A remote employee CEO’s top five tips for working from home

Working From Home

Millions of workers from around the world are working from home for the first time in their lives due to the onslaught of the coronavirus COVID-19. The acronym WFH is now in regular use.

If you have never had to be working from home before, you may find it a little disorientating. Major companies, such as Oracle, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are doing it due to the coronavirus. There’s no bus or train to catch, no need to get up so early.

Eugenio Pace, CEO of identity platform Auth0, has more than half of its 600-strong team working remotely which has been a focus since Auth0’s inception seven years ago.

When Auth0 started in 2013, its founders lived 11,000km apart in Seattle, US, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Related: How to boost your immunity to fight off coronavirus

Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace’s top five tips for remote working

  • Remote work requires trust and a philosophy of work based on results and not on ‘chair time’. To build trust, the most effective tool is communication. Leadership communications should be frequent, covering strategy, objectives, organisational learning, etc. For team members, take the simple steps such as saying ‘hello’ to your team when you start your day, sharing what you will be working on, and sending a summary of what you did that day. Trust is built from the bottom up and from the top down and multidirectional communication is critical.
  • Dress as if you’re headed to the office since you’ll probably be on a video conference and be your professional self. Send a co-worker a message about something that you’d usually bring up in the kitchen or the corridor. Use common sense and don’t send an amusing meme during a meeting or when you know your team members are facing an important deadline.
  • Avoid long conference calls. With limited human interaction it can be hard to maintain engagement or gauge people’s reactions, and when we’re all trying to boost morale, this can be a hindrance.
  • Create virtual spaces that facilitate idea exchanges, bonding and socialisation. Big tip – if you use Slack as your messaging tool, we use an opt-in integration with Donut which randomly matches employees for virtual coffee dates. This is brilliant for social de-stressing, facilitating cross-departmental relationships and minimising loneliness.
  • Encourage flexibility. Structure is important for productivity, whether you consider yourself ‘organised’ or not. But everyone’s version of structure is different, and we need to be mindful of the added pressures facing us right now. Encourage your team to devise their own schedules, so they can complete their work when feeling most productive and in the best frame of mind.
  • Don’t discount security: one thing that businesses rarely consider when setting up remote networking is the access third-party providers have to their data. Not only is your data being shared over foreign networks, but it’s opening up a new route into your network too. Assess the authentication of your remote access system. Multi-factor authentication should be the minimum standard for your business anyway, but doubly so for remote access.

There also is consistent advice from work from home employees and freelancers on ensuring you have exercise before you begin working from home.

Matthew Knight, founder of Leapers, a group that supports self-employed people and freelancers, told BBC News that getting outside first thing helps him feel like it’s time to work.

“There’s a mental angle for each individual that makes you feel like you’re working,” he said. “I will leave the house and walk around the block and feel like right now I am at work. Find ways of putting in those boundaries otherwise it becomes difficult to switch off.”

Similarly it is important you switch off when your working from home shift is over.

“There is always the temptation to continue to work beyond my standard work hours,” Greg Schmierer, a financial planning and analysis manager from Rocklin, California, told MindTools

“So, with the help of my wife, in order to get out of work mode, I turn off all of my work devices and put them in my shoulder bag as if I was going into the office.

“This ‘cleans’ my desk of any possible work distractions. This way, I’m not tempted to leave my laptop or phone turned on.”

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