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Working Remotely as a Team — What to Keep in Mind

At Celayix, we are now all working remotely. Here are a few key tips from our team on how to best work from home.

Celayix Is Now 100% Working Remotely

This is a topic that Celayix has long dealt with — managing staff, schedules, duties, and more, when staff are at different locations from management — but is now facing working remotely on a large scale for the first time itself. With the COVID-19 global pandemic currently causing mass disruptions, more and more workplaces are going remote, including us.

covid-19 virus 3D image

The Current Situation

To decrease the rate of infection for the COVID-19 virus, all global health organizations are either strongly urging or mandating that people self-quarantine. Since the virus is airborne and can last for days depending on the type of surface on which it lands, transmission is especially easy.

What that all means is we should maintain physical distance from everyone who we don’t live with, and to avoid public places, so as to avoid catching or spreading the virus. Many people are asymptomatic (don’t feel ill or show signs of illness) for multiple days, but during that time they can still infect others. So even if you feel fine, experts vehemently caution against breaking self-quarantine.

“According to a recent survey by 8×8 at the end of February, 44% of consumers with full-time jobs have already seen coronavirus impact the way they do business, 55% have canceled travel plans and are having fewer in-person meetings, and 40% are increasing their use of video conferencing.”

Forbes.com

How Self-Quarantine Affects Business

The amount of change rippling through the business world is unprecedented. Countless businesses have been forced into going remote, whether they’re ready for it or not. Normally, the act of moving an entire workforce off-site is a serious undertaking that requires thoughtful policy development and new internal processes to be created.

Employee Scheduling System

So if your workplace is experiencing difficulties or unforeseen challenges in the wake of going remote, it’s okay. That’s to be expected, honestly. But it’s vital to do everything you can to adjust quickly, and to help others adjust as well. Because the current quarantine period may go on for anywhere from weeks to months to perhaps even longer, depending on where you live and how quickly the virus spreads.

For the businesses that can function working remotely, that’s a ray of hope in a challenging time. For businesses that rely on foot traffic and in-person interactions, it’s a very different story. And in an era of uncertainty and upheaval, it’s vital that a remote workforce not only survives, but becomes stronger and more effective.

Businesses New To Having A Remote Workforce

Companies that have gone remote now face a number of things to consider: Are you complying with the appropriate laws and regulations? Do staff know when and how they should check in? Are there tax implications you need to consider?

GitLab has a wealth of information on the subject of working remotely, and we recommend their recent handbook on What Not To Do When Implementing Remote. The information on transitioning a hybrid workplace (partially remote) to a fully remote setup is especially valuable nowadays. Businesses can actually see cost savings with proper implementation of remote work policies. Remote work can reduce overheat costs and result in greater productivity.

Policy and structure are well and good, but that doesn’t always fully address the reality of suddenly thrusting the average person into a remote position. So what are some ways that people manage working in the place they live? We asked Celayix staff this question and would like to share some of their answers.

celayix employees on video chat screen having conference call
Some of our team, having a weekly all-staff meeting on Zoom during the first week of remote working

Tips For Working Remotely

Below are some of the great suggestions and strategies from out team to make remote work as painless as possible.

For Maintaining a Healthy Routine
Celayix product specialist Michael

“Develop a routine, and stick to it. Start and finish at the same time every day. Have lunch at the usual time. Take breaks.

Do the same things as you would do when going into the office: shave, shower, get dressed. Don’t stay in pajamas and bunny slippers just because nobody can see you!

Stay off Facebook, Instagram, online shopping etc. Act as you would if your coworkers were looking over your shoulder.

Use the time that you normally spend commuting before and after work to take care of yourself. Meditate, exercise, and actually use that treadmill!

It’s very easy to get cabin fever. Arrange a daily video chat with your coworkers so you feel less isolated.”

— Michael, Implementation Specialist

“For me when I start wandering, I go for a walk or, when I was younger, a run.  I set aside a certain amount of time that I would do that for, and then go back to work.”

— Sarj, CFO
For Households With Children/Multiple People
Celayix developer Ian

“You can log into your home wi-fi router console, and there may be an option for “Media Prioritization”. (this is probably not there on all routers). You can set the Remote Desktop Connection program or the computer you use for work to high priority. That keeps others in the house from using up the bandwidth.”

— Ian, Applications Developer

“If you have a home office then close the door and remind everyone that when the door is closed mommy/daddy is ‘at work’ and can’t be disturbed.”

— Michael, Implementation Specialist

celayix UI and UX designer Lana

“Somehow kids know when you are in a meeting, and that exact time they try to get your attention. I find it useful to set up something that keeps my son busy before the meeting starts.Use what works for your kids and don’t feel guilty. Tablet games, Netflix, Disney + all work very well for me.

I also created a hard copy schedule and put it on the wall. It lists times and kid’s activities, meal breaks, fresh air walks, quiet time, etc. to keep up with a healthy routine.

So if you forget to have lunch kids will remind you at the right time :)”

— Lana, UX/UI Designer

For Those Easily Distracted By Noise
celayix developer umesh headshot

“The background noise at home may be different from what you’re used to at work. I use a noise generator website like mynoise.net to drown out other distracting background noises and it helps me focus. Coffee shop and Tibetan mediation are my favorites.”

— Umesh, Web Application Developer

So, What’s Next?

For those of us who are indefinitely working from home, this can be anything from an exciting opportunity to learn new time and task management skills, to an altogether uncertain and anxiety-inducing experience. The best way to ensure we all thrive it is to keep communication flowing, manage your fitness and dietary needs appropriately, and to continue working as a team. Check out these fascinating 40 Remote Work Stats compiled by HubSpot for an interesting read as well.

Take care of one another during the next while, and take care of yourself. We can’t know how long the recommended self-quarantine periods will last, so it’s best to prepare for longer term scenarios of at least 3-6 months. Check out relevant articles and speak with coworkers and bosses about how to implement remote work best practices. And hey, maybe watch an extra cat video or two if you need an extra pick me up.

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