Advancements made in collaboration technologies, such as video conferencing and document sharing, have boosted the trend of remote work. However, COVID-19 has forced most organizations to hastily adopt this new and unfamiliar working condition. The sudden shift from working in an office to working from home presents employees and employers with equal shares of inconvenience and distraction. With little time to prepare or adjust to a work from home culture, organizations affected by COVID-19 are being put to the test to adopt company-wide best practices and policies to maintain employee productivity.
For years, Core BTS has encouraged both employees and customers alike to leverage technologies and practices that promote secure collaboration regardless of physical location. Now with COVID—19 spreading, Core has taken proactive measures to ensure the health of employees and their families by instituting a work-from-home policy. We know how fortunate we are to be in a position where technology facilitates our abilities to allow employees to work from the safety of their home.
In our last blog we discussed reasons why organizations should embrace modern collaboration tools during this pandemic. To help with your transition for remote working, Core is happy to share some tips that we’ve found useful in our own experience of working from home.
- Send a clear, succinct agenda in advance of every meeting.
- Greet attendees as they join. Show off pets or décor to start conversations and encourage the personalities of your attendees to shine.
- As you join a large meeting, announce yourself, then mute your line so any background noise doesn’t become a nuisance.
- Use video on every call with your team or customers to convey non-verbal cues, which can be lost if you can’t see one another.
- Bandwidth constraints can cause meeting hiccups, so consider turning video off during important discussions to minimize disruptions.
- If you ask for ideas or comments, wait for 5-10 seconds to give folks time to un-mute themselves.
- If acceptable, record your meetings. This might make some individuals uncomfortable, but it gives those unable to attend the chance to catch up on information they missed.
- Provide a clear summary with action items to ensure everyone is committed to completing their assignments before the next meeting.
- Ensure your computer is compliant with corporate security guidelines.
- In case your Internet connection slows down, install your mobile communications application (Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc.) on your phone as a backup.
- If you’re used to using multiple screens in the office, consider having a similar setup at home.
- If your laptop doesn’t have a camera, get a webcam for your meetings.
- Dim your background lighting and brighten your foreground lighting, so people can see your face and expressions.
- Make sure your Internet is reliable and fast. (We recommend upgrading to the second tier of service, typically 500-1000 Mbps.)
- Take the time to plan out your working environment. Lighting, décor and adequate space can make for a pleasant and comfortable transition from the same office amenities.
- Make sure your surrounding environment is quiet. Setting boundaries with kids, roommates, or loved ones during “work hours” can help reduce unwanted disruptions.
- Get up every two hours to eat, drink, and take a break.
- Check on the kids, roommates or loved ones.
- It’s OK to sip a drink during meetings but avoid eating – crunching and chewing can be a distraction.
- Establishing a routine is important as it helps differentiate between “work hours” and “personal time.”
- Start working at the same time each day, and finish at the same time each day.
- Wear business casual clothing at a minimum – you never know who may join a meeting.
- Avoid small stripes on your shirt or blouse. Video often turns these into moving patterns that distract your audience.
- Don’t do household chores during work time. How much time are you saving every day by not commuting to and from the office? That’s the time you can use before or after work hours to knock out the laundry – and enjoy a new sense of work/life balance.
Core BTS understands the current challenges that businesses around the world are facing. Our customer-obsessed consultants are ready to meet with you to understand your business collaboration needs. With the help of partners like Microsoft and Cisco, we can help you find the solution that best supports your organization in this difficult time.