There have been lots of great articles written about how to be effective working from home. Many people have shared tips and tricks including establishing a comfortable workspace and making sure to allow yourself to “turn off” when you are no longer working.
However, as working from home increasingly becomes more of the standard rather than a temporary arrangement, we thought we would take a broader look at this and share some tips for how you can be a great co-worker from home. We asked some of our team members here at Advantage what being a good coworker from home meant to them.
Recognize that not everyone is going to be able to operate on the same schedule. With coworkers having a wide arrangement of living situations, not everyone will be online or available at the same time. Ensure to communicate any last-minute meetings changes as soon as possible, and be accommodating when a coworker reaches out needing to shift a meeting time.
Use Tools to Communicate Progress
Communicate the progress you make on projects and documents. Whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Google Docs, Slack, etc; using documents that are updated in real-time for your entire team to see is important when working remotely.
Video or Audio
Clearly establish if a call is a video call or just audio. While dress attire for remote working is more casual than the typical office setting, giving your coworkers advanced notice that they’ll be seen by someone other than there family member and dogs is the polite thing to do.
Typically simply having a coworker absent from the office is enough of a trigger to remember they are on PTO. However, when your coworkers are working from home, it can be more difficult to remember and respect that a coworker is taking time off.
Weekly check-ins with members of your team. Company culture is harder to maintain with coworkers spread out across the United States. Taking the time to see how coworkers are doing and adjusting to this new work lifestyle is important.
Communicate Your Expectations & Needs
Be upfront and honest about what you need to get your job done and what you expect of your team, and ask your coworkers to do the same. Regular “is this format working?”, “do we need more / less check-ins?” and “do you need help with anything?” conversations help keep everyone on the same page and ensure everyone is comfortable and equipped to do their jobs.
Use Your Calendar
Keep your calendar current and detailed. Block out time when you know you need to work on projects or need a break, so coworkers can quickly look and see whether you’re available. In person we can literally see that people are busy, on the phone, or in a meeting, but when WFH we tend to assume that someone being online means they’re readily available. Use your calendar and your status tools to communicate not only formal meetings but also informal times when you need to be unavailable.