Find secrets and tips from an experienced freelancer at the end of the article as a bonus.

With the spread of the novel coronavirus, staying productive when dealing with long-term remote work for the first time is not that easy. Some believe that online communication equals to only 50 percent of real-life communication in any meetings. But the truth is that it all depends heavily on the moderator and your personal experience in online communication, which obviously has both pros and cons. The negative side of it is that it is hard to feel the mood and vibes of the conversation on the other side of the screen when you’re at a distance. The positive side, on the other hand, is an increased concentration on important things, which is quite tricky to accomplish in the office routine.

We have prepared some simple but effective strategies to help you and your team maintain productivity.

Roles and Goals

Executives and managers should focus the team on key priorities and clarify the goals of the team as well as the individual goals of each team member. Remote work is an excellent opportunity to make sure that everyone is in their place and clearly understands in which direction they’re moving. Inform your team about new things and innovations in time and clearly define roles so that everyone could understand who they can turn to for help apart from their line manager.

Emphasis on Interaction

Employees who are not used to working at home will feel lonely, which will affect their involvement and efficiency. At the same time, managers and executives will face the problem of keeping the team’s focus on key priorities, and it is important not to forget anyone in this situation.

Of course, managers have their favorites in the team, those they often communicate with in times of stress. Let’s not forget that every team has people that prefer staying in the shade, and it is they who risk failing to follow that stream of information. We recommend that you make a list of core and non-core team members, preferably with photographs, and look at this list to make conscious decisions about how to distribute tasks and information.

Regular Meetings and Calls

Schedule a daily call that will serve as a virtual team meeting. Use FaceTime, Zoom, or any other platform for video conferencing. This form of communication is more personal than texting, and it also helps colleagues better understand each other’s emotions and discuss plans and ideas to the full. It is important to set a precise time and stick to it. It is easier to cancel a meeting than to make your team wait and create tension.

Virtual Coffee Machine

During the working week, choose the right time for a chit-chat not related to work. This way, you will support and maintain the collective spirit. Besides, agree within the team that there’s nothing wrong with calling each other when necessary, and there’s no need to wait for the next scheduled online meeting.

Be Aware of Your Colleagues’ New Working Environment

If you are working from home, you may find it difficult to concentrate on one thing because there are too many distractions around you. It would be helpful for your team to know about each other’s environment because it will help you understand the way colleagues work at home during the quarantine.

It would be a fundamental mistake to label your workmates as “the one who doesn’t contribute to the conversation because he/she cannot communicate” instead of thinking “they turned off their microphone so that the background home noise does not interfere with the conversation.”

Therefore, at the very beginning of your remote work as a team, share your personal working context at a time of quarantine with each other. The purpose of this introductory conversation is to help team members be more sensitive to each other’s circumstances (a dog barking outside doesn’t necessarily mean that your teammate works in dog kennels). You may also hear children crying or the noise of a train passing by.

Tips from an Experienced Freelancer: How to Work from Home and Not Lose One’s Mind

The three pillars on which work at home rests are: do not work while lying in bed, do not work in pajamas, and do not work without a clear plan for the day.

  • Start with easy tasks first and gradually move on to more difficult ones, because this way, your brain will think, “Hmm, dude, we quickly dealt with this, it’s not difficult, let’s continue in the same vein.”
  • Write out all your tasks in a notebook or on a sheet of paper and cross them out as you complete them. Praise yourself for every crossed out task because success is a great motivator.
  • Turn off your push notifications and turn dark mode on. It’s an excellent function when you need maximum concentration, and a colleague is sending you tons of memes about sanitizers.
  • If you’re stuck with your work and you realize that you’ve been trying to finish writing an email of three sentences to your customer for an hour, switch to another task. But don’t forget to return to the abandoned task on the same day.
  • If you feel like your brain is gonna explode, take a contrast shower, take a nap for half an hour, do a warm-up, or drink a glass of lemon water. Anyway, cheer up in any way that is suitable for you.
  • Allow yourself a small weakness, a small planned weakness. For instance, one episode of your favorite series in exchange for making a presentation.
  • And finally, the main rule. So, the main rule of working at home is to work.