Woman working on a computer

Working at home is a big change for many of us in 2020! The Focus Forward team has always been a hybrid of in-office and virtual work. Still, many of us worked from the office most or all of the time. Now, we have been working remotely for a really long time, and we know it will be a year or longer until we are all together again. From this shared experience, we gained…well…experience! Our team got together and came up with the top 5 things that we do to make sure our home offices are as productive as the regular office.

1. DRESS FOR SUCCESS

Sounds like a little thing, but it can make all the difference to put you in the right mindset for work. You don’t have to get dressed up, per se, but get out of the pajamas and into something else. Clothing is a line between work and home and clothes suitable for Zoom help you feel confident in your work. So get up, take a shower, change your clothes and grab that cup of coffee from Café Kitchen to get your day started.

2. FIND YOUR HAPPY SPACE

We asked our team members how they picked their place to work, and we received this great feedback: “For me, it was about picking the ideal spot in my home to work and sticking to it. Lucky for me, I am at home working by myself; there is no one else here except for my pups and me. I picked the dining room because of the amount of space and the good natural lighting, plus the ease of access to the kitchen…. 😊 But each night as I wrap up, I shut everything down and store it away, fully clear the space, and make sure it is clean and fresh for my start in the morning. I can’t have any clutter or mess from the day before hanging around. This is super important!”
Where you work means a lot – just like the right office environment, funky or traditional – was key when you picked what firm you joined, pick the place in your own home that reflects you.

3. CLEAR SPACE, IN YOUR HEAD. MAKE LISTS.

More than one team member here said that lists are key, and I agree. Lists help to stay on task, checking things off as they are complete, or just a general reminder of needing to get something done, which also goes hand in hand with setting alarms and reminders on a phone. One team member has at least 5 -10 alarms go off during her work day. She shares, “Setting periodic alarms helps me stay focused, on task, and reminds me I need to take a break….walk away, make some coffee, grab a bite to eat, or take the dogs out, etc. It may seem silly, but there are days where this really comes in handy when I become super focused and absorbed in my work.” Several others mentioned that they use task specific technology, like a fitness app to remind them to get up and stretch or get those steps in.

4. EMBRACE VIDEO CALLS

Get on the Zoom call with your team, and chat out an issue or question. It’s a lot easier than sending 10 messages, which can be prone to misunderstanding. There’s more than just sending a message- teleconferences add another sensory element to your conversations. On the flip, be available to others through various types of communication: text, Slack, phone call, Face Time, Zoom, etc. “Over communicate” came up again and again from our team members!

5. NURTURE THE VIRTUAL TEAM

Make sure everyone on the team feels involved in important events and projects by keeping them informed about how the company is doing. Deliberately plan interaction where colleagues can stay in touch, and use creative activities to promote fun! At Focus Forward, everyone looks forward to our weekly “huddles” to review the week’s challenges and successes. We also shout out the birthdays and anniversaries, have prize drawings for team members who went above and beyond, and every week there is a new company-wide contest for everyone to participate. All this really helps the team stay connected and feel part of the big picture.

Just as Focus Forward has adapted and embraced rapid changes in technology over the last 17 years, we’ve seamlessly transitioned to an all-remote team as the best way to keep our staff and their family safe during this global crisis. We’re still here working, 7 days a week! Our virtual doors are open for your project: nationwide recruiting, transcription, incentive processing, product tests, translation or open end coding. Reach out to our team anytime!

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