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Successful Virtual Collaboration Part 2: 4 Success Factors for Mobile Working

The past days have shown that due to Corona more and more people work from home. But, honestly, in daily routine it is not quite as easy as it sounds – not everybody is prepared equally well for working from home or has even made first experiences prior to Corona.

We, as TEAMWILLE, would like to share our experience with you in our little blog series for virtual collaboration. The following article is about our four basic success factors which shall make it easier for you to work from home.

4 success factors which shall make it easier for you to work from home

  1. Work area: I assume that many of you do not have a perfectly equipped work area at home, since you had a perfect one in your office. It is, therefore, an initial step to set up a fix work area separated from your living or sleeping area – assumed that you do not have a separate workroom. Be sure, it helps to get yourself into a work mode and back to your free time as soon as your work is finished. A table and chair are the most important equipment. Sounds easy, but essential – your bed or sofa aren’t. Take care that your chair is comfortable and maybe even ergonomic. For taking care of your back, also set up a higher standing workstation (e.g. simply an ironing board). Almost everybody has an ironing board; it is easy to set up and to remove and makes it possible to regularly switch from sitting to standing.

    Do you have enough space in your home for a separate work desk? No?
    Don’t worry. Just make your kitchen or dining table a work desk – but only half of it. Here it is important that you keep an overview about your work utensils and that you clear them up at the end of the day and put them into a cupboard. Make use of the possibility to personalize your work area for instance with pictures, plants or any other decoration you prefer. Now anything that makes you happy and lets you feel comfortable is possible.
  2. Technical equipment: When it comes to technical equipment, make sure to take care of your body. Set up an external screen, a keyboard, mouse and headset. Do not use your laptop as your only device. If you do not have such equipment at hand, get in touch with your boss. Currently, many companies make it possible to borrow equipment to use it at home. Don’t hesitate to ask.

    Make sure that you have all devices that are necessary for your work (laptop, charger etc.) and that you have access to all necessary systems (VPN, mails etc.). Try to keep the internet connection as stable as possible. Switch off other devices connected to the internet and keep the bandwidth possibly low. Reduce internet calls and postpose system updates to later. Use a few minutes before you start working to check access, to locate any errors, or to get in touch with your IT support – if necessary.
  3. Structure and focus: A good structure of your working day makes it possible for you to submit the best working result and to maintain your focus:

    • Avoid any distractions. Put away the remote control of your TV, your private smartphone or your laundry pile. We all know that a laundry pile or a dishwasher ready to be cleaned of can be really triggering and annoying.
    • Divide your day into different (work) blocks and set up a daily plan. Since your way to work and back home is also missing, it is no longer possible to spatially separate your work and free time. Stipulate an exact time when you start your work and a time when you finish. Hold on to it. Communicate this to your team members and colleagues, to create necessary transparency.
    • Don’t forget your lunch break. Plan a fix time for it and stick to it. Switch your working devices to standby mode and consciously enjoy your lunch. Otherwise your lunch break is surely the first thing cancelled due to meetings and conferences.
    • Sweatpants? No, thanks. Draw a clear line between free time and working time. Of course, we do not believe that it is necessary to get dressed up in your new suit or costume at home. Comfortable but office-friendly clothes have a considerably positive effect on your appearance and feeling and definitely lead to a professional attitude in video conferences or on the phone. We can definitely recommend that!
  1. Atmosphere: One of the central success factors is the personal well-being. As part of the first success factor “work area”, we have already described that it is possible to create a positive atmosphere through a personal touch and design of your work area at home. You could also prepare enough water and snacks and have it available at your desk. So you do not have to stand up again and again to just go the fridge when you want to be productive and not distracted. However, making yourself a coffee or a tea can, of course, activates your body and mind. Try to find a good balance here for you.

    Make use of the possibility and get in touch with your team members and colleagues. Working from home and the current social distance can easily wear you down. We recommend to rather talk on the phone or via TEAMS or Skype with a video than writing emails. On the one hand you have the chance to chat with your colleagues and on the other hand you protect yourself and your colleagues from an unnecessary email and message flood.

Let us all together try to transfer the challenges of today’s (working) and social situation faced by so many people at the moment, into a positive new way of working and thinking. Okay, I admit, take your time and get used to it first. But give it a try. Be open-minded. In the beginning you will presumably not be as productive as you were in the office. That is quite normal. But the new situation we are facing entails so much potential and can be a great chance for everybody in the future to create a working environment with great flexibility and potential.

We really hope that you can use our four success factors for your personal situation and make it a little bit easier for you to deal with it. Try to design collaboration as successful as possible, create more motivation, cooperation and support so that working from home will be normal and easier in the future.

Feel free to comment and discuss the topic below this article in the comment field. We are curious to know your experience and impressions of the first days or weeks in your home office. Maybe you have even more experiences or advices that you could share with us so that we can all benefit from each other.

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