Working remotely for the first time like me?

By now, thousands have been forced to work remotely because of the coronavirus. It’s scary; especially if like me never done this before.

It’s certainly an adjustment, to say the least. Even though my job is moduled as an online business, there was something about coming into the office and having a social connection with colleagues.

It’s been more than a week since our organisation told us to practice social distancing and to work from home. There’s been good days and bad ones and it’s a constant struggle to stay in a routine.

Here a few essentials tips I found are currently working for me:

Take Care of YOU

Wake up the same time

It’s so easy for us to wake up later than usual because our mind is telling us we’re at home. This is a mistake.

Rather wake up the same time and prepare for the day ahead. You’ll feel refreshed and energised to get the day going.

Get dressed like you’re going to work

Even though I’m not physically leaving my apartment, I still make sure to dress as if I’m going to work (obviously different if you work in a corporate environment), brush my hair, wash my face.

I found that if I don’t do this and stay in my pajamas all day, I’m not productive and become lazy in completing my tasks.

Find an office area in your home

We don’t all have the privilege to have multiple rooms in our space but don’t let that discourage you.

Create a space you can convert into a home office whether it be in the corner of the living room, using the dining table or even your breakfast nook, just make sure you have somewhere comfortable to work from.

Manage your time

This is extremely difficult to do; especially for someone like me who suffers from procrastination.

What worked for me so far is blocking out time on my Google Calendar on each task I’ll be working on during the course of the day. Also, make sure to work within your normal working hours.

Take breaks

It can be tolling to sit behind a desk all day and just carrying on working.

I make a point to take two 15 minute breaks to stretch my legs and grab something to drink and then an hour-long lunch and do something that’s not work-related.

Breaking up the day and moving your body enables you to refresh and can increase your productivity when you return to your work. 

How to Communicate

Know the remote work policy

This might be new to many organisations or not even exist at all but with everyone now having to work remotely, ask your manager what is expected of you when working from home.

We don’t have a policy. However, management sent us an internal communication mailer about how to conduct business and what is expected from the employees moving forward.

Online is key

In a team of 20 people, it needs to be clear how we will communicate with one another now that we’re working remotely.

We as an organisation make use of Zoom to conduct our formal meeting as well as for meeting with clients and, conducting webinars. We use Skype for informal daily checkups and quick check-ins with everyone.

We also make use of Microsoft Teams.

How to share important documents

If you don’t already, now would be a good time to consider Google Docs, or Dropbox to share files. Don’t scatter team files across email, or your personal hard drive. Consolidate.

Note your project progress

It’s going to be difficult to keep up with everyone’s’ project progress so make sure to use the correct tools.

We use Trello as our mail tool to stay informed about every team’s task. For huge client projects, we use and for time tracking, we use Freshbook Projects.

This is a huge adjustment to get used too so don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to find a routine with this new reality. Any change takes time to get used to, and everyone’s specific work situation and team dynamics are different.

Until the next chat.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog