By now, the newness and novelty of working from home have probably worn off; if you’re an extrovert, you’re longing for human interaction (if you’re an introvert, your cat is probably serving just fine). You’ve likely discovered that your Keurig can’t possibly keep up with your caffeine needs and that it’s a lot harder to drink sixty-four ounces of water in a day than you thought it would be. Finding it hard to stay on-task? You’re not alone; we’re all feeling the struggle to stay productive.
You’re Still a Part of a Team
One of the most important things to remember during quarantine and isolation is that we are all still a team: you and your coworkers form a team for the business you are employed by, and all of us as citizens are a team, protecting those who are more vulnerable than us by staying home. Though you may not be sitting next to your cubicle buddy at the office, you and your team members are still one unit working towards a common goal. Even though it’s a little more difficult to stay connected, it can still be done.
Form a Group Chat
If your job offers a chat service to employees like Skype or another messaging service, create a group chat that includes each team member. Send daily messages, ask everyone how much coffee they’ve had, what they’re doing this weekend, and remind everyone to take stretch breaks! Perhaps one of your team members can post a daily riddle or meme.
There’s no hard and fast rule that states you can’t have meetings more often, but weekly is sufficient for most teams working remotely. Discuss anything and everything at meetings; part of keeping in touch also involves catching up just like you would at the office. Inquire about everyone’s family, tell funny stories, but also discuss work-related things during your meeting time. Something like video conferencing is best, but expect some co-workers to want to stay off-camera (some of us are slacking in the hair department).
Since it’s not as easy to get a hold of a co-worker right now, make sure to leave detailed notes on any cases you work on. Make sure you’re available for questions on any difficult call you fielded or procedure you followed; this will make it easy for issues to be resolved within a timely fashion.
Use Your Tools
While group and individual messaging are easy and quick, it can be nice to receive a phone call from your co-workers instead. If you have a question, call them through your VOIP and ask your question directly; this is usually much quicker than text messaging back and forth with a co-worker. If you’re both feeling brave, video chat is a great option, too; make sure to check with the person before asking for a face-to-face, though!
Luckily for employees around the world, we live in an age of advanced communications technology. The same technology that allows us all to maintain our jobs at home can also be used to stay connected with our co-workers so that we still feel like part of a team. Human connection is more important than ever right now (for you, too, introverts!) and we just have to be a little bit more creative in how we approach teamwork.