To an office-body, working from home sounds like a blast—until you suddenly find yourself doing so for the first time and realize you’re not 100% sure how to best operate. After all, not every in-office practice translates to a remote equivalent.
Employees who are used to being in the office daily may feel “off” and struggle with a sudden adjustment to working from home.
When in doubt, keep it simple by following these guidelines to successfully work from home.
- Be thorough: Share information with your manager and coworkers often via multiple channels—video, phone, team messaging, and email—and across formats, including one-on-one conversations, team meetings, and so on. Otherwise, information risks getting lost in the shuffle.
- Share progress: Document the status of your projects, and proactively update key stakeholders to ensure you’re all on the same page.
- Managers, spell out expectations: If your team is new to working from home, clearly tell them if they need to start doing something differently or if a process has changed. Even better, share how you prefer they communicate with you and what hours they should be working online.
- Integrated platform: Effectively working from home requires the right communication and collaboration technology. Unifying voice, video, and team messaging in one integrated platform enables you and your colleagues to move seamlessly between each channel without losing context or flow, making the most of your time and maximizing your productivity.
- Stay in sync: Having a communication tool that allows for both asynchronous and synchronous communication helps remote staff communicate effectively and never feel like they’re out of the loop—especially when they’re in different time zones.
- Mode: Select the appropriate mode of communication for each situation when communicating with remote coworkers. General rules of thumb:
- Video meetings can be planned or ad-hoc and are best for virtual “face-to-face” get-togethers or situations where a serious conversation is necessary.
- Team messaging for asynchronous messages and communication, for when conversations don’t need to take place in real time but critical information still needs to be exchanged.
- Voice calls—which can be made through the internet and routed to a web app, smartphone, or desk phone—are great for complex discussions or quick questions.
- Valuable “face time”: If you mostly communicate by typing and reading words, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your coworkers. Incorporating meaningful face-to-face interactions into your day can be refreshing and motivating.
- Use video: Resist the temptation to use audio-only mode, as video fosters connection and a feeling of togetherness. Being able to see your coworkers’ facial expressions, body language, and personality goes a long way when it comes to building collaborative working relationships.
- Express yourself: Feel free to incorporate emojis, GIFs, and memes into your communications with coworkers. These all do a great job—often humorously—conveying sentiment.
It might take a couple of days for you to get into the rhythm, but you’ll start settling in soon. Learn more about how to be productive while working from home by reading our post on 10 tips for working from home.
Originally published Mar 25, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022