One of the consequences of the health crisis we are going through is the obligation for many professionals to work from home.
Teleworking is a common practice at PrestaShop. We have therefore gathered advice from our experts on the subject, to help you find the best work-life balance during this period.
Taking care of your workstation:
For many, working behind a desk is limited to your usual place of work. Whether it's a worktop at the right height, just like the computer screen, or a comfortable chair, you'll need the same professional arrangements at home. As Yoni (Head of Support at PrestaShop) says: "I can't work sitting on a couch with my laptop on my lap. It's really important to be properly seated". Also, it is essential to have a good internet connection at home.
Putting things in perspective:
"Separating the workspace from the personal space is very important," says Simon (QA Manager). This may not seem obvious, especially for professionals living in small spaces. However, it is important to dedicate a space for working, and to walk away from it when the day is over. Forget meetings in your pyjamas, in your bed, and making calls from your couch. It is important to keep up your morning habits, such as when you leave for work, and to turn off your computer at the end of the day to really disconnect.
The importance of routine:
Getting up at a fixed time, taking a shower, having breakfast, getting dressed, opening your computer, taking a break at 10:30, stop, start again: routine is good, especially at this time. "Spending time with your family, playing sports, playing games or cooking... We can already use the usual travel time to create new habits" says Antoine (Open Source Evangelist). In order to maintain productivity, it has been proven that taking breaks and changing one's surroundings should be a part of our daily routine. You can also create a household task schedule, as well as define work patterns.
Communicate with your team:
The feeling of being distant is a significant factor during extended periods of teleworking. "You must maintain good communication with your team, for example, by using your webcam during meetings, don't forget to turn off your microphone when you are not talking, but also sharing non work-related information and organising small challenges between colleagues," says Antoine. Using asynchronous means of communication is also interesting, as your colleagues may not always be online at the same time. Thomas (Lead Modules Developer) continues: "we have to think about keeping an up to date calendar, so that we can let our colleagues know when we're available".
Setting goals... and limits:
Even at this particular time, it is important to maintain a certain rigour. With regard to the hours spent in front of your computer or in your daily work, it is essential to set objectives: "you have to know how to measure your productivity, in order to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and then correct them afterwards. You can also make a to-do list, which it's probably best to write up in the evening for the next day." says Jonathan (Senior Developer).
In terms of limits, set a time to start work, and another to end your day and disconnect completely.
Teleworking... With the family:
Teleworking can be a good way to be in a more focused environment than your usual workstation. This may not be the case if you have children at home. For Antoine: “It's important to demonstrate and explain to your family or children what you're doing. That way, they understand how important it is to to let you work quietly.” This is an important point when we know the current situation. "For children who usually go to school, take the time to draw up a daily schedule for them, with individual and family activities, and clearly specified times, if your work allows you to take a few breaks," says Cécile (CXO).
Maintain good management from a distance:
Knowing how to manage your teams remotely is not an innate skill. We have already talked about the importance of communication and team spirit in this situation, which are crucial for all managers. In the advice we have to share, there is first and foremost a sense of presenteeism: "It is not necessary to impose it on one's co-workers. It's better to be effective for 6 hours than to force yourself to stay connected for 10 hours," says Jonathan.
For Cécile, who has been remotely managing a large team for several years, the most important thing is trusting her co-workers, who develop greater autonomy over time. She also adds: "For a meeting with several people, it is important to have a lot of energy. Indeed, team concentration can waver when there is a screen in front of you, some may be tempted to look at their phones or e-mails during the meeting. So don't hesitate to make it shorter and more energetic than a fact-to-face meeting."
Also, remember to share your diary with your employees, and reserve time slots for them if necessary.
Using the right tools:
There are many tools that can help you telework effectively, and many of these are available free of charge. Most companies use complete application suites for this purpose (Google or Microsoft 365 for example). These include file storage and exchange solutions, e-mail and chat services.
Other examples include "Slack" for direct communication between colleagues and teams, or "Trello" for project monitoring. These are just a few examples, and most companies already have such solutions in place.
To inform you on the issue:
As teleworking has become more popular, advice and documentation on this subject has been growing for several years now. Here are a few publications that have generated a lot of interest lately:
- The book Remote, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson,
- The Pomodoro technique which focuses on time management,
- The Eisenhower Matrix, an effective productivity tool.
Our other tips:
- During meetings, write up minutes to share with your team,
- Using headphones whilst you work helps to block out any surrounding noises,
- Disable your notifications during intensive work sessions,
- Take breaks away from your computer: a little exercise will always do you good,
- Constantly improve your working environment,
- You have more time and the necessary utensils: eat healthy,
- Work in sessions of 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break (Pomodoro Method),
- When your webcam turns on for a meeting, make sure you are presentable,
- Go at your own pace, without ever feeling guilty (in particular to reply to an e-mail or a message 15 minutes after receiving it).