The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our day-to-day lives in so many ways. And of course for businesses, there’s now a surge in the number of people working from home instead of at the office.
For us at Rulesware, with employees spanning four countries, much of our workforce has always been remote. We’ve always done our best to empower our team to work in the ways that work best for them. Last year we implemented an official Work From Home program for team members at our Mexico and El Salvador offices.
With these systems in place, it’s been a comfort to be able to continue interacting daily (virtually) with our team members. But we know it’s not always easy—especially when you’re new to the work-from-home game.
With that in mind, we asked some of our team members who are well-versed with remote work to weigh in with their top tips.
Molly Eddington, Director of Practice Management
Molly’s Top Tip: Claim Your Space
The majority of my career has involved working from home (when I’m not at a client site), so I actually have a lot of experience with it. I think my number one tip is to have a dedicated work space that you can leave set up all the time. It’s preferable not to have this in your bedroom but in another room or in a quiet corner of another room in your house so you can create the “illusion” of going to your office in the morning and leaving at night.
Molly’s Bonus Tip: Change it Up
When the opportunity presents itself, take a conference call from another part of the house; maybe where the sun is shining or outside in the garden. This can really help give you a different perspective and may focus your concentration on the call itself and not on the things in front of your computer.
Sue Kuhn, Administrative Specialist
Sue’s Top Tip: Get Up and Move
I don’t have a problem staying focused and getting my work done, but my challenge is in making sure that I stop at least every two hours to get up and move.
Sitting for more than two hours at a time increases the risk of getting diabetes, so I try to use that as a motivation to make sure I do get up and move.
I have a list of simple, short exercises to give me short bursts of activity and get my heart rate up throughout the day. For example, I might do: 15 squats while heating something in the microwave, 50 – 75 jumping jacks during a quick break, 30 sit-ups between calls, or walk on the treadmill for 5 – 10 minutes. Now I just need to set a timer to remind me to actually get up and move.
Sue’s Bonus Tip: Use Video Chats and Voice Calls
I think it is important to actually speak on video chats and phone calls at least once a day.
Sometimes there are days when the only form of communication I have is with emails or online chats, but I find that actually speaking to people helps to improve communication and helps keep me feel connected. This is even more important now that we are experiencing so much isolation in our families and communities.
David Bliss, VP Customer Success & Engagement
David’s Top Tip: Schedule Personal and Family Activities First
When you work from home, sometimes work can tend to take over. To maintain a good work/life balance, my top tip is that you block time on your calendar for personal and family activities first.
David’s Bonus Tip: Follow the Pomodoro Approach to Time Management
The Pomodoro Approach is a popular way to maintain focus, get things done and still come up for air and take breaks. With Pomodoro, you break your work into short 25-minute sprints (called “pomodoros”), which you time on your timer. Your pomodoros are separated by short breaks. Curious to learn more?
Logan McCune, People & Culture Manager
Logan’s Top Tip: Create a Dedicated Office Space with a Second Monitor
Having a dedicated, quiet working space with an extra monitor (where possible) is key for me.
Logan’s Bonus Tips: Take Breaks, Write To-Do Lists the Day Before
Rulesware is my first remote position and it was a learning curve when I first started to get used to being home so much and away from interacting with colleagues every day in an office. But once I got used to it I began to really value the quiet days to get heads-down work done with minimal distractions.
I find taking breaks during the day is really helpful, even if it’s simply moving to the couch to take a 10-minute break and not think about work.
Also, consider beginning each day with a to-do list that you created the day before—this helps you stay on task. When you know you’ve had a productive day you can more easily step fully away from work at the end of each day.
Making it Work at Home—For All of Us
Having the independence to work from home can be a great thing; no commutes, the ability to focus and the opportunity to structure a great work/life balance. But getting a few strategies in place can really help.
Our team members tell us they truly love remote work (and if you think you might too… we ARE hiring). If you can create the right work-at-home environment with a little planning and structure, it can be a wonderful way to work.
We hope everyone finds ways to work safely and finds comfort in friends and family, both at home and online. Together, we’ll get through this.