A recent study on remote working done by the American Psychological Association showed that when done right, the arrangement can lead to a host of benefits including better talent retention and improved work-life balance.
At Circles.Life, we have a Work From Anywhere leave policy that allows employees to literally work from anywhere in the world. As we scaled up — hypergrowth style — into 6 offices worldwide, we realised we could not continue sticking to tried and tested work arrangements. There was a business need to be flexible in order to adapt to a burgeoning workforce.
Why should we talk about remote work now?
As Singapore companies activate their business continuity plans in wake of the COVID-19 situation and the Ministry of Health’s Dorscon Orange alert, there is no better time than now to dive into the ways we can make remote work work for us.
Brian Mok, our Executive Talent Lead, shares five pointers for maximizing efficiency when working from home (or anywhere, really).
1. Set overarching goal(s) and then break it down into bite-sized tasks
- Set goals. At Circles.Life, we set individual objectives and key results (OKRs) that are communicated transparently across the organization.
- Monitor and track your progress. Again, OKRs come in handy here — there are measurable metrics attached that define what “success” looks like in the short, medium and long term.
- When situations like the coronavirus call for working from home temporarily, break up your successes into smaller, manageable tasks to be more focused and outcome-oriented.
- Stay disciplined and keep yourself from being distracted at home (more on that below).
- Keep relevant stakeholders informed or engaged. Perhaps even consider various levels of communication, depending on where they sit on your stakeholder map.
- Make sure to highlight both wins and challenges. Being transparent is the key here, so advocate progress on projects which you have led, but also challenges or milestones you may not be hitting. This gives people plenty of time to react or support where needed.
- Use the appropriate means of communication — emails may not always be best, so set the expectation upfront. Take advantage of the many free communications tools available. In our company, Slack, Hangouts or Zoom are easy alternatives for virtual meetings.
3. Creating the best environment for yourself to stay disciplined
- Invest in noise-canceling headphones if that’s what you need.
- Designate a different workspace to separate work from home.
- Achieve short bursts of deep work and take regular breaks to clear your head before you tackle the next task.
4. Know when to work, or disconnect and relax
- It’s not about the hours that you put in, but the output that you’re creating.
- If you’re slowing down, just be honest and stop to take a break.
Working from home doesn’t mean you should always be working when you’re at home.
5. Trust others
- Trust that people are doing their jobs. A lot of it boils down to trust; employers and peers must have the mutual respect required for this to work.
- Don’t micromanage, clock-watch, or question others.
- Be mindful of the tone of your communication, and how that can be interpreted. Sometimes, computer-mediated communication can be misread or taken out of context.