No one could have foreseen that 2020 would bring so much change to our workplace. My firm had recently partnered with Mosaic and implemented a document management system. Without that partnership, our move to remote work would have never worked. I’m Daphne Johnson, now considered an office manager extraordinaire due to facilitating the move and advocating for Mosaic to be our partner. Our team knew that without this secure, cloud-based system, we’d be falling behind. While we were thankful that we could work from home, working remotely in a Pandemic is a challenge. Everyone and everything is shut down. I was assigned the task of providing tips to be successful and productive while working from home.

The first thing we did was offer online courses for our remote team on how to work virtually. Successful remote work will depend on the home environment. Every employee has different challenges in working from home. Some manage children, parents, and spouses, and some remote employees are isolated and alone in their homes. Team members were given guidelines and have been encouraged to:

1. Structure their day – Build in breaks and increase flexibility when needed. Take a lunch break.

2. Communicate – Virtually, via phone, email, or text. Use our share platforms and secure a reliable internet connection.

3. Video Conferencing – Etiquette for video on or off. Video calls increase interaction.

4. Expectations – Should be managed. Working from home is not the same as working in the office.

How To Be Productive Working From Home

We encouraged every remote employee to practice self-care. Work-life balance is essential when you are working from home. Exercise, take a walk, schedule check-ins with co-workers, do what you can to increase human interaction. During typical office hours, colleagues would never sit all day in one spot. We wanted to make sure our team members didn’t do this in their home office. We explained how to make a task list or a to do list each day to keep you focused and eliminate distractions. We discussed the employee’s work area and provided monitors and other tools to promote an office setting in their remote work environment as conducive to getting the work done.

Communication will be the key to productivity. We provided classes to increase our teams’ communication skills. We provided guidelines for video conferencing, video on or off is acceptable. Baseball caps are permitted. Pajama tops, not so much. Family members in the background are not a problem. We want to make sure that we didn’t add to the pressure that was part of everyone working remotely. We also wanted to limit unnecessary distractions while working from home with the new tools, such as virtual ZOOM meetings.

Our company increased transparency to ensure team members were kept in the loop. Our operations and human resources team created a monthly newsletter that provided updates to our entire enterprise. Every employee from subsidiaries to our corporate campus received an email newsletter each month with everything they needed to know about our company and our approach to the Pandemic. We gave updates on our office space and provided directions for colleagues who may have needed to return to the workplaces for whatever reason. We explained that our work-life would not return to normal for many months.

How To Engage Remote Workers

For our management team, our company training included recognizing each remote worker’s needs. They were encouraged to be aware of any changes in productivity, which might indicate depression. Our managers realized that it was even more important to speak to the experience of each remote worker.

For colleagues working remotely and living alone, we were encouraged to:

1. Schedule contact with phone calls instead of email for clear communication and more interaction. If possible, assign co-workers opportunities to work together to increase team interactions and productivity.

2. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings can create the “office environment” with short 15-minute coffee break connections. These can be meaningful. Remember, flexibility is the key. One employee may want daily engagement. Another prefers weekly.

For colleagues remote working with family and children, we were encouraged to: 1. Be flexible. Flexibility is the key to remote work around a family. Some remote workers start work early before their family members are active, some work late into the evening. If both team members are productive, that works. 2. Find a dedicated work space. Encourage colleagues to find a quiet space for meetings. Work with children is possible when managers are flexible, and work tasks are completed on time. Our team has continued to share tips and hold meetings when necessary to discuss a worker or team challenges. We are learning that people will rise to meet problems head-on time and time again. Working with each other as a remote team, we are providing solutions for almost every situation.

How To Make Working From Home Work

For our C-Suite executives, I curated a seminar with professionals in their positions who had been working remotely for at least ten years. This informative and interactive event resulted in these top 5 tips for remote work:

1. Communicate with employees – Set clear expectations, schedule meetings, guide time management.

2. Plan Ahead – At the end of the day, make your plan for tomorrow.

3. Make a list of Must-Dos – Prioritize your day and watch the clock.

4. Single-Task – Focus on the task at hand, complete, and move on.

5. Productivity– Results are what matters. Flexibility about everything else works

Our team has learned from just the last few months about successfully remote working that we can do it! Our productivity has remained steady and even improved from our typical work environment. We have managed to continue to support clients and keep our products moving. Believe it or not, we’ve even picked up new business opportunities. Working remotely has presented challenges, but open communication, clear expectations, and education continue to move us forward. Of course, we can’t wait to get back to trade shows, sales meetings, and office interaction. But for now, we are safe and happy working remotely for our company and team members. Let Mosaic Corp outfit your business with cloud-based solutions to optimize your remote team’s productivity.