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13 hacks to really master the art of remote work

Here is how to truly adapt and become a super user of digital office spaces.

Our team at your service / July 03, 2020

Remote offices allow us to focus harder, save time, money and wear more personal clothing. But they could also bring us loneliness, bad chairs and a higher meeting frequency.

Here is how to truly adapt and become a super user of digital office spaces.

The lived experience of remote office may come in the same range as the numbers of people using them. Some find it pleasant to get up five minutes before their first meeting, while others get frustrated by not leaving their “workspace” when the workday is over.

A recent survey by YouGov for TietoEVRY shows that COVID-19 has had a positive impact on how many of us think about remote work: one third of Swedes (33%) and Finns (31%) say that they have a more positive attitude towards remote work. In Norway, one fourth (25%) is more positive now than before the corona outbreak.

“A positive from the remote office experience for me is that productivity levels have remained similar to before COVID19. One of the biggest fears was that productivity would drop, but that has not been the case”, says Kristian Schäfer, Consultant with us at TietoEVRY, working with Design Thinking.

He is one out of close to 24 000 colleagues that have been working remotely for almost three months now due to the outbreak of the Corona virus this spring.

In the YouGov Survey 14 percent of Finns and 15 percent of Norwegians said they work even more efficiently remotely, while 16 and 23 percent felt that their work efficiency was declining. In Sweden 29 percent felt they worked less efficiently from home.

Kristian believes that most people are more than capable of performing more self-leadership and don't necessarily need to have a manager or a leader attached in order for them to perform.

“We have extremely competent employees today and perhaps the leadership theories have not entirely followed the same development trend. I think we could distribute far more of the perceived jobs we think a leader should perform to the employees”, he says.

“Something totally unexpected”

Managing Partner of TietoEVRY Sweden, Karin Schreil, is aware of the situation many leaders and employees may find themselves in due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“For a lot of organizations, this meant a sudden change to a digital way of working, something that was totally unexpected from their side. Many did not have the tools nor the knowledge on how to adapt to the situation. We are helping a lot of businesses and organizations reorganize into a form where remote work and digital leadership becomes the new normal”, Karin says.

She also believes that skills such as openness, empathy, creativity and the ability to act as good examples, in addition to dare being innovative may be especially important for leaders now.

“A major challenge that a lot of managers may be facing right now is balancing taking care of the employees’ needs and implementing efficient digital ways of working and collaborating”, Karin emphasizes.

Three crucial factors for successful collaboration and leadership

Øystein Sehlmann, Head of Process & Change Advisory at TietoEVRY, leads a team that assists organizations and businesses implementing digital tools for employees and management. According to him, here are three factors that are crucial in order to effectively take advantage of opportunities in this digital era:

1. Correct tools for your organization’s needs
2. Tailored training initiatives
3. Clear goals and strategy for implementation and use

“Access to tools and technology that enable you to work from home in a way that is as close to if you were at the office, is crucial. First of all, it’s about having the solutions that make it easy to share documents and files in addition to have efficient online meetings”, says Øystein.

Microsoft 365 will cover the needs of most organizations. Tools like this also enhance effective internal communication.

“Employees need both insights and skills to get the most out of technology. Microsoft Teams provides so much more than online meetings, storage and sharing of documents: there is also a whole range of apps that you can implement into this tool that will help you take the collaboration, projects and workshops to new levels”, Øystein explains.

The last thing Øystein is highlighting is the most important one: clear goals, strategy and guidelines for the different tools.

“Without them, people may start using the tools differently only to experience confusion, frustration and low business outcome as a result”, says Øystein.

5 tips for successful remote work

  • Turn the camera on! It is more inclusive and connects you to the team on a greater level, creating a sense of increased togetherness. Remember to give everyone room to talk.
  • Make sure you work in a secured way. Make sure you have a VPN connection to use for the programs that handle a great level of confidential data. Check and make sure your antivirus program is updated.
  • Collaborate in the Cloud. Everyone in your team is able to access the same documents and info when using cloud based digital tools. We guarantee you will save a great amount of time when you don’t need to send everything through e-mail.
  • Record important meetings and share the info on tape. There is always someone who’s not able to join the meeting. Push the recordings button and you will have a video of the meeting to share for everyone to update themselves.
  • Get some exercise! Take in some fresh air despite the fact that you don’t commute to work. Squeeze in some steps before work or during lunch time.

5 tips for boosting remote leadership

  • Set a good example: Dare to be open about you not knowing everything. Instead, you should be curious about testing new ways of working, including using digital tools.
  • Stay available for your team: Show them how they could reach you on different channels and be able to connect easily even though you are physically apart.
  • Be proactive: Talk to your team members about how they feel about working remotely. Listen to how they are – and remember: turn your camera on when having joint conversations.
  • Keep good habits: Focus on maintaining your ordinary routines such as weekly meetings and 1-2-1 coaching conversations – only to move them into a digital format.
  • Make sure your community thrives: Invite to digital after-work events, lunch quizzes or Friday beers. Team building is still important – maybe more than ever.

 

Four people on remote office:

Robin Dronsfield, Head of EUS Advisory at TietoEVRY

”Pro’s being that I save a lot of time and can get up later in the morning (I am a late sleeper).

I also appreciate the fact of being home as soon as my workday is over. I work with a greater focus until my tasks are finalized compared to when I am at the office. I also perceive digital meetings as more inclusive, it is easier for everyone to be part of discussions when using video.

On the downside, remote work requires a greater amount of meetings – at least for me who also has a social need to thrive at work. I sit, even more, lacking activity and it is sometimes harder to log off from work when your workspace is also your home.

 

Kaja Drews, Consultant at TietoEVRY

The greatest part is to be able to wear clothes I normally don’t use! You know, the ones that may not be accurate enough for the office, but that I love wearing outside of work. I do believe that our meetings have become more efficient and it takes less time to attend a meeting: all you have to do is to click the “join meeting” button compared to the office where you may find a spare meeting room and often go to different floors!
I find it challenging not to have an ergonomic office chair or proper workspace at home – and that I am most of the time physically alone.

 

Niklas Andersson, Consultant at TietoEVRY

Reverting back to my university staple, instant noodles, for lunch 3 times a week and never going out for lunch might give a less social and culinary rich enjoyment but that, together with not having to pay 2000 SEK a month in public transport, has been a big boost for the personal economy.

 

 

 

Nanna Wass-Gordon, Content Specialist at TietoEVRY

“Good things are that I get more time with my kids (this is also a bad thing ), I can do dinners that take more time in the oven, there is no need for a public transport card and my house has never been cleaner. The bad things are that I feel lonely despite seeing people on a screen, my inspiration for new ideas becomes trickier to find without spontaneous conversations with random people, I constantly see things that could be improved at home (which means I go to IKEA once a week at least ) and I now consider clean sweats perfectly reasonable as a going-out outfit.

 

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