People are being forced to work from home more than ever before. For some, this is how things have always been, but for others, the integration of our personal and professional lives can be difficult to adjust to. Fortunately, we’re here to show you how to make the most of remote working and online collaboration with your colleagues.
We’ll talk about when and how to make time for work and fun, as well as how to set boundaries between the two, and we’ll recommend some of the best tools for online collaboration. More importantly, we’ll discuss what we believe to be some of the most critical aspects of working from home etiquette.
The Best Apps and Tools for Collaborating with Colleagues
Of course, the best apps for us to use will be determined by the type of work we do. Testing out different apps and tools is essential to getting it right, so we’ve recommended some tools to help you work smarter, not harder.
Do you have to create and share a lot of documents with others as part of your job? Then Google Docs is a great option. Do you need to plan a team project to keep everybody on track and organized? We’d recommend Restyaboard to set tasks and plan projects, as it can be used both online and on your phone.
If you’re working on multiple projects with multiple people, Discord or Slack are great options for creating individual channels where everyone can easily communicate, ask questions, and share updates.
Online Collaboration Tips to get the most out of WFH
Communication is essential when working on any group project, but it is especially important when you are not in the same room. To get the most out of working from home, use chat channels like Slack. They’re an excellent way to keep everyone up to date, share documents, and leave a trail of messages that people can search back through.
Create an environment where everyone is encouraged to provide constructive feedback and to be transparent and honest. We lose the advantage of nonverbal communication when we use chat channels, so it’s important that everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.
If you have online meetings, always end them by summarizing the main points, ensuring that all tasks are assigned and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing. Following this, record signs of success – it’s always a good idea to keep track of what’s going for your team, so you can keep a project on track.
WFH etiquette: what’s best practice?
Like anything, working from home comes with its own sets of best practices. The WFH etiquette rules will depend on the method of remote working you’re using.
If it is largely email-based, it is necessary to check your emails regularly and respond as quickly as you would in the workplace. However, much as in the workplace, we are permitted to take breaks, so we do not expect people to be available to us immediately simply because they are at home.
If your work has opted to collaborate through messaging services like Slack, keep in mind the tone changes dramatically when we communicate via writing rather than face-to-face. As a result, rereading messages is an important move when working from home. In any conversation, it is best to keep it short and as straightforward as possible. Unlike in the office, we can’t have those follow-up conversations for clarity after a miscommunication, so getting it right the first time is crucial.
This is also an excellent time to determine if the platform you’re using is the right one for your needs. When Zoom became the go-to tool at the start of the pandemic, everybody had Zoom calls and meetings all of a sudden. Just like you don’t always need a full meeting to get to the heart of the matter, communication via email or texting can be more effective than a video call.
Also, read ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS FOR STARTUPS
All work and no play
One of the most common problems people have when working from home is finding the time to switch off. If you’re at the office and your ‘To-Do” list isn’t done, you leave thinking you can pick up where you left off the next day. Remote working makes it more difficult to sign off because it’s all too tempting to believe you could finish the entire list tonight, couldn’t you?
Keeping a schedule is important not just for getting work done, but also for knowing when to stop, take a break, and relax. This can be anything from cooking to walking the dog to scheduling time for workout breaks – as long as it allows you to set aside some time for yourself.
This should also include establishing communication limits with colleagues. Switch off notifications and inform colleagues while you’re taking a break, so you’re not disturbed and tempted to jump back into the thick of it too soon.
Getting down to work
If you’re new to working from home, it’s easy to throw routine out the window, but sticking to a schedule is key for success. Yes, you might lie in bed and work on your laptop, but it’s necessary to differentiate between our work and personal spaces.
The first step is to choose a location that will serve as your home “office.” Since this is a temporary situation for many people, most of us may not have an actual home office or even a large enough desk space to convert into one.
Work-from-home veterans will tell you that’s fine – if you’re using a kitchen counter, a dining table, or a small foldaway table, all you need is a peaceful area to focus, and you’ve got yourself a workspace.
Once you’ve decided on a place, make sure it’s kept tidy. It sounds simple, but if you have to switch things around all the time, it will make settling into work each day much more difficult. A tidy workspace also means you’re Zoom-ready at all times, which can be aided by using XSplit VCam to blur or even replace your background!
With the right set of tools, you’ll have an easier time adjusting to the new normal.