Working from home has become the norm for more than half of the United States workforce. A report based upon a survey of 1,065 American adults from Waveform CEO Sina Khanifar on March 30th says that 57.7% of the US workforce recently started working from home due to the Coronavirus. For most people, the novelty of working remotely is wearing off, however, it’s time to recognize that this is the new normal for the next couple of months at least. Many are finding this to be a challenging transition, especially if they are contending with tight spaces and outside distractions. 

Due to our cloud-native platforms, the Pondurance team has largely worked in a remote capacity over the years and our management team has a great deal of experience in leveraging technology to bring teams together to collaborate from a distance. Since so many other companies are now working remotely for the first time, we want to share some of our tips and tricks with you to continue having positive dynamics across teams. 

Sticking To a Set Schedule

Create a schedule and treat your time like a budget. It’s important to plan your work and work your plan. Scheduling time to complete what matters becomes even more important when your normal structure is gone.

 (Dustin Hutchison, VP of Services and CISO)

Test Software Before Critical Meetings 

If you’re using a new (for you and your team) conferencing tool, consider joining early to test out audio/video/screen sharing. As an example, if your organization is used to Zoom, and a client or business partner uses WebEx, make sure all of the functionality and client software is loaded ahead of the meeting start time. We recently had a call where WebEx presented numerous challenges for the latest MacOS Catalina which places many privacy controls and notifications on apps that attempt to take control of your microphone, speakers, and camera. The notifications to make the changes appear behind all windows making it a distracting nightmare when you’re simply looking to share an application or screen.

 (Landon Lewis, CTO)

Be Intentional About Meeting Face to Face

Make it a point to touch base with all of your team members using video conferencing or via a direct messaging app, like Slack. It is important to remain connected to your team and simply using text to communicate is not enough.

(Brett Bane, Managing Consultant)

Separate Your Work and Non-work

Create boundaries both physically and time-related for work vs. non-work. Designate an area for working if possible, but don’t bring work with you once you leave that area. Just like when you would come home from a physical job. Also, consider the same for time constraints and keeping “work hours”. The temptation may be there even more to let time spillover from work to non-work and vice-versa. However, creating those boundaries keeps productivity high, and helps to remove outside distractions when you’re working. 

(Brett Bane, Managing Consultant)

Write Out Goals and Ways to Execute Them

Take a few minutes first thing in the morning to consider your goals for the day. I fill a sticky note with everything I want to get accomplished, listing the hardest tasks at the top. Then I try to go right down the line until everything is crossed off! 

Finding consistency in a work from home environment is more important than ever. Adopting a schedule will allow you to improve your at-home cybersecurity posture as well. Cybercriminals follow the news and the latest trends to find novel ways to exploit human weaknesses. Using this time of turmoil, bad actors can turn a state of disarray into a significant vulnerability. Implementing basic mitigation measures and utilizing strong proven work from home tactics before you set up an office at home can not only improve your day-to-day but will help prevent security issues in the future.