SurePoint Insights: Tip and Tricks to Working Remote
Aside from attorneys having on-site meetings with clients, most of the legal industry operates from a traditional office setting. Working side-by-side with your colleagues allows for daily collaboration, the ability to meet face-to-face and the socialization that comes with chatting over your morning coffee. Transitioning from working on-site at your law firm to calling your guestroom your “office” is quite an adjustment for most, but we’re here to help.
Our team has compiled a list of tips and tricks for working remote to help you stay organized and productive.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
Your working environment has done a 180 but chances are, your workflow hasn’t. Just like you have at the office, it’s important to have a dedicated work space at home.
- Structure helps: A dedicated work space will help you to feel a sense of structure and normalcy throughout your workday. Treat your at-home work space just as you would if you were in the office: uninterrupted, quiet and de-cluttered.
- Doors matter: Make sure your remote work space is either setup in a room with a door or is in an area of your home that doesn’t receive much foot traffic.
- Minimize distractions: Your work space should be in an area with very few distractions. It’s easy to become sidetracked by the TV or doing laundry, but it is important to save these distractions for when you take a break or shut down for the day.
- Brighten up your space: Create a space that provides you with motivation and energy. Surround yourself with natural lighting, photos of your family and friends, awards, plants, and anything else that may bring you a sense of calm throughout your day.
Stock Up on Supplies
Think about the supplies you use daily while working at your law firm. Now, stock up on those supplies! From notepads and file folders to a proper headset and a printer, it’s important that you have everything you need to perform your role at its full capacity.
Stick to a Routine
A daily routine will also help you to feel a sense of normalcy. As our VP of Sales Steve Crossman says, “Keep your head in the game!”
- Make a schedule: In addition to the meetings and phone calls that regularly appear on your calendar, it is important that you block off time for meals, breaks and dedicated “head-down” working time to knock out tasks and projects.
- Don’t forget to eat! It’s easy to get wrapped up in your work and the next thing you know, it’s 5 p.m. Follow your schedule and step away for meals. It is important that you stay hydrated and fuel your body with nutrients to maintain your health and focus.
- Maintain normal office hours: Avoid hitting snooze and beginning your workday whenever you feel like rolling out of bed. Wake up at the same time you would if you were going into the office.
- Get dressed: Working from home means never changing out of your pajamas, right? Wrong. Get up, take a shower and get dressed for the day – we promise you’ll feel more productive.
- Avoid checking email first thing in the morning: This is something we all struggle with. It’s instinctive to start checking and responding to emails as soon as you get to your desk in the morning. Instead, try reading an industry-related article or skim the news online. This will give you time to wake up and will stimulate your mind.
Our homes have now evolved into a co-working space. If you are living with others in your house, we suggest that everyone within the household post their schedules in a central location to help maintain structure and expectations. This is especially true if you have kids at home who are also using webinars for distance learning. It is also important that you make each other a priority. For example, take a 15-minute break to go check in with your new “co-working colleagues.” You could enjoy a cup of coffee or step outside to get some fresh air.
Structure and Prioritize Your Day
It’s no secret that structure and prioritization goes a long way, especially when it comes to working from home.
- “Eat that frog”: Knock out your most difficult tasks for the day first. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and prevent you from procrastinating.
- Set daily goals: Set daily goals and projects that you need to complete each day. If you are interrupted at home, it’s easy to go off course and delay the completion of tasks. It is important that you block time on your calendar to brainstorm and be creative.
Connect with Your Colleagues
Now more than ever it is crucial that you stay connected to your colleges. Whether it’s work-related or just to say hi, virtual collaboration can make or break your work-from-home experience.
- Check in with your team: Regardless of if you’re in a leadership position or serve as an individual contributor, you should never go a full day without connecting with your team. Managers should schedule daily huddles with their team to review projects and deadlines, potential challenges and solutions. Individual contributors should connect with colleagues to discuss shared projects and brainstorm for future assignments.
- Say “hello”: Connecting with a colleague doesn’t have to be work-related. Set up 30 minutes to have a virtual coffee with someone or catch up on life.
- Leverage chat tools such as Microsoft Teams or Slack: When you’re in the office, it’s easy to pop over to your co-worker’s desk to ask a quick question. Now, you can do the same thing remotely by utilizing an organizational chat tool that serves as an instant messaging platform.
Make the Most of Meetings and Collaboration
Distributed teams must make the most out of every meeting they have with supervisors and colleagues in order to drive productivity.
- Share calendars: To better coordinate schedules, consider sharing your calendar with your team to avoid overlapping meetings and other scheduling conflicts.
- Set and follow meeting agendas: The organizer of each meeting should set an agenda of topics to discuss ahead of time and share with all attendees prior to the meeting taking place. To be efficient and mindful of others’ time, the organizer should also keep the meeting on track and bring the focus of the team back to the topics at hand if the conversation strays from its initial purpose.
Get Up and Move!
As we discussed earlier, it’s easy to get sucked into work without realizing the amount of time that has passed. Make sure you’re getting up and moving throughout the day. Whether that means going for a quick walk or taking 10 minutes to stretch, stepping away from your desk and maintaining a level of physical activity will help to keep you healthy and refreshed.
Shut It Down
Being in the office makes it easy to differentiate between work life and home life; however, working from your home significantly blurs those lines. As a remote employee, it’s important to make a conscious effort to keep the two separated. If your normal workday traditionally ends at 5 p.m., shut down your computer at 5 p.m. after checking in with your supervisor and team. Unless you’re on a tight deadline for a high-priority project, avoid returning to your work space later in the evening and logging into your computer. Kick your feet up, spend time with your family and give yourself a chance to recharge.