I’ve been working remotely since 1999 and as such, I’ve gone through the evolution of technology and practicalities and have a few best practices you may find useful. And yes, I started working virtually WAY before we had video conferencing technologies like Zoom, StreamYard, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and even GoTo Webinar. Would I say I’m an early adopter? Not exactly. However, I like to be in the know when new tech comes out, and explore the use cases via research and inquiry, then if it seems to be “a thing” or I can see it fills a need, I go for it. Thus, I typically understand the tech and application of it enough to make good decisions.
If you are now remote working after being in an office with a team or have a hybrid situation, these tips have served me and others really well.
Optimize Your Workspace
You need to create an office space that allows you to feel good and be productive. Having a workable space and setup will actually help you get more done in less time.
Dedicate a space that is primarily used for your work (and/or personal administrivia). Ensure it is NOT a high-traffic area of your home. Get a fan/heater or portable air conditioner if you would typically avoid this space due to heat or cold.
You may want to set up a stand-up desk or add a riser on top of your existing desk as I did with mine. I splurged on this electric standing desk converter.
Find Ways to Connect with People
Working remotely can be lonely if you’re work does not entail collaboration. Schedule a walk with a friend during your lunchtime or just after work. And by the way, you can do that remotely too. Ring them up on the phone or Facetime or even Facebook has video chat that you can use as you walk and talk.
Many organizations went to virtual meetings and are continuing to keep them going. Women Speakers Association has monthly networking meetings for women entrepreneurs.
Treat Your Body Right
Ergonomics and nutrition make a difference. I mentioned this in my recent Staples Connect blog contribution which inspired this full blog.
Having a chair that fits you well will serve you and your body for years. Ensure your lower arms and lower legs are at a 90-degree angle to your upper arms and legs. Ideally, you are set up like this image.
Stand Up Often
Every 30 minutes. Tell your Zoom peeps we’re taking a standup break. It will be good for them too. Thanks to Jackie my Physical Therapist.
Drink Lots of Water
This article recommends 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Or eat foods high in water content If you’re going to be in front of a screen for most of your work time, eye strain is a risk.
Systems for Communication – with your colleagues, vendors, and team
I have come to love our video conferencing solutions. Zoom is the go-to now that the majority of remote workers are familiar with using it and have reliable internet bandwidth. In 2014 when I first started using Zoom, so many people would get dropped or have sound issues. That has dwindled. In fact, Zoom has become the most familiar system out there.
That being said, always have a backup system you can meet virtually on. That could simply be the phone. After all, that’s where I started back at the beginning of this century.
Other video conferencing solutions organizations are opting for include:
- GoogleMeet, MicrosoftTeams, GoToMeeting.
- There are hybrid virtual meeting/ live streaming tools as well. So if you have the desire to livestreaming, you may choose something like: Streamyard, or Melon app, or
- You can use Restream.io with Zoom (custom live streaming instructions). Get your account here: https://restream.io/join/ZGKw6
Streamline Your Team Communications
Beyond meeting with your colleagues, clients, and vendors, you’ll want systems to organize your information, assignments, client assets, and more. A great system to start with is Google Drive. The first 15 MB are free. If you have Google Workplace, it includes 30 MB of storage per user and many other tools.
Some immediate team time savers include:
- Invite people to meetings with calendar invitations (no more miscommunications) and include the conferencing link in the invite
- Set up a Slack channel to send IMs to the team about the various projects and clients you are working on
- Set up a project management tool like Asana, ClickUp, Monday, Basecamp, Teamwork, or your favorite, and start collaborating.
- You may opt to use Google Drive for spreadsheets to organize your projects and create folders with the assets you want everyone to access. Create videos with tutorials.
Document Who Agrees to do What by When
Most importantly DOCUMENT every decision made that is said verbally. In other words, after every video meeting, there should be a person who will summarize in writing who agreed to do what and by when. House this document in a centralized place (not just an email that can get lost). If you want to work effectively with a remote team, this is a MUST.
Remote Work While Traveling
The beauty of remote work is that you can do it from almost anywhere (that you can be connected to the internet). The keys to ensuring you remain connected are to:
- Choose a place that has a reputation for reliable high-speed internet connection
- Have a backup internet connection
If you have a smartphone, I recommend getting a plan that allows you to hotspot from your phone or buying a portable wifi hotspot device from a mobile phone provider. Then as long as there is cell phone reception, you can connect your laptop to your hotspot service.
Set yourself up in a comfortable workspace in your accommodations. Ideally, position yourself against a blank wall and at a comfy table or desk if possible.
Be sure to check time zones when your meetings are scheduled to make sure you are on time if you’re traveling to a different zone.
In Google Calendar, for example, you can add a time zone to your calendar view
- On your computer, open Google Calendar.
- In the top right, click Settings Settings.
- In the “Time Zone” section, click Display secondary time zone.
- Click Secondary time zone and choose your time zone.
Or check worldtimebuddy.com
Always Have Backups
In addition to having a backup internet connection, make sure you
- Backup your computer and have all your documents, videos, and audio in the cloud
- Backup your phone in the cloud so that if you lose your phone you can get a new one locally and be back in business.
- Have a backup video conferencing software or option.
The other day, a colleague lost her internet so we videoed on Facebook messenger.
Get Help Implementing
Even if you’re a one-person show, you don’t have to do everything alone. You’ll go further faster if you give up the struggle and call in some help to get organized in your office and online.
Craft an implementation plan! If you want a guide on the side to walk you through this, book a complimentary consult to determine the support that would be best for you here: TransformToday.com/15