Tools and tips for successful telecommuting.

With the successive lockdowns, the development of telecommuting has become widespread in companies. This form of organization takes all its sense today, and it is possible to make it very efficient by equipping oneself with the good tools and the good practices.

A beneficial change for your company.

There is a misconception that working in a company means having to go to the place of work in order to be effective. This is not necessarily true, and in some cases, remote work can be a real answer to employees' expectations. Working from home can in some cases reduce absenteeism and boost productivity thanks to a work organization that increases the quality of life of teleworkers. Between the time lost in transport, at the coffee machine, or the overtime due to the absence of their colleagues, having to stay at home for various reasons, all these occasions are moments that could be more productive for the company, or that could allow more time for the employee's private life. Promoting employees to work from home, or a coworking space, can therefore be an interesting solution to motivate and boost their performance by allowing them to better reconcile their professional and personal lives, provided that the relationship between managers and employees is strong enough and that trust can be established between the two parties.

What tools should be deployed to effectively telecommute?

The computer and its software.

In order for the telecommuting experience to be successful, it is essential to take into account the importance of the computer in order to maintain communication between teams and improve remote collaboration. To do this, working with tools that promote teamwork, such as collaborative tools that allow document sharing, video conferencing or screen sharing, become essential in a context such as remote work. Among all these new digital practices, video conferencing is definitely the spearhead to maintain a link between the different stakeholders in and outside the company. With a web application such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Meets, you can organize your meetings live, quickly and easily, with options that bring you closer to a face-to-face meeting. Whiteboards, such as flipcharts, compatible with drawing tablets will allow you to write on the fly during the meeting, and can even be part of video conferencing software. Cloud solutions such as Google Drive or Dropbox allow you to share your documents remotely. To interact, the collaborative platform "Slack", with its management of different discussion channels, is perfect to avoid drowning in emails. With all these new tools, working in a team has never been so easy. You only need to find the right interactive collaboration software adapted to your needs.

An almost indispensable accessory: the drawing tablet

Among the good communication and creation tools, a good daily work solution, which can be useful in many situations for a person working at home, is the graphics tablet. Beyond saving time and facilitating the work of each user, it allows to create a social collaboration that is much more important than it seems, provided everyone is equipped and can take advantage of its benefits. Thanks to its synchronization with most of the software, such as virtual whiteboard software, or classic office software, among others, you can use it in different ways. To draw your ideas, and pass them on more easily than in writing, during a brainstorming session in videoconference, to correct a document by hand quickly on the computer, without having to make numerous format conversions, to transmit know-how, especially for professors who want to be able to teach remotely and answer questions clearly, to perform a live demo, or simply by using it on a collaborative software, the graphics tablet shows a limitless agility, which makes it an essential ally in remote work.

However, not everyone is comfortable with this type of tool, and that is why models exist so that every employee can easily take control of the device. The drawing tablet like the Repaper by ISKN, allows this, by proposing to draw directly on a sheet of paper, directly placed on the surface of the graphic tablet, while seeing the result immediately retranscribed on the software interface. This allows you to write naturally, watching the line being drawn under your hand, without having to look at the computer screen, which would require too much hand-eye coordination training for the novice in this field. Moreover, the use of a standard pencil, made possible by the presence of a magnetic ring around it, will not cause the strange sensation of the stylus, not always comfortable for someone who is not used to it.

Some tips for successful telecommuting.

Put yourself in the right conditions.

In order to work from home, far from the company premises, but work in good conditions and be productive, it is important to manage the work environment at home. The first thing that the employee must tell himself, like any other employee of the company, is that it is not because you are not in your usual place of work, that you should allow yourself not to put yourself in optimal working conditions. Staying in pyjamas all day is definitely not a good idea for performance, and dressing up, even if it's in a more casual style than the sometimes heavy office dress-code, is a first step to work efficiently from a distance. Also, thinking about organizing a dedicated work space is part of the conditions to improve your efficiency. Working at home requires rigor and a videoconference meeting from this place would be really inappropriate to show your seriousness to your employer. For the less motivated, or those lacking a social link, there are even more and more coworking spaces, in order to have the choice between open-space and meeting room to feel in an office atmosphere.

Keep regular hours.

In order to maintain a constant work commitment, it is advisable for the teleworker to manage his or her working time as if he or she were working directly at the office. The employee should therefore stick to a work schedule that involves a routine that allows him/her to be just as efficient as at the employer's premises. The goal here is not to be showy, especially if the employee has already fulfilled all the assignments he or she is assigned, but to make the telecommuting days feel like a real workday. Organizing a strict schedule to distribute your workload is also a good way to avoid distractions and stick to specific schedules. For example, the goal of remote work is not to start your day in the middle of the afternoon when everyone else is almost finished with theirs. By following a healthy and organized rhythm, and even if there is a higher degree of flexibility than in the office, each home worker will stick to his or her goals, and will be able to organize his or her work-life balance more easily.

Don't lose the connection with your colleagues.

It is true that for people who work from home, telecommuting has many advantages in terms of scheduling and flexibility. However, it can happen that a feeling of isolation can be felt after a while, and this is when psychosocial risks can occur, and the fulfillment and health at work can decrease for the employee. This is why it is important to use collaborative management, even at a distance, in order to maintain maximum performance and well-being conditions for the employee. A simple solution is to organize a few working hours dedicated to video conference meetings. These meetings do not need to be long, nor too repetitive, and as we have seen, many tools help to obtain dynamic and participative meetings. In the same way, it can be interesting to schedule one or a few days per week in person to avoid breaking the links between employees, and thus maintain or even improve the quality of life at work for employees. Also, formalizing all the decisions taken, whether by the people present on the company premises, or during a videoconference meeting, makes it possible not to exclude those who could not be there. In this way, remote working becomes a way of working that does not interfere with social contacts, while allowing employees to rearrange their schedules and improve their performance at work.

Separate personal and professional life.

It is necessary, in a telecommuting situation, to be able to reconcile private life and working life with the best balance of time allocated to each. It is therefore important, even if you are at home, to set a strict work schedule, and to make your friends, children, family or roommates understand that you should not be disturbed during your work phases. The balance between private and professional life must be respected, and in the same way, your employer or your colleagues must not take advantage of this organisation mode from a distance, to bother you at all hours of the day and night under the pretext that you work from home.

Take breaks and consider getting out.

For people working remotely, combining well-being and performance can sometimes be complicated. Indeed, working at home implies to leave your home less, and to make less physical effort throughout the day. It is therefore important to keep moments of disconnection and to take breaks. During this free time, getting fresh air by going outside, or better yet, doing some physical activity, at lunchtime or in the evening for example, can be an excellent idea to keep yourself in good shape and have a clearer mind as the day goes on. Managers can also promote breaks or offer physical activities within their company so that their employees can be in a different environment than the company they work for. The idea here is not to lose concentration by stopping work because of distractions, making the employee stay on his computer screen, but on the contrary, to reinforce the well-being of each employee by encouraging him not to stay fixed in the same place all day.

A success if the setup beforehand is adapted.

So telecommuting allows for a better quality of life, and while it may not be for everyone, using the best tools to collaborate with colleagues in a healthy way is already a big step towards making your remote work experience a success.