Like many others, we at Anegy are currently working remotely. In our industry, we are well-equipped for remote work, but for others, it can mean much bigger changes. So whether you're working from home by order of the government, your boss or for your own well-being - here are my five tips on how to work smarter remotely.
Advice to work from home in Stockholm
From 16 March, the Swedish Public Health Agency advises to work from home for those who live inthe Stockholm region where possible. Read more about current advice for covid-19.
Working remotely has many advantages
Although you experience many difficulties in working remotely, it may also be helpful to highlight the benefits of being adaptable in your job and not being dependent on a physical place.
Having worked as a consultant in the industry for several years, I myself know how much easier everyday life will be when you avoid this particular addiction – both for private life but especially at work. Being able to make the most of the time and work during, for example, travel time or between meetings makes a big difference. Managing received emails, calendar or communication with team members are examples of tasks that can be easily done in such situations.
Benefits that can come with teleworking
- Increased productivity: You can work more focused on your tasks without interruption. You can also streamline your meetings more and prioritize the most important ones.
- More flexibility: You're more flexible to customize your own schedule and take your tasks the way it suits you best.
- Time saving: You get reduced travel time when you don't have to travel to and from work or between meetings. In other words, more time for your actual tasks!
- Reduced costs: Travel and food costs are two examples where you can reduce your expenses when working remotely.
With adaptation to remote work, you will also be more equipped for the future. Avoiding the limitation of where you do your job can be a tremendous sense of freedom. In addition, you can avoid spreading infection in the future from common cold viruses when you know that your work can still be remotely carried out.
5 tips for working smarter from home
So, let's run through our five tips for working from home. Read through the list and make sure you are properly equipped to do your best work from home.
1. Review availability and access
Step one to start working remotely is to review your limitations. For example, you may not have permissions to systems based on your IP address. Put together a list of the services, files, and systems you depend on in your daily work and ensure step by step that you can perform them from your home office. If not, get in touch with the relevant party that can help you. For example, if your accesses are IP-restricted, you can resolve it with a VPN connection with the help of your IT professional.
2. Make sure you are properly equipped
When working remotely, you also need to ensure that you are technically equipped. We see these points as a prerequisite for working well remotely.
- Internet: A fast, secure and reliable internet connection. Keep in mind that mobile data can be accessed quickly if you don't have wi-fi access. Take the opportunity to review selective sync in Dropbox, especially if you're using cellular data.
- Devices: In short, the devices you are already working on, such as mobile and computer. If you are dependent on any other devices, you should of course have access to them, too. Off course with the accessories you need; adapters, batteries and charging cables, HDMI cables, mice, and more.
- Headphones and microphone: Preferably noise-cancelling headphones, so you can work according to your conditions even at home – especially if you're used to being able to work in peace and quiet at your workplace. You also need good headphones with a microphone to ensure the quality of your video calls. Here, too, noise-cancelling headphones are recommended to shut out disturbing noise scans in the background.
Dual screens increase efficiency
Something that many people miss and rarely have available when working on the go is dual screens. If you have it, it's a bonus for working effectively from home!
There are also solutions to use your tablet as an external screen, if you feel it would make it easier for you in your work.
3. Use productivity and communication services
It is of course important that you can work painlessly with your tasks even though you are not in the same room as your colleagues or customers. If you don't use online communication services or projects, it may be high time to test and experiment a little. Most services are also available free of charge, but with certain limitations such as the number of users.
Here are some examples of productivity and communication services you can use:
- Chat: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord
- Project planning: Trello, Asana, Wrike
- Cloud Services: Google Drive, Dropbox
- Video Call: Hangouts Meet, Skype, Zoom
- Time reporting: Toggl, Timecamp, Harvest
- Remote Control and Support: TeamViewer
You can also use the Shift service to connect your services in one – from your email and calendar to apps like Slack and Trello. This eliminates the need to keep up all the windows and tabs on your computer, and can easily get your notifications from one place. The service is free to connect your email and an additional app. Otherwise it costs 99.99 USD per year.
Clarify your availability – how and when you work
Also, be sure to communicate to your colleagues, customers and partners under what circumstances you work remotely and how and when they best reach you. In most chat services, you can set a status to show what your availability looks like.
4. Get started with video calls and conferences
Make sure you can attend the necessary meetings from home. Explore your video calling and conferencing solutions and capabilities. It is important that you ensure that the sound and video work well and that you have a stable connection when you join your meeting. Common mistakes I've seen with video calls are:
- Audio feedback: You use your computer's speakers and microphone to create audio feedback. That is, the sound that plays in your speaker is captured by your microphone. If you're using a headset, you can work around this problem.
- Disturbing background noise: Fan, background music, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer or other calls that take place in the same room can cause disturbing background noise. Poor acoustics in the room that gives echo is another example.
- Don't turn off the microphone: If you're only going to listen to the meeting but don't actively participate, turn off the microphone best.
- You accidentally start your camera: Double check before connecting, if you don't want to have a picture running during the call. Anyone who feels unsure can use a camera blocker.
- You miss taking notes: Don't forget to take meeting notes. But like other meetings, you'd better appoint a person to take the notes and then share the remaining participants in the video meeting. To avoid sound from the keyboard, the meeting recorder runs best with the microphone set to silent.
- You miss to ensure the image: Camera angle and a good lighting is good to review before connecting.
- You share a screen with sensitive or unwanted information up:Make sure you share only what you want to share during your video meeting.
Video meeting services
At Anegy, we like Hangouts Meet because it's free and you can participate in a video meeting without having a Google account. However, you must have a browser with support for the service. Very practical if you are having a meeting outside your own organization! If you are just two people having a video meeting, I think Facetime also works well.
5. Don't forget the social gatherings
Just because you are not at work, don't forget about your colleagues. Social gatherings can be very important for your well-being in your new home office during times of isolation. Make sure you check in with your colleagues regularly and schedule a coffee break from time to time via any video service or phone.
Working from home can be a challenge, but can also bring a variety of benefits. If you are not used to working remotely, it may be a good time to experiment and make your work less site dependent. In conclusion, my five tips for smarter working from home are to review accesses, your technical equipment, the use of apps and services for communication and productivity, the conditions for video calling and not to forget the importance of social meetings – even remotely!
Support with free advice
In connection with the drastic development of Corona and the serious consequences of the virus, we now want to support you who are experiencing difficulties in your business. We help you review how you can quickly digitize your business or product. You can read more and fill out the forms for advice here. We try to help as many people as we can!