easily be lost). Our teams love using Slack for internal conversations and to chat with clients. Trello is another great tool to help you keep on top of projects and those never-ending to-do lists! Again, we use this software for our internal workflow but also use it with our customers to keep on top of tasks.
At CCM, we’ve introduced a lot of our clients to the different software we couldn’t do our day-to-day jobs without! Amazingly, these exact clients have now adapted to such software and now agree that they too, couldn’t survive their working day without these innovative tools.
Finally, but by no means least Google Drive is a must-have! It’s live and easily accessible by all. Therefore, if you’ve got important documents to share with your colleague or client(s) - Google Drive gives you the option to share instantly, with the option to allow others to make live edits.
P.S. What’s even better is that all software mentioned above is free to download from your app store, meaning you can action any requests from your mobile device!
4. Divert your calls
Divert your calls through to your mobile to ensure you don’t miss out on any important information. At CCM, we have invested in a fantastic telephone management system called HiHi.
HiHi has helped make this such a seamless process for us at CCM. As well as deskphones, HiHi launched 2 mobile applications HiHi Connect and HiHi there, which are designed to provide unified communication solutions for all.
5. Stay on task
It’s inevitable that at home you will find multiple distractions from staying on task. Additionally, keeping home life separate from work life can be a challenge, especially when sitting in the comfort of your own home! Therefore, firstly and foremost, ensure you give yourself a dedicated area to work and a dedicated place to take breaks - distinguish the two to strengthen discipline.
You might also feel like you need some background noise… our tip would be to avoid watching a film or starting one of the new Netflix series you’ve been keen to start - this is likely going to distract you from the task you’re working on. Instead, why not listen to some music, or maybe even a podcast relevant to your interests? There’s hundreds of free podcasts available via Spotify which can really inspire and motivate you or maybe even just lighten the mood. We have music playing in the office every day and we love how it puts everyone in a good mood!
6. Take well-deserved breaks
Finally (and probably most importantly), take a break! You are entitled to breaks at work and you are entitled to these same breaks when working remotely.
It is so easy to become too heavily involved in what you’re doing and not switch off, but this isn’t good for productivity levels and nor is it good for your mental wellbeing. Avoid catching cabin fever and take a break from the position you’ve been in.
Taking a break might include; making yourself some lunch, going for a walk outside to get some fresh air, or listening to a podcast or audiobook. Our Managing Director, Trent Peek is an advocate for listening to audiobooks. It all depends on your own personal interests and motivations as to what will be most inspiring for you but Trent’s go to listen is; Infinite Game by Simon Sinek.
Another great thing we make time for at CCM is two hours of Personal Development time per week. This is a great way to take dedicated time out from your day-to-day workload and focus on an area or skill set you want to develop outside of your particular role and remit. This works so well for our employees and we will still be encouraging PD time for those working from home. If this is something you don’t already do at your company, we would highly recommend you speak with the right person about getting this implemented to improve employee productivity! We will be talking more about the positive impact our Personal Development time has on our blog in the coming months.
We hope the above has proved to be a useful guide on how to remain productive whilst working remotely. Stay up to date with the latest coronavirus information by using the NHS or Department of Health and Social Care websites.