Companies around the world have issued optional and in some cases, mandatory work from home policies due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It's an unprecedented shift in the way the vast majority of the world works.
At Comfy, we're experts in managing the dynamic workplace and bridging the physical and digital workplace experience. We are also a highly distributed workforce with a high percentage of remote workers and teams operating beyond the walls of our Oakland HQ office on a typical day. Here are some best practices and suggestions from our industry experts and workplace road warriors on how to stay productive and engaged while working virtually.
Create a Routine
Solution Architect Brian Weinstein who works remotely: "My advice would be to treat WFH like any other work day. Keep a schedule. Wear the same clothes you would wear to the office. Try and do everything in a separate room if you have one."
"Honestly, my biggest challenge is setting work hours and NOT ending up working 7am-8pm straight. It's much easier to leave the office than to leave home," concurred Customer Success & Sr. Implementation Manager Anderson Shepard.
Mind Your Space
Product Management Director Marta Kazberuk suggests, "Clean up whatever's behind you so that customers don't see clutter during conference calls. Have good headphones. Invest in good coffee beans."
Don't forget about housekeeping of your virtual space too. "If joining a large conference call, make sure you're on mute, then press space bar to speak. Also, if you often organize team meetings, make sure you've checked the "Join before host" preference in Zoom so your teammates who join before you can chat with each other instead of staring at the "Waiting for Host" box," suggests Staff Engineer Donovan Mikrot.
Stay Visible and Connected
As the CDC continues to encourage social distancing and self-quarantining, it is more important than ever to proactively create virtual moments of collaboration and social engagement. "What people don’t realize is that working from home means you will have more meetings, not less, because you need to make up for the lost ‘water cooler’ moments you get in the office," described Senior Director of Customer Success Owen Glubiak who works out of his home office in Boston.
"Plan your day accordingly and control your calendar. For example, to keep myself organized, I break my calendar into slots to make sure I am planning out what I need to get done in a day and the estimated time to complete each task. I mark when I'm "free" or "busy" and need focus time, so that people know when they can schedule meetings with me or not," Owen suggests.
With school closures sweeping the world and the majority of families in the US consisting of two working parents, it's especially important to keep personal calendars up-to-date, to respect times marked as unavailable, and to be prepared to be flexible if plans change suddenly.
Undoubtedly, these next few months will be an eye-opening experience for many companies and an unprecedented experiment for business leaders tasked with designing agile workplaces. Many organizations may find themselves reassessing their entire workplace strategy. Comfy looks forward to partnering with our clients on this journey as we redefine the workplace experience during these turbulent times. For now, we encourage you to follow virtual working best practices and wash your hands often.