7 Essential Tips to Help Improve Your Effectiveness When Working Remotely

By 30th March 2020 April 3rd, 2020 People Management Tips

#1 Start Your Day the Right Way

You might be working remotely from home, but you’re still going to work. Get dressed, eat breakfast and head to your dedicated workspace. Where you work matters. Even if you don’t head to a separate room for work, it should feel like a separate space.

If possible, work at a desk or table and not from your sofa. Make your working space comfortable. It should have good lighting and be away from as many distractions as possible. Try to make sure you have a suitably supportive chair.

It’s not just you who might need to adjust to you working from home. Set some ground rules for others in the house when you’re working. Pets and family members can be distracting.

#2 Establish a Routine

Start your day as close to the way you do in the office.  If you usually start by making a coffee or filling your water bottle up, keep doing it.  Use skype messaging or pick up the phone to say good morning to your team members.

Take the regular breaks you would normally take. Just as in the office, you should stop regularly to move about, grab a drink or have a quick chat with someone. To ensure you do this, it’s a good idea to set yourself an alarm as a reminder.

hand holding on to a note inside a notebook

Start your day as close to the way you do in the office.

Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day will help maintain a work-life balance. Working remotely from home can blur the lines between personal and professional, so make sure those boundaries stay up.

Plan your day’s tasks to help you keep on track. Try to schedule your working day, as this will help to maintain a work-life balance. Try to start and finish the day on time.

#3 Maximise Communication

When you work remotely communication vital.  Be present online and over-communicate if needs be. Remember, you no longer have office chit-chat to keep in up to date with what your team members are working on, so make sure those conversations are still happening and happen regularly.

Make time in meetings or set aside a specific time for a social chat.  Please ensure you involve everyone and not leave anyone out of these conversations.  It is easy to keep in contact with your favourite ‘work-buddies’ but remember, ‘you are part of a team’ and it is everyone’s responsibility to not to let silos build up. It’s an idea to set up quick ‘coffee meetings’ with all members of your team so you don’t lose contact with anyone. Use the chat option in Teams/Skype to keep in touch with your colleagues throughout the day. You need to communicate more not less if you are working alone.

Show your face – Use your video when on a Teams call – this helps us to stay connected and can make working remotely feel less isolating. It will help you to engage more on calls too

#4 Practise Good Etiquette in Virtual Meetings

During virtual meetings we ask people to be respectful and collaborative by following the guidelines below:

  • Always be on time and sign in a few minutes before the meeting begins.
  • Respect each other by fully concentrating on the discussion at hand: Turn off notifications, put your phone on silent, and close down any work open on your screen unless it is needed for the meeting.
  • Mute yourself when others are talking to avoid interrupting them. If you are unsure ‘when’ is the right time to speak, try using the ‘hands up’ button.  This will indicate to the chair you have something to add.
  • Most importantly, fully participate and feed into discussions.

#5 Prioritise Your Wellbeing and Mental Health

Eat well – try to eat a healthy lunch. It’s easy to snack when you are at home. Try to eat as you would at work.

Fruit deserts, berries and avocado

Prioritise Your Wellbeing and Mental Health

As many of us walk or cycle as part of our commute to the office, we should consider this reduction in exercise time and think of new ways of replacing that exercise time. Have you space at home to work out, maybe get into the garden and also get some fresh air. At very least, open a window and get some fresh air as often as you can.

Looking after our mental health is equally important. Keep in contact with friends and family, find ways of connecting with your team-mates or your line manager.

#6 Be Transparent and Keep an Open Dialogue

Keep close contact with your line manager. This is not about ‘micro-management’, it’s about keeping your manager up-to-date, which in turn will help them understand any challenges you may have and if you need any support.

Make sure you have clear objectives and fully understand your manager’s expectations whilst you are working remotely at home. If you find yourself overwhelmed with work or your ‘to-do list’ is running low – speak to your line manager. In the long run, it’s better to let them know early rather than they discover it later.

#7 Managing New Technology and Systems

If you have any IT or AV issues, please inform the IT helpdesk or AV team as early as possible. Both teams will be extremely busy at the moment, however, they will help as soon as they can. Its also best if you let your line manager know so they may adjust your workload if necessary.


For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to People Management Skills and our People Management Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more People Management Skills Tips and  HR Management Tips.

Lee McDonald

About Lee McDonald

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