#WFH – Lessons from a 100% Virtual Company
The rising threat of the novel coronavirus has forced businesses to scramble to move their teams to home offices. It’s disruptive upheaval; it all feels shockingly different. #WFH (Working From Home) is the new normal.
Yet as our country starts practicing Social Distancing, The Hunley Group team members are having a surreal experience. Because there is no change for us. We’re a fully virtual company; have been for the ten years we’ve been in business.
Maybe we can share some tips and tricks to help you and your team transition smoothly to our virtual working world.
- Get a routine in place. Start your day off the same way you would if you were heading to the office. Get up, dressed and ready, and get to your desk the same time you would in your normal routine. Maintain your regular hours if possible. Relish the fact that you have no stressful commute!
- Watch the hours! No, not working too few – working too many! One of the benefits of working from home is flexible hours, but you can often get lost in your work because the distance between the mouse and the dinner table blurs. You don’t have to work 9 to 5 but keep the number of hours you work as normal as possible to not overwork yourself, which can be counterproductive.
- Establish boundaries. Set yourself a designated workplace and set rules for that space. Sharing an office with co-workers is one thing, sharing an office with family can be a whole other ball game. An isolated room to take conference calls – if you have one – is a really good idea; otherwise, investing in some noise-canceling headphones might be in order. If you have kids home with you as well, it helps them to know this is your workspace, and you can set up an additional workspace, and activities to help them while they are learning from home. This workplace can change throughout the week as well to keep things fresh and changing.
- Get virtual technology in place. There are lots of tools and tricks.
a. Webinar / videoconferencing tools. Here at The Hunley group, we utilize GoToMeeting for our weekly team huddle, client calls, and presentations. Google hangouts and Zoom are other great platforms for keeping up with team and client meetings.
b. Dedicated work phone line – VoIP lines like RingCentral work great. Through this COVID-19 pandemic though these platforms might be overloaded, so if a video or presentation is not completely necessary a good old fashion phone call is the best way to go.
c. Freedom of motion. A $200 Plantronics or Jabra BlueTooth headset is aaaaabsolutely money well spent. You. Need. To. Move.
d. Two big monitors; please don’t try to work from your little laptop screen. They’re cheap.
e. Good quality desk chair. Because … well, of course.
f. A standing desk is a really good plan. Your back and body will thank you for getting off your rear.
g. Lose the email. We stay productive and connected on Slack, a messaging platform, it is our main form of communication for items that don’t require a phone call. Which brings me to my next tip….
- Socialize with your co-workers! Our team is constantly connected on Slack, and still share our day to day, funny pet pictures, pictures of our kids, virtual cocktail hours and just reaching out to each other when we just need some positive support. Use that webcam to see each other. Our team is close and connected even being fully virtual.
- Schedule breaks, move around. Use these breaks to get up, make yourself lunch, move your body, take some time outside, maybe take the dog for a walk. Breaks help your brain and body reset, and you will feel more productive when you return to your workspace. If you have to, set a timer for yourself as a reminder to take a break, and get up and move. You can easily spend your entire day sitting when working virtually, so don’t!
- Don’t sweat the noise. We’re used to dogs and kids “participating” in conference calls. It’s not embarrassing; it’s life. It’s OK. Do you know what’s really funny? When your dog starts barking at your coworker’s dog … over the conference line!
- And through all this, breath. Remember this disruption in your routine, our everyday life, is temporary. Apps like Calm are a great resource to turn to if you feel like your thoughts are spiraling with the never-ending news of the pandemic, and you can’t possibly focus on work. Breathing, meditating, is a great way to refocus and center.
We hope these tips from our virtual team will help with your transition to remote work and bring you and your team some easy ways to connect and stay connected in-between hand washes of course.
We’re kinda gonna bet you never want to go back to a “regular” office.