Sunday 15 March 2020

Tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak

working from home remotely corona virus covid19

Working from home is hard for most people. Distractions include food, Coronavirus news, social media, flat mates, family. To help a little bit I put together this guide based on my 10+ years of working remotely around the world.

1. Set overall objectives for the week
Agree the goals with your manager with measurable objectives so that you know if you’ve been successful at the end of the week.

2. Plan the entire week on Monday morning including taks, scheduled meetings, email and breaks
This is one of the efficient ways to make sure you are in control of your time and plan ahead. I use Evernote to make an hour by hour schedule from Monday to Sunday but the tool doesn’t matter as long as it works for you. Take breaks every 2 hours away from the screen.

Every morning during the week I review my plan again and make adjustments as priorities change.

3. Buffer time
Things change. A colleague needs help, an urgent email, phone call, new tasks from a meeting. Set aside at least 1 hour per day as buffer time. Some people need two.

4. Set an alarm and give yourself rewards 
If you have a task that needs to be completed in 45 min then set the alarm countdown for 45 min. Work focused without distractions (turn off all notifications).
Give yourself a reward when you are done. For example 10 min of latest Coronovirus news.  Using the smartphone for the alarm also reminds you to not use it for other distractions.

5. Set aside time for catch up calls with colleagues
We are social beings and in the office this comes naturally. We drink coffee, tea, chat between desks and so on. This helps to motivate, sort things in the brain, etc.

Schedule your coffee break fo catch up with the team or a colleague over a video call for 10-15 min for example.

Still find it difficult? 
Need feedback on what works for you? Talk to your manager or colleague about it or feel free to reach out to me. We are better together!

Example of weekly objectives and plan

Here’s an example of a weekly plan for next week for my work at Tapp Water:

  • Finalise the technical update of the Water Quality Database by Wednesday and test with water quality reports by Thursday to ensure we can scale.
  • Start the design work for the Water Quality Database by Wednesday due to be finalised within a week thereafter.
  • Finalise Mexico Grant financial calculator with Gustavo by Tuesday 
  • Finalise 2019 Financial Report for external purposes with Gustavo by Tuesday
  • Launch the updated TAPP App on the Apple appstore and Google store by Thursday
  • Close distributor agreements with Poland, Kazakhstan and UK by Friday including at least one signed order.
  • Productive Friday investor call
Weekly plan

Create weekly plan (this one)

Meeting: Coronavirus contingency planning

Review latest updates of the Water Quality Database and give feedback to developers
10 min break for coffee / catch-up with Alex

Buffer for e-mail and other urgent tasks

Lunch + 15 min exercise

Send agreements for signature by UK and Poland

Prep for call with Gustavo on External Reporting, Mexico grant and Friday Investor call

15.00-15.30 All Team Weekly Meeting

Brief designer on the Water Quality Database Design

16.30-17.00 DV investor call

Buffer for e-mail and other urgent tasks

Review latest app update on iPhone and Android

Close computer!

...and so on for the rest of the week.

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