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Tips for Working and Collaborating From Home

Posted by Marilyn Cameron

We’re all in this together! As we all get used to working from home, we surveyed the Overlap team for their ideas of how to make the most out of it and set up energizing space to work. 

Claim your space


When possible, try to set up a dedicated workspace that is free from distractions and located outside of the higher-traffic living areas in your home. Equip that space with all the essentials you need to be as productive as possible such as stationary, files, and helpful tools and resources. This will streamline your efficiency as your workspace will be ready and waiting for you at the start of each day. Try to make the space as comfortable as possible so you can enjoy flowing through your workday from home.

A home office set up, with post-it notes.

Here are a few ways Overlappers are creating a workspace at home:

  • Bringing office furniture home for extra comfort
  • Increasing internet bandwidth or using a wired internet connection
  • Incorporating items that bring joy such as plants, candles, lamps, and photos
  • Setting up a workspace in a place with the best view
  • Organizing space to allow for a variation of working positions during the day, including sitting on the ground with cushions, mats or yoga blocks, squatting, and standing
  • Turning on a light when working and turning it off for breaks and at the end of the day
  • Tidying up the workspace at the end of each day to keep it free from clutter

Find a routine

Whether you want to try some new things or maintain usual habits, it’s helpful to set up a consistent routine. You may want to think about how you will establish boundaries and prioritize non-work related tasks that are bound to pop up during the day. What do you need to address right away? What can wait until after your work day? And don’t forget to take breaks as you normally would—go for a walk with the dog or take a stroll around the park, stretch, or reach out and have a video chat with someone!

Here are a few ways Overlappers are setting routines:

IMG_20200318_121438
  • Continuing with the regular non-remote morning routine
  • Saying goodbye to a partner or kids before walking to your new “office” (up the stairs or down the hallway)
  • Shutting the door when working heads down
  • Using a timer to create focused times and reminders of break times

Over-communicate

Prioritize over-communicating with your colleagues. Let others know what you are working on and how to get a hold of you. Update them on your progress and results of meetings/discussions to ensure timely sharing of information. Share your successes! Remember that jokes and social time are also an important part of maintaining connections and alignment across your team.

The following are a few tips from Overlappers:

  • Ask people how they're doing and give people the opportunity to share
  • Use video chat or phone calls as much as possible
  • Tell colleagues how they can best reach you and update your status regularly
  • Assume people don’t have all the information they normally would in front of them and provide more detail than usual
  • Consider “watercooler” video chats and social check-ins with coworkers just as you would at the office
  • Treating it like an amazing development opportunity. We’re trying some new technology, communication methods, and productivity techniques
  • Recognizing that it is going to feel a little awkward and then laugh about it!
  • Remembering that levity can help build connection and team relationships when done with respect and presence

Have fun with it

Take advantage of the new perks of working from home—sit by a window, listen to your favourite music, prepare your favourite lunch from the comfort of your kitchen!

As shared by an Overlapper:

I'm channeling my "Rear Window" vibes and taking more interest in watching the outside world from the window by my desk. Seeing an individual walking by, watching a squirrel or a bird, cars—it's a helpful reminder that others are navigating the same thing I am—and that some things, like weather, sunshine, and spring are not on hold. I'm excited to watch the slow emergence of greenery over the next few months in a way that I haven't been able to in many years.

How we’re making the most of the situation:

  • Treating it like an amazing development opportunity. We’re trying some new technology, communication methods, and productivity techniques
  • Recognizing that it is going to feel a little awkward, and then laughing about it!
  • Remembering that levity can help build connection and team relationships when done with respect and presence

What are your tips?

Share your tips with us on Twitter by tagging @overlapassoc. We'll compile them for a future post, and update you on how our team is doing. 

Tags: Culture, Remote Working