Capital EA’s Tips on how to work from home and be successful at it!

What does my new online framework really look like?

  • Being online and visible are two very different things, as you’ve probably already discovered, there’s generally more ease with being online than there is on how to be visible and this is the very key to how successful you are in working remotely.
  • What does this mean for you, I’ll start by listing ‘What Not To Do’, to try to make this as simple as possible, but I’d then love you to come back to me via our webinar or our social media channels, on ‘What To Do’ to make this work.
    • Don’t remain silent, no contact is bad contact;
    • Don’t wait to be tasked, get ahead of the diary and start tasking you and your manager;
    • Don’t spam your manager with 50 emails with all sorts of questions, they are never going to be able to answer, instead list your questions and have them ready for a daily or weekly phone catch-up;
    • Don’t expect others to come up with new ideas on developing relationships, engaging in different way or even business development. You probably have a few ideas already, but haven’t spoken up about them, now’s a good time to make suggestions.
    • Don’t wait for IT issues to be resolved for you, try to fix them yourself, google an error or YouTube a question, you’ll be surprised at what you will find and what you’re capable of actually fixing yourself!
    • Don’t sit on an urgent task because you haven’t heard back from your manager. It is highly likely you’ve got this right, but sometimes you have to make mistakes to grow, so push on and get it done (9/10 you would’ve made the right decision – it’s the negative self-talk that has us sitting on a wall)
    • Don’t assume or presume anything when it comes to the diary, we have learnt over the years that sending a reminder or follow-up, is crucial to ensuring the day runs as smooth as expected, and if something needs to reschedule, we know ahead of time rather than skating around last minute, wasting time.
    • Don’t take your seating and remote desk situation lightly, get set-up the correct way, follow the guides such as this and get it right!
  • Contact lists! Don’t forget to pack the contact list (even if it is online) have your own critical contacts ready to go in hard and soft copy. You can also utilise this for some of the mobile apps you’ll connect with to stay in touch with your peers, network and stakeholders.
  • There’s been a bunch of blogs developed all about working remotely that have all the tips on staying active whilst at home , working at home with kids and setting up your home office sanctuary these have been the ones I have enjoyed.

What am I going to use to connect online and what if it fails?

  • The internet connection can sometimes be tricky, especially when many of us are now working remotely and connecting to our local towers. Investing in a back-up such as the Netgear Wireless dongle with Telstra is a safe haven, we have in fact had to connect on a few occasions this week, due the lag on our current IINet service.
  • Are you connecting via Citrix desktop or an individualised configured unit? Either way, you’re going to need to be ready to adjust when you don’t have access to the inbox and/or diary. Ensure you screenshot the diary each morning or as soon as you log-in and keep it on your desktop ready, keep contact details in a separate notepad as you may not be able to access the inbox either at times.
  • Whether you’re using a laptop or desktop unit, take advantage of using two screens by simply connecting your laptop to a monitor via HDMI cable, this allows you to continue to work with as little interruption to your normal office environment – and who doesn’t love their calendar view on the right hand screen??!
  • Lastly, don’t underestimate good OH&S practices, the position of your screen, seating and desk needs to be right, as you’ll end up with a bad neck, aching arms and pain in your butt in about one week if you don’t pay attention to getting this right – see link above!

How am I going to demonstrate accountability?

  • There are many tools on the market now to help you track your movements and that you can easily demonstrate for both you and your manager – trust me when I say that you will be surprised with how much more productive you are when working from home!
  • The key to working well and being productive is having the ability to do one task at a time, and I mean one task to its completion! So why not try to achieve as much as you can by setting your own time limits, block the time in your own diary and complete the task exactly in this time.
  • You could also use a tracking tool and/or apps such as Hours Keeper, Worktime tracker, 24H-Hours Tracker…which include a description on what you’re doing which can be used as a wrap up in your weekly updates.
  • If you have trouble staying focused, there are a number of apps also on the market that help, I like to use one in particular called Brain.FM, you can lock in some Focus time under categories such as deep work, creative, study and read and light work, the way it works is via strong neural phase locking, allowing populations of neurons to engage in various kinds of coordinated activity and technology to remove distraction in sound.
  • At the end of each week, I suggest you provide a wrap up to your Manager providing highlights and ongoing work to help them understand what is being handled and what may be missing. Don’t assume they will automatically know.

What’s the best way to get answers from my manager?

  • This can be difficult at times, as you need to be very careful, you’re not crossing the boundary and becoming a texting, calling, emailing, nagging nuisance! (to put it blunt)
  • Make sure you establish a few processes up front, such as I will only call you if it is super urgent and need your attention on something.
  • Make a point to connect daily at the start of your remote working, at a regular time, but make sure you’re ready and have your questions/queries written down.
  • You will find a new understanding of what your boss likes and dislikes in this new world we’re living, take note of these new boundaries, because we’re working in a heightened level of stress, it’s important to be ready to change things up very quickly.
  • Set-up a project using Microsoft Planner and keep things neat by communicating in this platform on all the related tasks per project.

Are there any online phone apps that could help me?

Yes, tonnes of them, and they all help in different ways!

  • Connecting with your team using one particular way may not always be possible! So try out things that may be easier ‘off the grid’ by using your mobile phone.
  • WhatsApp, yes the obvious one, but it is great to quickly connect and make a point of gathering your network as a group, so that you can all check-in on one another and ask any questions, give advice and keep an eye on anyone that may be struggling in this new environment.
  • Skype, Zoom and Facetime for those on iphones, it’s much nicer seeing someone’s face where possible, particularly in the start-up stage, when the social cues are all but gone and if you are a visual ‘reader’ of people!
  • Scannable for scanning documents that might need approval by you or your manager, can easily be returned via email
  • LastPass for all your passwords, as there are bound to be many new ones especially if you’ll be signing up for a bunch of new technology!
  • Asana is a great productivity tool to keep particular projects on track and allows you to invite others to view where things are up to (another good accountability tool to do your own personal to-do list that can integrate with your phone calendar too!)
  • Dictionary app, ahh I looove Thesaurus and would use this daily, if I’m being completely honest J It helps me construct professional emails, and as I always have difficulty finding the right word, I pop it into Thesaurus and Voila found the right word right away!
  • Brain.FM as mentioned above, for Focus, Relax, Sleep and Meditation, it has it all and it is brilliant – trust me on this!!
  • and apps like Officeworks are a great reference tool if needing to find a contact or stationary item in a hurry! Also, don’t forget about the yellow and white pages app.
  • Drive, One-Drive, Dropbox are all great if you end up being on the go and need to ensure you can email something easily from your phone if needed – take note the security and safety of these system can be compromised, unless professional versions are purchased.
  • Planner via the Microsoft Teams platform is our go to when arranging all our assignments on the go, it also provides a separate chat platform for keeping all the emails and project discussions in one place. This means it frees up your inbox for things not related specifically to a task and also means you can spend the time focussing on one project at a time.
  • Last but not least, our mental health needs to remain intact! Thankfully we have wonderful apps that are free too that can help us to unwind, de-stress and lower our blood pressure after a busy day!
  • If you haven’t already, then please give these a whirl, Calm, Headspace, MindU, Breathe and Bloom.

If you’re interested in learning more about working remotely and being successful at it, then please register for our Webinar being hosted next week! Link provided here for further information.

Capital EA Webinar Series: How to work from home and be successful at it!


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