From a company that started out 100% remote, and remains largely remote with a global team.
Once the initial glamour of working from home in your pajamas or sweat pants wears off, you might find yourself struggling with the obstacles of working from home productively. Even though the trend for remote workers has been on the rise in recent years, it’s still very new for many — and working from home isn’t always as easy or luxurious as it sounds.
SkySwitch was founded in 2014 as a completely remote company with a globally distributed team. Even though we opened up a Tampa HQ six years later, our global team of 79+ still largely works remotely — and our Tampa office employees work from home a few times a week. So when employers across the nation began sending their employees to work from home due to Covid-19, the Coronavirus outbreak, the SkySwitch team was not phased in the slightest.
SkySwitch Resellers can and should take advantage of this expertise. By becoming an expert at remote work, resellers can segue into becoming a trusted advisor for all things related to remote work technology and collaboration tools. That’s why SkySwitch is hosting a webinar this month about working from home: so we can help you become an expert at working from home, and become that trusted advisor for work from home technologies for your customers.
In the meantime, our experienced team would like to share with you our top tips for working from home. (And make sure to tune into our webinar on March 31st, where we’ll dive even deeper!)
- Be transparent about what you’re struggling with
Projects don’t always run smoothly or as planned. And when you’re by yourself in your home office, those obstacles can even feel pretty isolating. There’s also the panic of writing out an email with your questions because what if it’s a “dumb question” or what if the email gets passed around? Fears like those can make it more difficult to reach out with questions. But, when you have distance between you and your co-workers, it is essential to be clear, communicative and transparent with your team as soon as you hit road bumps. Time is precious, and you need to remember that you all share the same goal.
- Make time to connect with your team
Just because there’s physical distance, doesn’t mean there needs to be social distance. Taking the time to check in on how your co-workers are doing on a personal level or taking an interest to their hobbies will help you build a stronger connection, and in turn, you’ll feel much more at ease communicating about road bumps, or voicing your opinions when you don’t agree with your team. An example is the daily stand up call our marketing team has every morning, about 30 minutes after everyone has started their day. We check in on how we’re doing, go over pressing matters, upcoming needs and more. While it’s not a long meeting, it does cover the tasks, actions and owners of various projects (like writing this post) so everyone knows what’s going on, and work keeps moving forward.
- Set ground rules with family and friends
In the past, whenever I told friends that I often work from home, many believed that this meant I could slack off on the days I work remotely. As a remote worker, I can tell you that the truth is the complete opposite. I actually tend to work longer hours and remain more focused when working from home. Plus, my projects and deadlines don’t magically disappear when I work from home instead of the office. Friends and family (especially young children) may not understand that working from home still means you’re busy actually working. That’s why it’s important to set some boundaries upfront about your work hours and when you can be available — because you don’t want a scenario like this to happen during an important call.
- Get the right communication and collaboration tools
Working at SkySwitch, a Cloud Communications Platform Provider, I’m lucky to be equipped with everything that I need to effectively communicate and collaborate with my team. Meeting Manager is a great interactive web and video conferencing tool that we use, and that SkySwitch Resellers can offer to their customers. Our ReachUC client makes it so easy to take calls. And thank goodness for the real-time collaboration capabilities of Google Suite and Slack. The point is, when you work from home, it’s important to assess how your team collaborates and to equip yourselves with the right tools for the job. And as a SkySwitch reseller, you have all the products and services your customers demand within reach. If you’re not sure what to advise customers who suddenly need to work from home, make sure to tune into our upcoming webinar, and always feel free to reach out to us!
- Have a designated workspace
It can be difficult, but you should resist the urge to work on your laptop in bed or on your comfy sofa. Subconsciously, we associate our beds and sofas with rest — which obviously isn’t conducive to productivity. Proper posture in an actual office chair can do wonders for your productivity as well. When you sit upright, you feel more powerful and confident — both important traits to promote productivity. And, who says you have to take calls sitting down? With the mute button, you can be walking around the house or around the block, so be creative on where you take and make calls, because your workspace is now more than just a desk.
- Put on real pants
Although it is tempting to lounge around in your pajamas all day, the simple act of hitting the shower, getting dressed and having a morning coffee or tea will kickstart your motivation for the day and your overall productivity. As mentioned above, when working from home, it’s important to make that transition from being in a relaxed state into a high-energy and productive state, and getting dressed in the morning makes a huge difference.
- Be reachable in multiple ways
What happens if your internet connection goes down? Will you still be able to communicate with your team? What if your email provider is down temporarily for a few hours? In an office setting, you would be able to walk over a few desks or cubicles and collaborate with your team. But, of course, that’s not possible when you’re working from home. The thing is, none of these unexpected occurrences should prevent you from being able to communicate with your team, which is why it’s important to have multiple streams of communication when you work from home.
- Schedule blocks of time for breaks (and actually stick to them)
When I work from home, I tend to zone in on projects and before you know it, six hours have passed without me leaving my desk! That is not healthy, at all, in the long-term. It’s important to stay hydrated, eat lunch and take short breaks to move your body and clear your mind. Set alarms in your phone as reminders, or if you’re a Slack user, set up an automated Zap to notify you to take a break. But, even more important than setting those reminders is actually committing to following through. Your body and mind will thank you greatly.
- Practice a “virtual commute”
At the end of the workday, I take my dog out for a walk in my neighborhood. And honestly, that walk outdoors helps create that sense of “leaving the office”. Many people struggle with defining their work hours, but it’s important to have work-life balance. Taking a brief 15-minute walk after work is a great way to re-enact a “commute”. After sitting all day, you can get your body moving, clear your mind and get some Vitamin D.
If you’ve enjoyed these tips, make sure to register for our upcoming webinar this month! SkySwitch’s CMO, Andy Abramson, who has years of experience working remotely, will be leading the webinar, along with Darren Buckner, a well-recognized expert in all things work from home. SkySwitch will be diving much deeper in this topic, so you can become a trusted advisor for work from home solutions for your customers.