7 Tips for Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Crisis

Over the past few weeks, as concerns over COVID-19 have grown, more companies have asked employees to work from home. As governments have ordered businesses to close and citizens to self-quarantine, there’s also been growing concern that sales and revenue will drop off—with executives and managers scrambling madly to put together contingency plans.

Blind, which conducts regular (and anonymous) surveys of technologists, decided to ask whether this increasing uncertainty is translating into rising concerns about employment. The answer, unfortunately, is “yes”: Some 53.8 percent of those technologists surveyed are worried about their job security. 

In a similar vein, some 62.2 percent of respondents believed that the COVID-19 crisis would impact their total income negatively. Expedia, Cisco, Uber, and Intel topped the list of companies where technologists were most concerned about job security. Expedia, Cisco, Uber, and Facebook were the companies with technologists most concerned about the virus’s impact on their total income (for example, a falling stock market could negatively impact the value of an employee’s stock holdings). 

While there’s precious little that most employees can do about their company’s overall strategy, it might be a good time to review optimal practices for working from home. Adopting an effective remote-work strategy, in turn, can reassure your boss that you’ll continue to deliver results—which could boost your job security at this difficult time.

Embracing Remote Work

It’s worth noting that a growing number of companies are rapidly instituting remote-work policies, even for workers who are used to coming into the office every day. Earlier this month, Blind conducted a separate survey in which it asked technologists whether their firm had adopted a remote-work policy; here are the results: 

And that was before Google decided to institute an aggressive work-from-home policy, for example, so these percentages have likely increased. Even if you’re still required to go into the office this week, chances are very good that you could find yourself at your “home office” (which might be your kitchen counter, or dining-room table) very soon.  

For those used to going into an office every day, remote work may require a bit of adjustment. Here are some tips to keep everyone happy:

Establish Your Space

A dedicated space to work is a key (and often overlooked) aspect of working from home. By setting aside an area that’s your “professional zone,” you’ll instinctively slip into “work mode” whenever you sit down. Make sure this area is clean and organized and (if possible) not used by anyone else at home. On that note…

Replicate Your Office Environment (If It Works for You)

If you’re used to a formal office, and you took a lot of time to assemble a workspace there to your working, it might help to replicate that environment in your work-from-home space. For example, if you had a two-monitor setup in the office, see if you can do the same at home; if you’ve brought home files or other physical media that you need, make sure it goes in roughly the same position vis-à-vis your desk.

Set Up a Schedule

The COVID-19 crisis is freaking out a lot of project managers and other folks who believe that work can’t be done at peak efficiency unless everyone is physically in the office and able to participate in daily standups. Whether or not that’s the case in your office, setting up a strict schedule (and sticking to it) can not only help your team plan, but it can convince your employer that you’re still on target with your deliverables when you’re working from home—which, in turn, can add to your job security. 

Stick to Your Goals

Yes, we’re in a crisis. Yes, it’s totally natural to feel panicked, out-of-sorts, and even depressed over everything going on. Nonetheless, it’s key that you stick to your deliverables and goals (re: job security). Don’t be afraid to ask your manager for the resources, tools, and even hardware you might need at this strange moment in order to complete your tasks; chances are very, very good that they’ll do their best to fulfill your requests.

Check In Constantly

When in doubt, go with over-communication: update your boss frequently on everything you’re doing, and whether your schedule and deliverables are changing in any way. At the same time, also make sure that you’re communicating with your teammates frequently. When everyone’s working remotely, it’s very easy to end up trapped in a “bubble’ of your own making, so keep the chatter going on Slack, Teams, or the messaging platform of your choice. (Bonus: Chatting with people can also help relieve feelings of isolation.) 

Wear Pants

Now that more people are working remotely, there are a lot of jokes flying around about “working in your underwear” or “not even bothering to get dressed.” And yet, taking the time to get dressed and perform your usual self-care routine can prove a big psychological booster. 

Plan Ahead (As Much As You Can)

During a crisis, it’s easy to fall into the trap of excessive short-term thinking. Schedule some time with yourself to plot out your next week, month, and quarter. What’s coming up? While nobody knows just how long this COVID-19 situation will last, doing as much long-term planning as you can will only benefit you. 

For more COVID-19 content, check out the COVID-19 Jobs Resource Center.

4 Responses to “7 Tips for Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Crisis”

  1. Adam Graves

    I think this is a poor informational article, it doesn’t really address the issue, sorry…. First step should have been that the business has its Operations Best Practice “Manual” defined in which it clearly has the Remote work process defined. Working from home has its personal discipline issues that are different from a non-home remote location, that needs to be addressed. As for a major concern in any Remote work is the entire Access Management services where security is a main concern! This is why so many firms have security issues, breaches etc. it’s not the hardware or lack of it but rather the lack of properly “strategizing” the Access Management services. Step 2 of course is executing the first 🙂

    • Michael G Yates

      This is good information, as it is geared toward after you are at home – for the associate/employee perspective. This article is not intended for what happens (processes, strategies etc) to get the associate home.

    • D. Granja

      I agree with Yates. Nick also didn’t include detailed directions for how to sanitize your work environment, make the VPN software work on your particular phone model, nor explain how to brew your own coffee. But it’s a good quick read for getting started, especially the focus on deliverables/goals & communication. New remote workers can go through a period of, “What should I be doing?”, and these pointers can help.

  2. Emma Ryan

    Thanks for the great information that you have provided in this article.
    Many people have now started working from home due to this coronavirus, the same for us.
    The major issue that I and my team faced was the security and privacy concerns, however we have also overcome that problem. We now communicate by using vpn naming purevpn on different communication platform like Hangout and Team speak, this helped us in many ways. I know most of you people will second my thought that by spending little amount you can save yourself from upcoming dangers of privacy and data breaches attempt.