Take Working from Home to the Next Level with These Tips

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While 43% of Americans were already working from home with some frequency, the coronavirus has forced a record number of people to now work remotely.

If your company was in the midst of a digital transformation, it probably wasn’t a difficult transition to start working from home. You were already using tools and software hand-picked by your IT and/or leadership teams.

But for many, there was a scramble to get things up and running just for the sake of business continuity. And that’s okay – anything that keeps business moving while we’re dealing with uncertainty is good!

But eventually, as working from home becomes the new normal, we need better and smarter ways to work, along with the right tools.

Below are some tips for how you can take your remote work to the next level.

Better Home Office Furniture

One of the first things many of us learned is that our current computer chair wasn’t designed for an 8 hour-plus workday.

Or maybe you’ve realized that your lighting is sub-optimal, or your desk is just not cutting it for your focus. And if you’re going to be working from home for a while (or just working from home more often), it’s wise to invest in better office furniture.

Here are some resources for you to start:

Optimize Department Communication

Once you’ve settled into routines and determined how you work best from home, it’s time to figure out how to make your team work like a well-oiled machine.

First, establish which communication channels you want to use for information, according to importance. For example: if you have an urgent customer need, you’ll want to call or chat with your team member to work through the problem. But if you have an idea about a potential new software feature, you may just want to leave a note on project management software.

Management should decide if you need office-approved chat or conferencing software. Is it okay for departments to find their own ways to communicate? Or is it better to have a standard channel like Slack or Google Chat?

Also, decide how often you need to check in with each other. Do you need daily meetings? Weekly? Reevaluate this often so you don’t get on calls you don’t need, or worse, miss calls you should have held.

Try these guides for establishing best practices for communication:

Collaborate Smarter with Document Management Software

laptop document management systemWhen sharing documents among your coworkers, you’re probably just emailing them back and forth or tossing them up on Dropbox. And for a simple collaboration or document share, you don’t need much more than that.

But if you and your colleagues work with a significant number of documents and data, you’ll need a system that can work harder for you. Document management software allows for remote collaboration and document self-service, all while being housed in a highly secure cloud environment. Good systems also have audit trails and document history, easily integrate with the software you use every day, and allow for advanced features like workflow. They can take any document-based task to the next level.

To learn more about document management software, check out these resources:

Make Sure You’re Using the Right Software

And while we’re covering software, IT and leadership teams should eventually evaluate every program their company is using. Unless you were actively working to set up remote employees, you may have not given too much thought about programs to enable a remote workforce. You might have picked your video conference software for working with external clients. Or you just downloaded Zoom because it’s at the top of every list. (Not to throw shade at Zoom – but do be aware there could be security risks.)

It may feel like overkill to evaluate every single piece of software right now. And while we can only hope that the current situation is temporary, the trend of remote work is likely to grow. Putting in the research now will make permanent work from home situations a lot easier.

Here are a few places to start:

  • G2: the largest online tech marketplace with real, unbiased user reviews. Start your research here, check out the software websites for particular features, and then cross reference reviews from some of these sites. They also have a nice blog post about the five work from home apps you need for great remote work.
  • The Essential Remote Work Tools You Need to Get Things Done: an extensive resource with all tools broken up by tasks – project management, writing, conferencing, etc. There’s a nice collection of other tools you may not have considered at the bottom of the article.
  • The Remote Worker’s Toolkit: The 15 Tools You Need to Work Remotely: this guide is a collection of articles, each of which is an excellent round up of top-notch tools for working from home.

 

Like most things, efficiency in working from home is a constantly evolving process. Making little tweaks right now can really pay off in the future. Standardizing your business processes and software now will make for easier future situations and policies.

 

Is there anything else you’ve done that’s taken your work from home efficiency to the next level? Reach out to us on Twitter and LinkedIn and tell us about it. We’ll update this post with your suggestions!

 

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