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Telework Best Practices

Guest employer NetImpact Strategies shares their tips for successful management of work, mental, and physical health when teleworking. With the pandemic, many companies have shifted to a virtual work environment with staff working from home. For students who may be transitioning to full-time work after graduation, this means a new set of challenges and complexities as they are already acclimating themselves to new experiences with work.

How do you stay motivated and accountable when you’re working remotely? How do you separate your work duties from other responsibilities at home? How do you continue to feel connected and part of a team when working alone? Here are some tips and best practices for working remotely.

Tip #1: Schedule Free Time

Calendar management is a key skill in guiding your work day to ensure a balance of timely communication of information with others, dedicated collaboration sessions, and even working or focus time. Particularly in a pandemic and post-pandemic world, when “water cooler” and “cubicle driveby” conversations are no longer available, phone calls and meetings tend to dominate the workday. It's easy to get stuck on back-to-back phone calls and virtual meetings and a lack of management in calendar hygiene means overflow of meetings into what time that may be need to produce work products. Be sure to schedule free time on your calendar, just like an appointment, to allot time to work on projects and tasks. This will give you downtime in between meetings to actually get work done.

Tip #2: Design Work Life Balance

Have you noticed it's 5:00 pm and you’ve been glued to your computer all day? Without a clear “entry” and “exit” into your workspace and no social activity buzzing around you to remind you of lunches, happy hours, and other indicators, it’s easy to lose track of time. Try to take breaks to stretch, eat, walk around, and decompress your brain for a few minutes throughout your day. Make the most of your lunch break to get fresh air and physically step away from your working space. Have a clear work schedule that allows you to end your day at a specific time. Setting up a designated work space, such as a home office or specific desk area, is a great way to enforce a “change of scenery” and separate work from your other living areas. This will ensure you’re able to “step into” your professional mindset (even while wearing fuzzy pajamas) while at work, but also able to mentally disconnect in an environment intended to be your home. Proactive planning for family time, free time, and non-work activities outside of your working hours will help you set a work-life balance. A healthy work-life balance will improve your personal relationships as well as your productivity at work.

Tip #3: Keep in Contact

With teams dispersed, it may be difficult to communicate time sensitive information in a timely way. As things change on a day-to-day basis, it may become difficult to keep up with evolving work needs without oversaturation of communications. A daily 15 minute round up via phone can help keep you engaged with your co-workers or managers. It’s a great opportunity to communicate roadblocks so your team can step in or anticipate what “unscheduled” or “unexpected” tasks may be headed your way based on the progress your team is making. You also may find it helpful to use tools like Zoom, Google Chat, or Slack to connect with video calls or messages. This will allow you to ask questions and creates a sense of connection and accountability on your team without the formality of meetings and emails. You can also make an effort to get to know your teammates both personally and professionally by using the time to socialize about non-work topics to establish remote rapport, which will build mutual empathy and elevate the overall communication quality.

Tip #4: Video Etiquette is Key

Find a neutral and quiet place to sit when participating in video calls. Keep the space clutter-free, well lit, and professionally organized - not only will this help you present well, but manage your own attention. Invest in strong audios (e.g.: microphone) to decrease noise for clear communication. Try to minimize distractions and be sure there is nothing inappropriate in the background when you are on camera. Avoid using your phone and keep strong eye contact with those you are meeting with. Video etiquette is important in establishing your professional image, credibility, and your colleagues’ perception of you will shape their receptiveness to your communication.

Tip #5: Follow the 5-7 Minute Factor

Call into teleconferences 5-7 minutes ahead of the start time whenever you can. This will help overcome any latency issues, ensure meetings start on time, and allow yourself a moment to prepare for an effective meeting. It also provides buffer time should you face any connection issues or necessary system updates at the start of a meeting. At the end of the meeting, take 5 minutes to assess whether the intended objectives were achieved before concluding the session to maximize outcomes. Consistency in this practice will also guide you to keep meetings ending on time and on topic.

Bonus Tip: Mental Health

Set a physical boundary for your workspace to disconnect and increase your self care activities in a space separate from work. Sometimes you need to literally “walk away” to detach and reinvest in your mental health.

Learn more about NetImpact

NetImpact has been a Trusted Advisor driving impact through digital transformation for the Federal Government for over a decade. NetImpact partners with customer agencies to deliver solutions that empower them to not only meet their missions but also realize their strategic vision and achieve impactful and lasting value through our comprehensive Digital Transformation 360°™ (DX360°™) capabilities. Learn more about our commitment to digital disruption, innovation, low-code/no-code, and the military community through their internship program.

NetImpact is a one-of-a-kind summer internship opportunity from June 13, 2022- August 12, 2022! While the Headquarters office is located in Falls Church, VA, the internship will be remote. Positions include two industry recognized certification classes for information technology service management, and a choice of a cloud-based certification class or agile certification class. The successful candidate will be supporting a direct client facing program delivery team or an operational department such as contracts, business development, or marketing. This opportunity is for candidates who are rising seniors, graduating in Winter 2022 or Spring 2023, and possess a minimum GPA of 3.0. Positions span multiple fields and areas of study.

We are seeking candidates that have the ability to excel in a remote environment while engaging with the Team. Technical background and skills are required for technical intern roles. Knowing one programming language is a plus, but not a requirement. Good knowledge of Microsoft Suite is expected for all candidates.

Check out Lehigh Handshake for full details on the position description, submit your resume, and to connect with our awesome Recruiting Team

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