WFH tips to stay productive, engaged

Working from home (WFH) has many benefits and conveniences. However, the setup also has its challenges such as staying focused and adopting “office hours.” There is always the temptation of doing things not related to work especially because there is time to spare.

Google offers some tips to those who are new to the setup and are still navigating to this new normal.

Have you read “Google unveils Learn@Home for kids, parents, learning creators“?

Start conversations with friendly questions

For virtual meetings and conference calls on Hangouts Meet, it is important to get the ball rolling by building rapport and getting to know teammates just as how you converse in the office. Check up on them from time-to-time to help them cope with the month-long quarantine. You can also consider creating a group chat for non-work related stuff where you can share cute animal videos and social messages to ease the stress of their workload.

Show support virtually

Some engagement signals are lost or limited when working together virtually, particularly when given the option to mute the microphone or focus on the laptop. Whenever someone is talking or presenting an idea, encourage them with a head nod or a simple compliment to uplift their mood. Just like in the workplace, phones must be facing down when doing conference calls and showing active listening by making eye contact or expressing reactions noticeably.

Let everyone’s voice be heard

Some members of the team might find it hard to jump in the online conversation and share their thoughts. Make it easy for them by creating a space for them to speak up. Open the floor for questions and ask input from the most isolated meeting participants to let them know that their opinions are valid and welcome.

Set team norms and policies

For a work from home set up to be successful, rules and norms must be set in place to ensure that the team works effectively together. Schedule a time when everybody should be expected to be online. Encourage team members to create communication policies and guidelines such as answering an email within thirty minutes or responding to chats within fifteen minutes. Remind them also to avoid overworking and sending emails or setting meetings off business hours.

Get together virtually for casual conversations

Keep the team’s mental wellbeing in mind by arranging catch-up meetings with no other agenda over video chat. Consider gathering over Hangouts to eat lunch or breakfast together as a way to bond as a team even when miles away. Veronica Gilrane, manager of Google’s People Innovation Lab, shares, “Being able to see someone’s face is not the same as being in person, but it really helps a lot. You can read their emotions. You can see how they’re doing.”

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