October 2015 marked the launch of Airfoil’s remote working experience. My blog “5 Peaks and Pits from a Remote Worker,” reflected some of the lessons learned after 30 days of working remotely. As we put the finishing touches on our new office space in Royal Oak and prepare to jump back into the world of cubemates, water cooler chats and face-to-face meetings, I would like to share some of my key takeaways from the time spent at home.
1. Communication is key
Working remotely provides flexibility on where you work and what you wear to work but the importance of communication is not flexible and must remain intact. When you are not face-to- face with your team members, emails tend to pile up more quickly. It’s very important to utilize technology, (Skype for business, SharePoint, OneNote) as well as a good old-fashioned phone call in order to minimize the confusion or make certain the direction on a project is clear.
2. Stay on schedule
It’s easy to fall into new habits during a remote working experience, but when the time comes to get back into the office, you will do yourself a favor by keeping your schedule. Hitting the snooze a few more times and a total disconnect from rush hour traffic will no longer be an option. Prepare for this by keeping the alarm set at your normal time and traveling to an offsite location at the typical commute times. This will help alleviate the reality shock once it’s time to go back to the office.
3. Stay Connected
Although you may be in separate buildings, it’s important to keep the connections with coworkers intact. Keeping connected in various ways helps boost the sense of community and make the work day less stressful. Meet for coffee, a tasty lunch or a happy hour special. Personally, having meet up with some ‘foilers during this time has been a boost to our friendship. Knowing that we don’t have to see each other but we choose to has strengthened our bond.
4. Don’t forget you can do IT
Working from home has been a real boost to my tech skills. Being able to address my own tech needs at home will help me troubleshoot the inevitable tech hiccups once back in the office. For example, if my internet connection is lost, I know now to disconnect from the network and reset the router to reestablish a new connection. Instead of running to our IT support, I can confidently put to use what I learned while at home.
5. Be Thankful
I am thankful to Airfoil for allowing us this time to utilize the remote working environment and prove we can provide excellent client service and be successful from any corner of the world. The additional time in my day was not taken for granted. I had a chance to play with my daughter, sit down for family dinners and snuggle my 7lb fur baby during the time I would’ve normally spent commuting. Although we’ll be back in the office in just a few short days, I’m going to continue to look for ways to boost productivity and create more time for the things and people who matter most.