Working remote for the first time? Distancing while connecting!Dana Bojcic
We, at Vici, have a lot of experience working remotely. We have your back on this and want to share our best tips and tools!
Remember, no one will be able to interpret or present your capabilities better than you! Much like the Telephone game you may have played as a child, at best, the presentation gets distorted by someone in between you and the decision maker, at worst, it never leaves their email or desk. Instead of resorting to long emails and sending your capabilities and pricing out minus a personal touch, offer instead to do virtual meetings and screenshares. Not only is this an awesome alternative, it is often free.
Here are the tools and tips we have and use daily:
1. A conference line. A good one that is free is https://www.freeconferencecall.com/ Once you create the account you can send it to multiple people, so all decisions makers are welcome to jump on and listen. Having a dedicated line to pass out as needed is an essential tool and eliminates a ton of back and forth “what number should I call” type emails.
2. A screen share option. Set up an account for free (or you can upgrade to premium versions) and share your screen and your presentation anytime. At Vici, we currently use Start Meeting https://www.startmeeting.com/ (this is also the service we use for our Wednesday Webinars). 30 day free trial (you get can phone number or VOIP, record, etc.) We pay $12.95 a month per user. Another one we have used is Join.me https://www.join.me. You can do a free trial for 30 days.
Using these tools allows you to stay in control of how your capabilities are presented, and who they are presented to and it works just as good for the first pitch as the second or third.
Now that you have your tools, it is time to look at your workspace. Here are “Vici’s Top Tips for Working from Home Productively.” These tips are shared with every employee as we all have the option and ability to work from home:
1. Have a designated work-space. Decide where you will work from in your home and set up a space. Make sure you have access to plenty of outlets and that you have all your chargers, cords and equipment necessary. When setting up your space, try to find an area away from distractions and make sure you have a comfortable chair.
2. Get dressed. You don’t have to be fancy but definitely change out of what you slept in. Wearing shoes can also have a huge impact on productivity.
3. Set your hours and start and end on time. Just like when you go into the office, have your morning routine, get your coffee or workout in, and then get to work on time. Don’t procrastinate.
4. Plan out what you will be working on. The day before, look at your tasks for the next day and solidify your schedule. Have a list ready so you know what to get started on right away. Plan your week to optimize your environment.
5. To stay on schedule, map out what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. Use your Outlook calendar to set events and reminders that will alert you when it is time to start your next task or block of time.
6. Work when you’re at your most productive. Are you on fire in the morning or is the afternoon more your “zone?” Your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day, and when you’re working from home, it’s more important to know when those ebbs and flows will take place and plan your schedule around it. Save your harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier, logistical tasks that are also on your plate.
7. Stay Connected. Be accessible and check in with your peeps. At Vici we use Slack (www.slack.com) to message our co-workers, keeping e-mail uncluttered for client interactions. Get on Slack so you are connected and feel like you are part of the team. There are other resources like WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams,
8. Make it clear to family and friends that you are working. Have a sign you post on the door to indicate you should not be interrupted. Decide if you need noise cancelling headphones or earbuds to eliminate background noises.
9. Distractions will call your name and you need to be strong. Don’t surrender to some of the common distractions of home like putting in a load of laundry, turning on the TV or doing other household chores.
10. If you are a social media addict, avoid it altogether. Shut off social media notifications during the day. This will help avoid interruptions, so you can focus on getting more done.
11. Take clear breaks. Get up and stretch! Use your breaks to get away from your desk. Go for a walk outside or spend time with others who might also be in the house. Breaks, like making and eating lunch, can recharge you to do better work. Don’t assume you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re home to be more productive.
12. Another work from home reality is that we have full access to the kitchen. So, when it’s time for lunch or a snack break, we are immediately drawn to the usual snacks, such as chips, cookies or leftover pizza. However, research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct link on overall productivity levels. If you are an avid snacker, then make it a point to make yourself a healthy lunch, just as you would if you had to go into an office. You can also avoid buying unhealthy snacks altogether.
13. Enjoy your time and flexibility. The beauty of working from home one day a week is that it allows you to concentrate fully on important projects without distractions. It allows you to have lunch in your own kitchen or your favorite places nearby. It allows you to listen to any music you want and to replace your commuting time with something enjoyable. Take advantage of the time each week to recharge in your own personal space.
14. Consider creating a vision board for your home office space. A vision board is just that: a board that you can use to write notes and post pictures of your dreams and aspirations. The visualization aspect of a vision board is a great and powerful mind exercise. It can help you feel the way you want to feel. This could help you get out of your work from home slump, and pave a new, clear path to productivity and success.