At first glance, remote work seems to have all the potential for being the best win-win strategy for both companies and employees. Upon closer inspection though, we begin to realize that as the number of telecommuters rises, so does the amount of difficulties that this brings to the more than 7 million remote workers in the US alone. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, loneliness is among the top 3 challenges that home workers face. The first being the struggle of unplugging after work, and communication problems ranking third. While 83% of employees believe that working off-site will make them happier at their jobs, more than half of all remote workers feel disconnected from their co-employees. As humans, our need for connection to our fellow humans are as intrinsic as our necessity for food, water and warmth. This, however, is the unfortunate casualty of the continuing shift for more flexible work arrangements. A move that has been steadily growing among businesses even before the pandemic. With new people expected to join the off-site workforce, it is more than ever important to find ways in making remote work feel less… remote.
So how does one keep things enjoyable while working remotely? There are two major points that every business owner must address. One is to learn to enjoy working remotely himself and the second is to steer his team into relishing it as well. Here’s a list of remote work tips that are fun and easy for you and your team:
HAVE A GOOD MORNING
There is a reason why breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and you and your team should take advantage of that. Start your day with a good cup of coffee, tea or even hot cocoa if you wish and encourage your team to do that too. By making sure that you all begin as pleasantly as possible, the chance of having a good work day increases exponentially. A healthy meal in the morning replenishes our body with fuel, provides us with the energy we will need for the day, restores glucose levels to boost our memory and concentration, and improves our mood and lowers our stress levels. What’s more, this is also an opportunity to catch up with your colleagues and your team. Sharing a meal, albeit through videoconferencing, is an effective way to reach out to the people that you work with. By doing this in the morning, people are more likely to be refreshed and eager to start the day.
Working from home may be an ideal situation for some, but for those who may be struggling in this setup, reaching out to them through a quick morning coffee date may be a good way to ease them into this new normal.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
A well planned day is a day that will go well. One of the main hurdles of working remotely is managing your time and the best way to overcome this is through a well-organized calendar. You and your team will benefit greatly from online tools that will allow you to do this and more. Encourage your team to impose a structure on their work days so that they will be more focused on their tasks in spite of being surrounded by things that could distract them from being productive. In maintaining an efficient calendar, you and your team will be able to lessen the stress that usually stems from doing over time work, procrastinating and missing deadlines. What’s more, having a set schedule allows everyone to take the necessary breaks such as coffee and lunch breaks, as well as, taking their vacation leaves and holidays. This way, you prevent employee burnout and keep everyone in the best of health.
Opening your calendar and seeing it marked, not just for work-related timelines, but also for fun times such as celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries and promotions will definitely bring a smile to everyone in your team.
A quick way to ease the feeling of isolation is by inviting guests into your work space. Embolden your team to take a couple of minutes off each day to spend time with their kids– furry or non-furry ones as an effective and amusing way to break the monotony of work. Another enjoyable way to invite social interaction while working remotely is by having a virtual happy hour. Ask your team to go on a video conference platform and connect over drinks and food. Creating a chat group where you and your team can talk about anything and everything that’s not work-related is another way to do this. Additionally, you can also encourage everyone to participate in activities such as playing video games together or against each other in online board games. There are a myriad of ways to incorporate interaction among yourselves and you just have to find those that would work well for you and your team.
Thanks to today’s technology, opening your “doors” to let others “in” is no longer a problem even when you’re miles apart.
JAZZ UP YOUR DOMAIN
Did you ever wonder why people dreamed of having a corner office? Whether it’s because of the view or the wider floor area, now is the time to give one to yourself. Look for the best area in your home, arrange one for yourself and cheer your team as they do the same. Having your own area is not just about making a barrier from distractions, it is also a means for you to create a space that can motivate and inspire you. Suggest to your team to hang up posters with their favorite mantra or to organize a worktable that’s Pinterest-worthy. Having a workplace that’s awesome enough to make you excited to be there is a sure-fire way to keep you and your team in high spirits. Go even further by taking turns in hosting virtual office tours, conducting DIY tutorials and hosting a contest on who has the most stylish desk or home office.
People used to “bring a bit of home” in their work stations. And now that you get to do that in reverse, you can turn it into something that everyone in your team can delight in to ease loneliness and of course, reap the benefits of having a well-organized home office.
BE HAPPY, HAVE A HOBBY
Did you ever feel like breaking into a song in the middle of a work day? Now you can. Hobbies are things we enjoy doing because it’s stress-free and fun. And in an off-site work arrangement, you and your team do not have to worry whether your voice is worthy of being heard or not. Hobbies that make you do repetitive motions such as knitting is a much better way to divert your pent-up emotions than just tapping your pen.
Likewise, one can also indulge in cultivating greens as a hobby. Whether it’s a small succulent or a leafy philodendron, plants can be found in almost all office tables in the world for a reason. With benefits ranging from improving air quality and humidity levels to reducing stress and negativity, you and your team can also take advantage of their ability to absorb noise and enhance your concentration, creativity and productivity. No green thumb? A quick walk in the park or simply opening your window to look at the trees around you can effectively do wonders for your mood and well-being.
Indulging in music, the arts and other pursuits such as gardening, is a productive way to relieve stress and summon good vibes into your work space. Other virtual activities to incorporate in your remote operations that you and your team can enjoy are: holding movie nights, talent competitions, book clubs, bingo nights, and even inviting guest performers or speakers.
Social interaction may be limited in remote work settings but they need not be difficult to do. The challenge is there but there are a lot of tools that we can use to make these happen and reap its benefits.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
The burden of making remote work effective falls mostly to the business owner. It is your responsibility, not just to ensure that operations go well, but more importantly, that the people you work with remain at their best in spite of the challenges. Some vital points to consider when managing a remote team are:
- Take the time to get to know your team members individually by reaching out to them thru one-on-one meetings and initiating small talk. Be someone they can easily confer with on work issues and comfortably reach out to on personal matters, as well.
- Make use of other means of communication to make up for the loss of non-verbal cues such as the telephone and video conferencing.
- Respect your team’s time by starting on time, keeping appointments, managing meetings well and by making sure that all communication will be done during official working hours.
- Make their career growth a priority by ensuring that they still get adequate training, determining career paths for them to take and work on, and making certain that they progress on their goals.
- Allow some leeway to people who might be facing difficulties such as: adapting to the technical aspects of the remote setup, home issues like a lack of childcare, or feelings of isolation.
- Create a space during meetings by not immediately starting with the agenda but by encouraging each other to catch up as a group.
- Lead by example as someone who is not only flourishing in a remote setup, but also, as someone who enjoys the benefits it brings.
It is interesting to note that the remote industry has been growing by leaps and bounds even before the pandemic. By registering a whopping 140% increase since 2005, the remote work force is only poised to grow more than ever. The task of its effectiveness may rely heavily on business owners but one does not have to bear it alone. By delegating to people who may already be considered experts in this arena, a business owner equips himself to succeed in this new normal.
Virtual assistants or VAs empower you to take control of your professional and personal life by managing, overseeing, and accomplishing tasks that often come in the day-to-day operations of your business. Let OkayRelax guide you on how to make this investment for your business and yourself through quality virtual assistant services now.