Over the past few weeks, more and more companies have asked employees to work from home. Even if you're used to working from home, it can get a tad difficult sometimes. Our in-house expert Jane Harper lends some tips for remote work and best practices to help you stay successful in your next quarter.
Q1. How to be the best virtual teammate?
Be upfront and clear. One of the biggest barriers to effective telecommuting is unclear communication and a lack of focus. Managers of virtual teams struggle to get communication right. Let your manager know what to expect from you – how often you are available to have video-chats or conference calls.
Keep communication and expectations consistent to bridge the distance. Check in more frequently than you normally would while working from the office.
Managing a virtual team presents unique challenges to everyday business, but trends indicate it is not going away any time soon. Make sure you are the most reliable virtual teammate you can be.
Q2. How to be productive when you’re working from home?
You don’t need a cubicle to stay focused. But it takes certain skills to work from home. Here’s what I learned are the keys to success.
Set boundaries between home life and work.
Communicate to your family that you’re in the office.
Know your distractions.
Set a schedule.
Schedule proper breaks.
Limit social media, emails and shopping.
Q3. How do I justify mindless surfing while working from home?
Go nuclear. Block time-wasting sites entirely. You will only get a few hours to perform your basic tasks during the day, and maybe even get a certain feeling of accomplishment but the truth is, you haven’t really exerted any mental activity except maybe during those hours.
Quit screwing around online. Make a list of sites you’re wasting the most time on and block them.
Q4. How to conduct a virtual meeting?
Stick to meeting basics. Set clear objectives and outline next steps after each virtual meeting. Virtual meetings can be run effectively using the most basic meeting DO’S and DON’Ts.
Choose the right technology.
Define agenda of the meeting.
Use an icebreaker.
Don’t go soft on issues that require immediate attention.
Speak clearly and concisely.
Virtual meetings are just like face-to-face meetings. But it’s always better to stay safe than sorry, so conduct every session with professionalism.
Q5. How to tell someone they’re being laid off?
Handle conversation with care. There is no right way of giving your employees notice that their jobs are going away. Layoffs is a demanding task and that takes an emotional toll even on the most experienced managers.
Principles to remember
Deliver news in a private and quiet physical environment
Enlist the help of HR to manage the process
Anticipate how the person will react to the news
Talk about how difficult this is for you
It’s important to perform a layoff that is both legal and compassionate.
The brutal and straightforward answers to HR-related queries and concerns. Send in your queries with the subject line ‘Ask JANE HARPER’ at [email protected]