From video conferencing to sticking to a schedule, here's how to make working remotely work for you.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 16, 2020
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As companies shutter their offices across the globe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many are having to adapt quickly to working remotely. As someone who has been doing the work-from-home-shuffle since 2016, I've got two words: stretch breaks (and two more: dual monitors). Another key practice for me? In place of a "morning commute," start your day with the same ritual every morning. Since you don't have, say, a 40-minute bus ride or drive to ease into the work day, start your day with a routine to signify the beginning of work. For me, that's  doing a Headspace meditation or a quick Yoga with Adriene morning stretch video. For you, it could be something totally different. Experiment and find what works with you—and then stick with it.

But beyond downward dogs and deep breathing exercises, there's a whole lot more you can do to ensure that the workday progresses as efficiently as possible. To that end, Google recently shared a post on their blog, The Keyword, titled "8 tips for getting it done when working from home," and we're ready to jump into the action with some of their savvy tips. Here are three of our favorites:

1. Befriend video conferencing.

Talking on the phone only goes so far. Hosting virtual meetings via video call allows you to see body language, focus better, and see visuals your team may be drawing or displaying on-screen. Here's a 101 to hosting video meetings through Google Hangouts, and services like WebEx, Zoom, Skype, and more also provide straightforward platforms for hosting video conferences.

2. Use shared documents on Google Drive.

Whether you create a shared Google doc (this can be a word document, a spreadsheet, or a slideshow presentation) to update your team on daily assignments and long-term goals or as a way to distribute work materials, Google docs are easy-to-use and can open on virtually any kind of computer or mobile device. Working remotely poses some unique communication issues, but using shared documents can help keep everybody on the same page, pun intended. You or your company may already use Google Drive (or a similar product), but here's a tutorial from Google to get started, if not.

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3.  Create calendar invites.

Without the structure of an office, it can be hard to stay on top of your daily priorities. You can use Google Calendar to create meetings with your team (turn on "reminders" to alert you before meetings if you think you'll need them) and even just to create a schedule for yourself to make sticking to your agenda for the day easier.

Have you been working from home for a while? What are your best tips? We'd love to hear your advice.