Remote Work Tips | Cosmic Centaurs

Remote Work Tips

Check out our remote work tips and tricks.

Zoom Chat

A friend recently started a new job, and in the absence of serendipitous ways of meeting colleagues, he has a zoom conversation running at all times, and has shared the link with his colleagues who can pop in and have a chat at any time.

Team Lunch On Zoom

If you live alone, it can start to feel like your life has become one big blob of working from your couch and eating out of boxes. Schedule a lunch zoom with a colleague or your team. Eating with others helps beat the loneliness and brings joy back into what should be a happy moment.

Get Creative!

Zoom has a functionality that allows you to change the background behind you during a video call. It might sound silly but it's a fun way to bring a little bit of humor to your calls (and hide the mess behind you), especially with colleagues that you are friendly with. Here's a picture of me in outer space.

Timing is Everything

Timezones are real. It can be a little tricky to remember what time it is in Montreal when we can barely remember what day of the week it is, but now more than ever empathy is key. If you work with people halfway around the globe, don't forget to account for their preferences. Ask them if they are morning people or night owls. Ask them if they prefer voice only calls or video. Also daylight savings just kicked in in some parts of the world, so don't forget to account for that too. 

Making Introductions

If one of your kids or your pet makes an appearance during your video call, you can use that as an excuse to introduce them to your colleagues. It's an opportunity for your kids to meet your colleagues and a way for your colleagues to see you as more than the version of you you bring to work.

Beyond the Work

Now that you've mastered zoom use it to connect with loved ones. We celebrated two of our nephews' birthdays this week, and even taught grandma and grandpa how to use zoom.

Create A Playlist

Dedicate one or two playlists that you only listen to while you're working. Eventually playing them will signal to your brain that it's time to focus. Playing something else will signal that your work day has ended. I have been listening to the same playlist every time I study or work since 2016. I listened to it when I was studying for the GMAT, throughout INSEAD, and every time I needed to focus for more than 15 minutes in the last 4 years. Here is the link to the playlist on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2W9hIp6

Your Workspace

Separate your workspace from your rest and play areas, no matter how small your space is. A friend of mine used different sides of her bed to create a separation between her work and play time. My husband and I bought a small IKEA desk and added it to our bedroom, leaving the living room and dining room free for other activities.

Setting Boundaries

In defining your workspace, think of time boundaries and not just physical ones. Specify when your workspace becomes active, and when it's time to call it a day. If you live with others, let them know what your time boundaries are so that they can respect and help you enforce them.  

Respecting Space

If you are living with others, and you want to communicate something to them, send them a WhatsApp or a message instead of barging in. Remember how difficult and time consuming it will be for them to re-focus on what they were doing if they were interrupted.

Decorate

Personalize your home workspace like you would in a new job. Add a plant, a frame with a picture you like, a small sculpture, your favorite candy or a toy. Investing in the workspace will make it feel more precious. You don't have to buy any of these things. You can bring them over from other rooms, or shelves in your home

Teamwork

Now more than ever highly functional teams are the real assets of organizations. Whether you're a team member or a team lead, you need to develop and strengthen the tools and processes the team needs to operate.

Establish Rituals

After a few weeks of remote work it may start to feel like you are out of sync with the rest of your team. A good way to sync is to make sure you all start the day at the same time, with a common #ritual. One company I know has asked all of its employees to join a team based meeting every morning at 9 AM, with their camera on. While this might sound a little drastic it ensures that everyone is dressed and ready at the start of the day.

Clarify the Rules

At the beginning of a virtual meeting, it's a good idea for the moderator / initiator of the meeting to clarify the housekeeping rules. For example do we want everyone to wait until the end of the presentation before commenting? Are people encouraged to use the Chat functionality? Have the mics / videos of attendees been disabled on purpose?

Check-in with Others

Be curious about what other people are experiencing and learning during this crisis. Pick up the phone or have zoom calls with old colleagues, friends, people who are not in the same industry or country as you and just listen to their stories. There is so much to learn from how differently we all deal with this crisis.

Use Connectivity Tools

There are a variety of s tools that can help foster greater team cohesion. Donut connects to your slack channel and analyses the interactions of your team members. If two people haven't spoken in a while it suggests a meeting  or virtual call, from casual coffees to 1:1s with the CEO, by sending an invite to both team members. It also helps connect people from different teams and departments, and if like most of us, your team now works from home it's also a great way to fight isolation.

Virtual Post-It Notes

Pinup is a simple and efficient online "post-it" board. It allows you to design a board, prepare a different instance of it for each team member to work on individually, and then copy their "post-its" onto a main board when they're ready. It is a simple, easy to use alternative to in-person post it sessions. 

Insights

We have developed resources & insights to support individuals, teams and companies in understanding, analysing and improving their remote work processes. 

Ritual Bank

Rituals are any activities or habits your team employs to foster culture, collaboration and connectivity. Click through to see our favourite rituals developed by Cosmic Centaurs and our community.  

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