7 Tips for Smart Working
The practice of working from home is becoming more popular all around the globe due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. More companies are adopting or at least integrating agile working in order to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. Recently, for example, Google’s parent company Alphabet has requested its almost 100,000 employees across the US and Canada to work from home. Likely, other well known companies, such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook are asking their workers to stay home. Although in some countries the expression smart working or agile working is already part of the companies’ working environment, some other countries do not know how to implement or integrate it. In Polk&Union, we have adopted smart working since we opened our first office in Rome in 2011. Even though it is by now established within our working environment, there are many other companies that are approaching for the first time this new way of working.
Smart Working: Meaning and Methodology
The definition of agile working is that employees are empowered to work where and when they want. Basically, they are literally bringing their work at home, including their laptop and every other tool they need. One of the main principles of agile working is that employees have the possibility to establish a better work-life balance by individually organizing their day.
There is not a good or a bad way to adapt to this new agile way of working. What we really need is enough time to start defining it as a normal routine and not as a new or innovative concept. If you are still wondering how you should adapt to smart working, this is a list of 7 suggestions that you can follow to optimize your working from home.
1) Organize Work with Team Members
The first tip for smart working is also at the basis of office work. Before proceeding with any work, it is important to organize the amount of work with the other team members. The efficiency and the effectiveness to carry out a job mainly depends on the firm’s organizational ability. Now more than ever, with the Coronavirus emergency and employees forced to work from home, organization has become crucial. Due to a lack of direct communication, colleagues need to organize their work so that everybody else on the team is aware of the tasks and deadlines to respect. For instance, the project management tool “Trello,” provides the team with the opportunity to get a complete and exhaustive overview about the tasks to carry out, the incoming deadlines, and the resources employed for each assignment.
2) Keep Communication Open with the Team
One of the greatest challenges associated with smart working is keeping an open communication with the rest of the team. Switching from a crowded working environment at the office to an agile workplace can be a destabilizing change. Let’s be honest, in most cases colleagues are the people with whom you share most of your day and establishing an interpersonal relationship with them is almost inevitable. For this reason, it is essential to keep in mind that this agile way of working does not mean cutting out any relationship with other team members, but adapting to the current situation and finding efficient ways to stay in touch with them. Luckily enough, we live in the so-called “Digital Age,” which allows us to stay connected with people while working remotely. In order to do so, we need to take advantage of the technological tools we have. Let’s dive deep into them moving forward to point number three.
3) Take Advantage of Technology
Technology is our ally and it represents the mean through which we can stay connected both with our team and our clients. These are some examples about how to take advantage of technology:
- Use instant messaging systems to stay in touch whenever and with whoever you want. For instance, Google Hangouts Chat is a messaging platform that helps team members to communicate through direct messages and group chats;
- Use videoconferencing systems for group meetings that allow you to be present anywhere in the world. Among the most known: Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom.
It’s good to keep in mind that having the opportunity To be online 24/7 does not mean you should be productive all the time. Click To Tweet It is important to recognize when it is time to disconnect and go offline. Remember that working from home doesn’t mean working more, but simply being able to find the right balance in your working routine.
4) Effectively Organize your Working Hours
As we have just said, smart working means being productive neither more nor less than usual. For this reason, it is important to respect our usual working routine as much as possible. To do so, we recommend you two main solutions:
- Set a start and end point to your working day and try to respect it. In this way you will not risk to overturn your smart working into overworking, that is, working more than you should;
- Take a lunch break and other short breaks throughout the day. Stops are essential both for your physical and mental health. Nobody will blame you if you will take a few more minutes to stretch your legs or have a coffee. Stopping for a while may give you the right wellness to refresh your mind and to get back to your work more productive than before.
5) Establish a Work-Life Balance
Separating private and working life may not be so easy as it seems when your agile workplace is under the same roof of your house. Therefore, you should divide the two realities as much as you can in order to avoid their overlapping. Set a steady routine so that you will have some time to devote to both your private life and your job. Furthermore, remember to keep your private life out once your working day begins. In this way, you will be more motivated and productive during your day.
6) Carve Out an Agile Workplace
Organize a space dedicated to your agile work. This place should be separated from the rest of the house and by the other family’s members. You should try to organize this space away from the table where you eat or from the sofa where you watch the TV. way, you will maintain a distinct mental separation of your home and you will associate each room with its own functionality. As a consequence, when you find yourself in your agile workplace, you will be able to focus more on your work and to avoid distractions. Pay attention to your comfort and to the cleanliness of the room, they will help you stay focused and productive.
7) Keep the Same Level of Professionalism
Participating in videoconferences directly from your living room does not mean abandoning the professionalism achieved in the office. In smart working you should still use suitable clothes for your working position. So, do not use slippers or pajama pants under the desk during a video conference with clients. Even though nobody will notice your clothing under the desk, try to keep your usual level of professionalism. This will help to make you feel like you are physically at work and, consequently, to focus better. Also, keeping suitable clothes can help boost your credibility for yourself and others.
What about the Future?
We are unaware of how this situation will evolve in the future; if and how smart working is going to be adopted by more companies on a larger scale once the emergency is over. What we know is that if we are able to interpret these changes as a personal and professional opportunity for growth, we will become stronger and smarter than before.