Top tips to nail a transition into #wfh

Entrada ESL
Mar 18, 2020 · 4 min read

So, you’re working from home.

Yoo-hoo! And, thanks for doing your part to protect the community.
<muscle emoji>

Team Entrada has been fully remote since our inception, and we’re here for you. Working from home can provide incredible flexibility that creates space for you to maximize both productivity and creativity.

In the past year, we’ve had team members in Bali, Medellin, Mozambique, Houston, Vail, DC, Venezuela, New York, Boston, and Singapore. We’ve worked with refugees, expats, and brilliant change makers who have mastered the art of managing their schedule while driving toward positive progress.

Here’s a few tips to make the transition easier:

1. Trust your team!

Suddenly, you’re no longer face to face. What does that mean? It means anything and everything from lunch time workouts (streamed from your computer, we hope!) to mid-day laundry. It could include walking the dog, managing children’s nap schedules, baking cookies, or running errands for an elderly or at-risk neighbor. Maybe it means deciding when to binge a show that will make you feel better, or give you space to decompress (no judgment).

It also means that ‘typical work hours’ need not apply as stringently as when you’re all in the office. Working from home means you can create your schedule to accommodate the various demands in your life.

How do you navigate this? It’s very simple, really. Your tasks haven’t changed nor have your deliverables. Your physical space and flexibility, of course, has.

Tips to build trust:

  1. Schedule meetings in advance, and show up on time and prepared. Same as always. #working101

2. If you’ll be off-line for any reason, let your team know!
Hey, I’ll be unavailable from 1–2.15 today, but will be ready for our 2.30 meeting. Does anyone need anything before then?

3. If you take an hour off in the daytime, then put it back in ‘after hours’. Maybe you’ll read that report at 10 pm, like you did in your college days, or maybe you’ll read it at 3 pm, as you would in the office. Does that matter? No; what matters is that you’re ready with a summary by tomorrow’s discussion.

Key: Don’t feel guilty about stepping away. And don’t make others doubt their decision.

2. Be reasonable with your expectations

With many goals — including language! — one of the primary reasons for burnout is trying to do “too much too fast.” My new-to-wfh-friends suddenly have a long list of goals they will accomplish in the next two weeks:

Start a diet! Learn a new instrument! Take up calligraphy! Work out 3x a day! Learn a language! Clean out the closets! Catch up with long lost friends!

Admirable. Motivating. Goal worthy. But before going all in on a life revamp, make sure you’re setting reasonable goals and expectations.

Easing into new habits is crucial to maintain them over time. If you’re going to come up with a long list, make sure you prioritize your regular work along with these new habits — and be gentle on yourself if you slide on accomplishing all goals at once.

3. Workplace Professional?

I interviewed for Business School in the most #wfh fashion ever. At the time, I was living in Rome, Italy, in a shared apartment with very limited extra space.

My background? My wardrobe closet (the only 3 feet of blank space I had available). My computer was very precisely positioned so that the space looked more professional than my tiny bedroom. I was business on the top (blazer) and #wfh on the bottom (athletic shorts). It was hot in my apartment.

Was this worth it? Well, I was awarded an amazing scholarship and in those two years created a strong foundation for Entrada.

I would say: Hell yes! Worth it. Mission accomplished. (thanks, Babson!)

But; for a job you already have, with colleagues you already trust, this level of hoop-jumping is silly.

We’re all in the same boat: We have houses or apartments that likely don’t include a client-ready home office. Enjoy the personal decor, the occasional cat strutting in the background, or, if you’re lucky, a full-on family gathering (I’m sure most of you remember Prof Kelly’s BBC interview!)

Pretending like you don’t have any external distractions is a recipe to fail, both for you and for your team. As the first step toward working through anything is honesty, acknowledge what your distractions are and then find a way that you will work through them.

Last: If you are lucky enough to have a distraction that you think others will enjoy (a dog! A tiny laughing human!) check with your team before sharing. Setting up norms and expectations beforehand will save worry over “professionalism” in the long term.

Best of luck, happy hand washing, and happy new habit forming!!

Speak Up! A blog by Entrada ESL

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