Digital work from home
For the next few weeks you will most likely be working from home. Here you will find helpful tips and tricks for this. You can do it!
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Note: Some of the links on this page are in German but we're working hard to provide English alternatives!
It is perfectly normal that we have differently experience with the use of existing tools. Now is the time to share our knowledge, use systems in a structured way and show patience and tolerance. Therefore:
- Be patient with yourself. Take your time to think about what you need to work efficiently.
- Be patient with others, offer your help and take your time. It takes courage to say that you do not understand something and patience to share knowledge.
- Respect that there are also coworkers who are physically unable to use all digital tools in the same way.
Take your time and get an overview of your upcoming tasks and appointments in the next days and weeks. Ask yourself:
- Do I have to cancel something?
- Does my task require coordination with others?
- Do others need input from me?
- Is my calendar updated?
- Do I have access to all work resources?
At the moment it is clear to everyone that certain things have to be cancelled. Nevertheless, most meetings, discussions etc. can easily be held in a video conference.
- For information on how to successfully videoconference, see the Collaboration section below.
If you need coordination with others, it is worth doing it right in the moment or setting something up in the calendar (fixed sessions, reports, emails).
If you don't need specific coordination, consider whether you need to keep someone up to date. Then define together the appropriate digital channel to share this information. See also section Collaboration.
Be proactive in tasks where others are waiting for your input: Inform how and when you are available (calendar, email, chat, Jabber, teams, etc.) and suggest setting up dates for meetings.
Now is the time to actively manage our calendars. Your calendar is perhaps the most important channel for others to know how to reach you. Take the time to update your calendar now.
Set up your workspace
It is very important to have a workplace that is comfortable and, as far as possible, functionally separated from the rest of the home, allowing for longer, concentrated and undisturbed work.
An ergonomically well equipped workplace is always important. At home, where you may not have office furniture, it is even more important.
Connectivity and hardware
Working online with video conferencing requires a stable connection. Set up your workstation so that you have a good connection via Wifi (e.g. connect directly with cable to router, get an adapter if the socket is missing). You may also need hardware such as headset, camera, keyboard, etc. Talk to your supervisor if you have a need for this.
Good tips on how virtual collaboration and especially meetings work well:
Virtual collaboration is not only about work but also about connecting. Maintaining your social contacts is also important and possible from a distance. Two suggestions:
- Take your time and take a virtual coffee break with your team or your coffee buddies in a video conference.
- Set up individual and group chats, which are for nothing but informal exchange and relationship building.
You might wonder who can actually see what with all the chat possibilities. How confidential is what I exchange in writing with my colleagues? Therefore, when starting a chat, you might want to consider "Should I only exchange information 1:1 with someone" or is it a chat for several people.
Perhaps you have a leadership role at the ZHAW and for the first time find yourself in a situation where you have to lead your team from a distance.
- You can find tips on how to design leadership in remote work here.
The increased use of digital tools does not mean that you have to be constantly available. It is very important to draw the line between work and leisure time, especially now that they are disappearing due to the lack of change of location (office vs. home, commuting). Here are our tips:
- Plan your day and try to maintain as much structure as possible.
- Take breaks and even enter them into the calendar, this is absolutely legitimate.
- Rituals help to make the distinction: get out of your pyjamas and into proper clothes, tea at the end of the day, etc. Start the working day consciously and end it consciously.
- A well-defined workspace helps.
Most tools allow you to write a personal status message. Use them to let others know where you are. "At lunch" is as informative as "Do not disturb" or "Available until 16:00".
Here are some tips on how to deal with family life and remote work in this novel situation