The OnePlusOne team moved to mainly remote working around 18 months ago. In this current environment, when many organisations have found themselves having to switch quickly from office-based to remote working, we are keen to share our top tips for making working from home work.
- Get some software that enables quick and easy communications. Instant messaging, video calling and screen sharing all help you to have the kinds of discussions you would normally have across the desk. Ensure you can access a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Think about additional costs of data packages for your team, contributions to heating and broadband, and how you can best support them to facilitate home working.
- A good broadband connection makes all the difference to seamless meetings. If your bandwidth is giving you problems on a video call, switch to audio-only.
- Trust is everything. Building trust with your colleagues is a joint responsibility. Be clear about when you are working and when you’re not and expect to be contacted within those times. It can help to list your hours in your email signature, especially if you’re using your own phone for work.
- Develop rapport in remote meetings. Feedback noise can be distracting, so try to use headphones and know how to mute yourself. Listen closely or use visual cues to ensure you don’t talk over people. Don’t get distracted by your phone or by carrying on with your work because you don’t think people will notice – they will!
- Expect a period of adjustment with the technology. Be honest if you’re finding it difficult and get some support from colleagues. Set up internal meetings to practice so you can make all the mistakes there and learn from them.
- When you are working externally, checkout what kind of conference or video call system they are working with and make sure you use something you are both comfortable with.
- Where possible, go for a walk around the block before you start work so you can build in some space between home and work. Decide when you will start and finish your day and try to stick to it. Flexibility is great, but routine is important.
- Just because you are at home, it doesn’t mean you have to be ‘seen to be’ working every minute of the day. Put some washing on and take deliveries –it’s all part of the flexible working environment. Try to have a short break every two hours where you leave your desk, make a cup of tea, let the dog out, water your flowers…
- Play some music in the background. If your surroundings are noisy or if you simply need to drown out the noise of the fridge, it can make areal difference!
- Build in some fun! We have a ‘just for fun’ channel on our Teams system where we post pictures and other fun stuff – it’s the water cooler chat space. Stay connected in whatever way you can, whether it’s an instant message or a friendly call. And if your pets decide to join your conference calls, let them. It’s all part of the experience.
Here’s one last point. Remember there may be those around you for whom this isn’t their workplace. Try to be considerate, especially when you are on a call, so that partners and loved ones don’t feel they have wandered from the living room into an office!
OnePlusOne is happy to share further experiences and advice regarding flexible and home working with charity sector colleagues. They can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org