Almost everyone is moving to remote work because of COVID-19. This can be a weird and difficult transition, especially if you've been accustomed to office life for the entirety or majority of your career coming right out of college. Everyone has heard the common tips and tropes:
Pick up the phone
Whether it's Zoom, Dialpad, or even your cell...Pick up the phone or get on zoom (or whatever you use for video conferencing) and call somebody. Chat suites and messaging is extremely impersonal and the attention paid to messages expires quickly. Email can be effective, but long emails are easy to get lost in. Additionally, chances are that your coworkers and clients are already in inbox hell. Your emails can get buried, ignored, and disregarded.
Also, messages and emails are very open to misinterpretation. The solution: make a call. Not a decision; a phone call. Of course, not everything is so important or extensive that it requires a phone or video call so here's some tips on how to know when to call.
Block Time for Individual Tasks
As you transition to working from home, you'll notice very quickly that working from home isn't nearly as regimented as working at the office. At the office it's a little clearer to know what you should be working on at a given time or when you can even slack off a little bit. Blocking out time to work on a particular task can help keep you focused, and can let your coworkers know (assuming your company uses calendar sharing) that you're working on something and shouldn't be disturbed.
Blocking time can also help keep you honest about working on the right tasks at the right time. You can usually estimate how long something will take you to do so pick the time you want to work on it and get it done. If it's a larger, lengthier project, budget your time over a period of a few days or however long you expect the project to take. Work on it 1-2 hours per day or whatever you're comfortable with. Creating designated times to work on a task will help you work on what you're supposed and help you defeat the change costs that kill you when you work from home.
Give Everything a Priority Level
Whether it's a numbered list, point system, or some other prioritization scheme, assign priorities to everything you'll be doing. Tasks, communications, even meetings. Everything has a priority. When it comes to working from home, productive time can come at a premium. Prioritization can be difficult, so this is a place where it's definitely okay to call up your boss or direct supervisor to ask for help. Create a list or prioritization scheme for yourself and start wherever you want.
The most intense or largest task might not be the highest priority item. The highest priority item might not even be something you're ready to work on, and when you work from home it's important to just get stuff done. Obviously consider the priority of something when you're deciding what to work on at any given time, but it's okay to work on the smaller stuff in order to get some productive velocity in your work day.
It will take important adjustments to succeed in a remote work environment. These tips are only a few of what can help ensure you not only maintain productivity, but continue to leave positive impressions on your coworkers, superiors, and customers.
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