Remote working (Curated Tips)+Round-up of additional resources during COVID

Tips for being productive while remote working

Remote working (Curated Tips)+Round-up of additional resources during COVID

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and “stay at home” mandates, most people who hold office jobs are now working from home. Adjusting to this “new normal” has been easier for some people and companies than others. As soon as the transition began, the online community sprung into action, publishing thousands of instructive articles for the first-time remote worker.

In an effort to help cut through the noise, we’ve compiled some tips that go beyond the basics (like finding a dedicated workspace and mapping out a daily schedule), with a focus on overcoming the unique distractions of trying to stay productive during a pandemic. We hope that these ideas may help you find joy in your work amidst this challenging situation.

And in case you want to dig in more, at the bottom we’ve included an overview of some of our favorite articles on the subject.

1. Try the Pomodoro method

If your mind is clouded with anxiety and worry, it’s normal to have trouble focusing on your work. One of our favorite techniques to manage distraction and procrastination is called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a time management system where you break your workday into manageable 25-minute chunks (or “Pomodoros”), separated by five-minute breaks. Challenge yourself not to check the latest headlines for those 25 minutes and give yourself a small treat once you’ve accomplished a few Pomodoros.

2. Pick up the phone especially when working from home

No doubt your company has developed communication guidelines for this period – daily virtual “stand-ups” and 1:1 check-ins with your manager to make sure everything’s on track. In addition to these scheduled times, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a colleague if you have a question or idea that would be more easily discussed in real-time. Not only will it be more efficient, but it will also give you a dose of the social connection that we miss when we’re not physically together in the office.

3. Stay flexible – your teammates will thank you

Everybody has a unique set of considerations and emotions related to the coronavirus pandemic, and it can feel like a lot to handle on top of work. It’s definitely a balancing act between “business as usual” and interacting with extra empathy. If a colleague needs to schedule most calls in the morning or evenings to handle their childcare responsibilities, or needs an hour to complete a deliverable due to WiFi issues, a little extra flexibility will go a long way.

4. Figure out your internet (a must for remote working)

Ensuring you have a strong and stable internet connection will ease a lot of exasperation as you work remotely. With many people from home in your area, it may be possible that your internet provider’s bandwidth is stretched. Depending on your budget, a good solution may be to try bandwidth-saving tips like turning on your phone’s wireless hotspot for important video calls to reduce the frustration and awkwardness of delays and dropped calls, dialing into meetings by phone that do not require video, turning on “offline mode” so you can edit documents and draft communications without the internet, and chunk your time into “online” and “offline” work.

5. Develop a few enjoyable rituals throughout the day

Working in a confined space day after day can feel suffocating. Break up your daily routine with a few simple rituals that will help you clear your mind and stay positive. Take a few extra minutes to sip your coffee in the morning, put on a podcast at lunch, or do a quick stretching routine between calls. You’ll return to your work with more energy and focus.

6. Turn on the video (bandwidth allowing 🙂)

If your team is connecting on Zoom or Google Hangouts throughout the day, try turning on the video instead of just using audio. It helps to maintain the personal connection throughout a conversation, pick up on non-verbal cues, and generally feel more engaged during a meeting.

7. Keep up the team bonding – it’s more important now than ever

Your team can be a heartwarming source of distraction and support during a challenging and disjointed time. On our team, we’re keeping our WhatsApp threads active with photos and videos from home, along with lots of joking and healthy competition. We’re moving all of our monthly All Hands (a quarterly company-wide, now virtual event, where we share updates, latest news on all things Shortlist) and evening bonding events online to keep a sense of continuity. It’s been great to see how the positive energy from fellow Shortlisters is keeping everyone’s spirits high. 

We’d love to hear from you about what tips for remote working are resonating with you during this extremely unique time. As always, tweet your responses to us! And take a look at the additional resources we’ve gathered below. 

General resources for working from home

Remote work tech and tools


Managing people and team remotely