How to improve your remote work routine during COVID-19

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly growing around the globe, millions of people have shifted their daily routines and started working from home. Voxnest knows a thing or two about working from home, as we’re a fully remote company. While our team members are still being personally impacted by the challenges of this time, we can ensure both the wellbeing of our employees and the full operation of all our products. 

While some companies already operate remotely like us, the majority of businesses and employees are still new to this way of working, which requires a lot of accountability and efficient communication tools. 

Since the two brands that merged to create Voxnest – Spreaker and Blog Talk Radio – have both been remote-first companies for more than ten years, we consider ourselves to be work-from-home experts. Today, Voxnest is proudly a workforce of around 40 people composed of more than 12 different nationalities, living across over 10 different countries. 

Although it sounds tempting and it is indeed a work-goal of thousands of people, telework does involve many challenges, and these days, there are additional challenges since it’s likely that your family is at home too. That’s why we asked our team to share their top 10 tips on how to make a day of working-from-home successful, especially for those who are not familiar with the concept. 

Tip #1 – Set a time to start and finish your day

Avoid starting the day while you’re still in bed or having breakfast. You’ll be spending the entire day at home, so it’s essential to separate the different rituals during your day. Although it sounds challenging, it’s better to try and organize your habits as if you were still leaving for work. If you were used to exercising, taking a shower, having breakfast, and then setting off, try to keep that up! We don’t have to say it, but… don’t work in your pajamas! Getting dressed differently, even if it’s in comfy clothes, will still help you separate your work time.

Tip #2 – Be wise at managing your time

Because you’re not commuting, you have extra time for little things like staying in bed longer, doing the laundry, exercising, having an extended breakfast, catching up with the news or petting your dog. More than ever, we all deserve little pleasures. However, use this freedom with responsibility, and don’t let this interfere with your work. 

Tip #3 – Plan your week 

At the office, your tasks may come up as you go, but at home, it’s preferable to plan your week and have clarity about all your assignments. Talk to your manager and discuss what your priorities and goals for the week are. If you’re the manager, make sure all your team members are on the same page about what they need to accomplish each week. 

Tip #4 – There are plenty of tools to help you 

If you’re having a hard time tracking the progress of your work, there are plenty of free or freemium tools you can utilize and encourage your team to do the same. 

Toggl – Tracks the time you spend on different projects. It’s a great asset, mainly if you work for multiple clients. 

Trello and Basecamp – Enable you to create, manage, and assign tasks, as well as monitor their progress. 

Zoom and Hangouts – Both are video conferencing tools where you can also share your screen and run presentations. 

Slack – It’s like an office, but online. You can create different channels, each one dedicated to different teams or topics. Plus, it enables video calls, sharing files, and more. In most remote companies, Slack replaces the use of emails.  

Tip #5 – Plan your meals 

Since the days of going out for lunch with your coworkers are gone, somebody will have to take on the task of making food. You don’t want to put all your energy into cooking when you still have half a day of work ahead of you. That’s why it’s essential to plan your meals and have something easy on hand for your weekday lunches. 

Tip #6 – Have a dedicated place to work 

If you don’t have an office at home, dedicate a place that, during your work hours, will be utilized exclusively for work. It’s okay to share this space with your partner, who’s also working remotely, but essential to staying productive is setting boundaries (especially if you have kids). Plus, be sure that your desk and chair are ergonomic, as you don’t want to do any harm to your neck or back due to bad posture. 

Tip #7 – Put household endeavors aside 

Although, as we said, not commuting enables you to do some personal stuff, keep in mind that during work, you must set all your house endeavors aside. Just like a regular day at the office, tasks like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and cooking should get done when you’re not at work. 

Tip #8 – Communicate clearly

As much as technology has evolved, communicating online still requires excellent oratory skills, whether you’re using text or voice. You probably already have that in mind when writing emails or managing tasks in a tool like Trello. Well, this eloquence should extend to all the conversations you have (via video call, Slack messages, etc.). One extra tip: when in conference calls, be sure only to turn on your mic when you want to speak! This is an important video-conferencing etiquette rule. 

Tip #9 – Be reliable 

Trust is a critical value when it comes to remote work. So, be accountable and reliable to your workmates. A simple practice, such as changing your online status when you have to leave for a while might make the difference, as people could be waiting for your feedback on something. Most importantly, don’t forget the success of a remote team depends on each person doing their part, so be sure to do yours! 

Tip #10 – Don’t be too hard on yourself 

As you can see, there are many good practices that you can put in place to have a more successful day working from home. Nevertheless, we are all taking on a lot while dealing with the current uncertain circumstances of today. That’s why it’s crucial to take some time for your mental health and accept that each day won’t be perfect. Keep an open channel of communication with your team and family, and be supportive of each other. We’re all in this together! 

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