As the world collectively deals with the challenges and disruption posed by COVID-19, I wanted to share recommendations based on my experience of transitioning to 100 percent remote work.

Working in Toronto, I moved into a 100 percent remote working model as of March 6 and advised the project team I manage and supervise to do the same. In the consulting industry, remote work is an accepted norm with most of my colleagues and peers seamlessly transitioning to 100 percent remote work. Capco provides the tools, mechanisms, and support structure to enable this transition. But in many organizations, including Capco, some business functions require a physical presence or don’t have the necessary tools to allow a smooth transition. 

How do we maintain the expected levels of productivity, motivation, and connection while preventing burn-out and managing our mental stress? As new(ish) remote employees, how do we maintain a balance between work and family, a factor that is crucial for mental health?    

As I enter week six of this remote work model, below, I share ten of my recommendations for success:

1. Though a 9-5 schedule might no longer be feasible, you should still have a start and end time for your work, as one does when they leave and return from the ‘office.’ 

2. Schedule your required lunch and coffee breaks -- block it off in your calendar 

3. Create a mailbox for your project team, direct reports or whatever combination is appropriate and use it for scheduling time off, notifications and keeping in touch

4. Move your daily/weekly team meeting to a virtual meeting and make sure to encourage people to join with their cameras on. Make sure you tell your team in advance of this change. 

5. Use the collaboration and sharing tools available in your organization. My team has increased their use and have discovered new productivity-enhancing features 

6. Schedule time for physical activity, whether it is in your backyard or practicing yoga in your living room 

7. As we move from in-person communication to virtual communication, remember you’re talking and interacting with your work colleagues who you will see at some point in the near the future 

8. Maintain the balance between professionalism and openness in your communication, conversations and attitude 

9. Keep the productivity hacks and best practices you had before COVID-19 that made you a successful and fulfilled employee

10. Have guest appearances of your kids, spouses, and pets in your video and voice meetings, we are all humans with families and dealing with this together. 

Next time I will share my observations and insights from when the transition is difficult, smart solutions that clients have implemented, and what the ‘new’ normal holds for culture, experience, and productivity.