If you’re just joining, welcome to the work-from-home party!

We’ve been here a while, but you may be finding it doesn’t come without the challenge of how to stay connected. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re staying on top of the “personal” side of the workplace. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite “work-from-home solutions” we rely on to maximize our teamwork, productivity and never feel “too far” apart!

Communicate…too much.

You’re always going to be better off sharing too much than sharing too little. In the remote work realm, over-communication is your friend. When it’s not quite as easy as someone just walking by your desk to see where you’re at or if you need anything, take the initiative and let them know how you’re progressing, if you need a hand, or just a simple recap of your accomplishments of the day.

Also – take a few moments to make it personal. Not being in the office, there isn’t much opportunity to have that casual “water cooler” conversation. DO IT. Check in, see how your coworkers are doing on a note that’s not 100% work, all. the. time.

We ❤ Slack. A staple in connecting our remote home offices all across the country, this is how we communicate with our team day in and day out.

See each other’s faces (families & pets, too)!

Phone calls are great, but video calls are greater. This really is the secret sauce to that regular reminder that you’re not in this alone. Whether it’s simply “team coffee hour”, for training purposes, or just simply a work session, video chat fills the “virtual office void”. There’s all kinds of things you can do here to keep things interesting instead of “weird”, because let’s be honest, the first couple times it may feel slightly strange.

  • Intro Song – Everyone introduce themselves by playing a snippet of their favorite song.
  • Team Travelers – Try the different backdrops you can choose from (really just a great excuse to not have sit in the most presentable space).
  • Coffee Mug Competition – Show off your favorite mugs (this also often turns into, ‘Who can find the best one on Amazon’). Prizes are always welcome & appreciated.
  • Dress Up Days – Hats, Funny T-shirts, Silly Socks, you name it.
  • BYOP/BYOK – Bring your own pets and/or kids to work day – because you can’t escape them, anyways!

Seriously. Have fun with it and even throw in some friendly competition, it only continues to encourage the team connection as we all go through this experience together. At the end of the day, you are in your own home and a little bit of laughter isn’t hurting anybody these days.

Some of our go-to’s are Google Hangouts & Zoom. They’re easy to use, easy to share screens/presentations and don’t suffer from too much lag while sharing.

Conference Calls are KEY.

Carve out some time to get everyone in the same place at the same time. Even if it’s just informative for some or not mandatory for all, it’s good to set up a time where everyone has the ability to “check in”. While it is sometimes easy to forget that you are still a part of a team, this is a really impactful way to give everyone an opportunity to interact.

UberConference is a great, straightforward way to get everyone in one place, by phone or computer, video is not required and gives you the ability to easily share your screen with all the participants on the call!

Stay Organized and Clean Up the Junk.

Last but not least, do yourself a favor and while you’ve got a little bit of extra time, why not clean up your e-mail? If you don’t have an organized filing system by now, do so. We suggest using your e-mail box as a to-do list and moving out any/all things that you’ve taken care of and only leaving what’s left to-do in your inbox. That way you know if it’s there, it still requires your expertise. This is especially helpful in the remote work world if you’re working out of any shared e-mail boxes.

It’s also a glorious time to unsubscribe to a few things (AKA every single sale announcement, ever, that you’ve accumulated over the years). If you don’t do this on the regular or have been trying to do this slowly as promotion e-mails come in, do yourself a favor and check out: Unroll.me. It will change your life in the click of a few boxes. Go there and thank us later.

Just because the walls around you have changed, doesn’t mean your teamwork, relationships and productivity have to.

Working remotely can provide just as fulfilling of a workplace as any other, it’s just about how you participate in it. There are so many tools now that allow you to do just that – actively participate, from virtually anywhere. Find them, use them and most importantly enjoy them, as well as your team – no matter how far apart you may be!