If you work remotely, you understand that despite the inevitable comments about lounging in pajamas or catching up on your Netflix queue, you’re often far more productive ?than you would be in the office. That said, remote work comes with its own set of potential traps that can thwart your productivity, or even damage your reputation. Read on for some of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen, and some ideas on how to make sure they don’t happen to you.
Mistake #1 – No one is minding the store.
Your team met on Monday. You shared status updates and reviewed the week?s priorities. But then a project deadline pops up and no one is sure if any progress was made or whose job it was to make it. Was anyone taking notes? Did you know what the action items were? When you’re working remotely, it’s that much more important to get out in front of priorities and ownership, because you may not communicate with those teammates for a day or more.
Quick fix: Assign one person the task of taking notes at each meeting and sending out a recap. That way, no one is left scratching their head on what was discussed and what the next action steps are.
Mistake #2 – Unwelcome surprises — caught on video.
Birthday surprises are fun, but surprise video calls, or video call gaffes? Not so much. We’ve all seen it: a video call starts and a remote worker is caught by surprise with wild hair and a pet lounging across the desk. A sudden doorbell ring exposes business on the top, pajamas on the bottom? attire.
Quick fix: A little preparation can help you avoid these unfortunate situations. For starters, it’s a good idea to keep your face and hair camera ready anytime you work from home. But if you’re unwilling to part with your unshaven look or messy ponytail, remember to take a minute to confirm whether any meeting will be on video. If so, shut your door, move the dog, let anyone who lives with you know you’ll be on a call, then take a few minutes to get ready.
Mistake #3 – Speakerphone.
Enough said. Ever have that conference call with a speakerphone devotee who tries to contribute, but all you can really make out are a few words among the muffled jumble of noise? Or, how about a call with people in a conference room, all on speakerphone, all talking at once? You stand little chance of catching anything that’s going on in the room. Good luck taking notes or moving projects forward.
Quick fix: If you’re the person with a speakerphone fixation, consider doing everyone else a favor and grab your headset. If you’re in a conference room with others, check in to make sure others on the line can hear you adequately. One more thing: try not to interrupt, it just causes chaos.
Mistake #4 – Forgetting that you’re screensharing.
There’s nothing more mortifying than sharing your screen on a call and realizing you didn’t click out of http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/. Or worse, when chat notifications come in, exposing a colleague making comments not exactly suitable for the workplace.
Quick fix: If you were taking a brain break before your meeting, make sure to close out your web browser. Remember to minimize pop ups and make use of the do not disturb? feature in your messaging app.
Mistake #5 – The inevitable background noise.
Sometimes you want to leave home for a change in atmosphere, only to find that the coffee shop down the street is also being patronized by a group of laughing clowns, trombone players, and town criers.
Quick fix: If the noise around you is distracting, bring noise cancelling headphones. If you have a call or a meeting, try to find a quiet place, perhaps a small room in your local library, where you can limit interruptions. If you’re stuck in a loud spot, don’t forget to mute your phone when it’s not your turn to talk.
Join the Conversation on #BizapaloozaChat Monday October 17 at 2pm ET
Don’t forget to tune in Monday, Oct. 17, for our Bizapalooza chat! We’ll be diving deeper into the rise of remote collaboration, what the future holds, and how you can find ways to be more productive, no matter where your desk is.