An Interview with a Remote Employee
The rise of COVID-19 has shifted many people to remote work. As we navigate through the times, those of us fortunate enough to work at home should be grateful. But with this option, we should also realize that productively working from home is a muscle, and that muscle needs to be trained.
At TopFunnel, we already embrace remote work. Over half of our team works remotely. We thought this would be a good time to learn some best practices from them.
This week we sat down with our Manager of Operations, Jessica Schertz, who has worked remotely at TopFunnel from Des Moines for the last 3 years. While juggling her family and full-time job as a mom, she also runs core elements of our operations team. She and her team have successfully created useful habits around the art and science of working remotely.
How has the team been able to manage all of this? Jessica, with input from her team, broke down the pillars of working from home into four buckets. Logistics, Communication, Well-being and Fun!
- Have a dedicated workspace and don’t bring your work into the other areas of your home. This allows you to set clear boundaries to where work happens and where life happens. Explain to your loved ones that even though you are physically present, they should still treat you as if you were away at work.
- It’s critical to have a good internet connection, and connectivity redundancies. You never know when you’ll need it!
- Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Distractions at home are abundant throughout the day and it’s important to stay focused.
- Invest in good lighting for your workspace. It will make a world of difference.
- Over-communicate. Reiterate and confirm multiple times. Note that while Slack is great for instant communication, if there is any risk for misinterpretation, pick up the phone and call!
- Document meetings and send around recaps.
- No matter what organizational tool you use, get in the habit of making and sharing lists. It’s also great practice to number your list items so they can be referred to.
- Be aware of what is in your background on video calls. Try to avoid windows in the background to prevent glare.
- Meet whenever possible through video conferencing.
- Have a morning routine. Don’t roll out of bed and start working. Whether it’s brewing your favorite cup of tea or going on a short walk, set aside 5-15 minutes to get ready mentally just as you would if you were going into the office.
- Establish boundaries, both logistically and emotionally. Make sure your calendar is up to date and have a clear start and end time.
- Take real breaks just as you would in an office. This includes lunch, coffee, etc.
- Get up and stretch! Walk around and go outside for some sunshine when possible.
- If you can, invest in a standing desk and a comfortable chair. You can find great used ones for cheap.
- Find something valuable to fill the time you would have otherwise spent commuting, like a workout, or a meditation practice!
- Don’t forget to have fun! Show your personality by sharing articles that interest you with everyone.
- Remote meetings can sometimes be awkward, but it’s important to get past that. “Hang out” in non-work related channels when possible and make a genuine attempt to get to know your colleagues outside of the work context.
- Make a point to chime in on celebrating your colleagues’ important dates like anniversaries and birthdays!
Adjusting to working remotely from an in-office culture takes time and practice. But it can be a very rewarding experience, too.
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