9 Tips to Remain an Awesome Colleague While Working Remotely

9 Tips to Remain an Awesome Colleague While Working Remotely

We are living in unprecedented times, for many employers and employees, it will be the first time they have moved to remote working. It’s distinctly different from being in an office and needs a different mindset. Here are some top tips from one of MHR’s HR experts to help you quickly become productive at home. 

  1. Take the time to learn and adapt. It takes practice, but when you get settled at home you can become more productive than in the office.  You’ll get things wrong to begin with.  Just learn from each experience.  A close friend didn’t work remotely until later in life and his coping mechanism was to walk to the shops and buy his paper before arriving back home in ‘work’ mode.  This allowed him his ‘commute’ to work where he planned his day and arrived mentally prepared.
  2. Set up clear boundaries between work and home so you can step away from work at the end of the day. This could be as simple as packing all your work items back into your laptop bag so you can return your home to being a home.
  3. Consider how you will take suitable breaks away from your laptop, tablet, and phone. It’s too easy to spend hours connected to your devices at the expense of drinking enough fluids and walking around.  Plan your breaks before you start. 
  4. Talk to your customers and suppliers about their remote working challenges. There maybe an opportunity to learn from each other, or that both sides can adapt how they work to make remote working easier for everyone.  There’s no need to pretend that you’re in the office.
  5. Create and maintain clear communication lines. For many, this will already be in place but for others trying to work together as a team, they may need extra online meetings to review work progress.  Try, reflect, amend and try again. 
  6. As a manager, increase your check-ins. You can help your team by supporting their move to remote working by discussing their challenges, celebrating their success and removing any barriers for them.  Holding additional check-ins while they’re getting used to their new working environment will really help.
  7. Celebrate the interruptions of your family and pets! When working from home, it’s difficult to impose a vow of silence onto other members of your household.  Dogs will bark and kids will make noise just at the wrong moment.  Don’t be afraid of introducing those people around you to your colleagues.  Remember Professor Robert Kelly trying to conduct his BBC interview? 
  8. Can remote working be a benefit for your customers? You may be able to provide better support for your customers, especially as a global organisation.  The ability to vary your working hours to attend meetings in different time zones may be easier while working at home.  This increase in availability and productivity could be the glue that is needed to make remote working stick.
  9. Have you got the right equipment? Make sure you’re comfortable and not risking your own posture and long-term health by using an inappropriate set-up.  A small investment could make remote working a long-term option.

You have the ability to be more productive as a remote working colleague even if only for one day per week.  Please take advantage of that opportunity and then support other colleagues to achieve the same.

A note for employers 

There’s so much happening in the world today and employers are looking at how to continue to work effectively, even when their workforce is no longer in an office.  This may be the moment for many employers to change the approach to remote working; this could be a dreaded moment or the impetus for change.  However, you’re feeling about this, please consider that remote working gives employees an opportunity to achieve a better work/life balance, be more productive, give a better service to your customers, reduce CO2 emissions and save hours of delays in traffic jams.

Remote working can deliver huge business and personal benefits when approached professionally.  For some people, this won’t work and businesses need to support office working for these colleagues.  Any breach of trust on working remotely must be dealt with swiftly to avoid a continued business impact which will ultimately affect customers. 

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