Six Mistakes to Avoid When Transitioning to Remote Work

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is fundamentally altering the way many organizations operate as organizations around the country are sending workers home to work remotely. That means, for a great many people, working virtually is a new reality. As corporate leaders, managers and individual workers make this sudden shift, it’s critical to maintain productivity, ease anxiety and continue to collaborate effectively. 

With that said, there are smart ways and not-so-smart ways to approach remote work. To ensure a smooth and effective transition to virtual work and teams, here are 6 common mistakes that individuals and managers should avoid. 

Common Pitfalls for Individual Workers. 

  1. Not being aware of your biggest distractors. Particularly for workers who are used to going into an office or workplace, you may be facing new distractions in your home office that are different than the ones you encounter in the workplace. And, as schools are closing around the country, many people are now working remote with kids at home.

    Remote worker with childrenTake an honest assessment of your at-home work environment to identify potential causes of distraction or things that may cause your mind towander. For example, consider putting your cell phone on silent or Do Not Disturb mode and set is aside. Or, if you find yourself easily lured into the kitchen for snacks throughout the day, stock a drawer in your work location with a few snacks and a bottle of water before you set out to start your workday.
  2. Not setting boundaries. As mentioned above, one of the biggest distractions facing remote workers today is being surrounded by loved ones or kids who are home. It is critical that you set boundaries with others in your home to avoid constant interruptions throughout the day. Consider setting a rule that when your door is closed, there should be no interruptions and schedule half hour increments to interact and check with loved ones. 

    In addition, a common challenge for remote workers is either a temptation to stop and do chores around the house or, on the flipside, letting work responsibilities spill over into your private life. The best solution is to make a schedule and stick to it, helping to separate work from home life.

  3. Going at it alone. A regular pitfall of remote workers is feeling disconnected or lonely when starting to work from home, particularly for those who are used to going into a workplace. To help combat these feelings, try building in some social opportunities into your daily work schedule and stay connected to your coworkers. Establish a daily habit of interacting through instant message or video chats to conduct ongoing business tasks.

Better Practices Will Lead to Better Results. 

Working virtually becomes second nature when you do it all the time. However, if you need to suddenly transition to remote work, you may not have the effective systems in place. The good news is, if you’re willing to prepare as best you can, learn as you go, and be patient during the adjustment period, you may just find that working virtually works for you. By avoiding these common mistakes, you will make the transition as smooth as possible and set yourself up for success. 

Topics: Team Dynamics, Performance Management