Working Remote – seeing opportunities in new challenges

March 16, 2020

The developments concerning Covid-19 have rapidly changed the way we do business, and many companies, including Trifork, have asked colleagues to work from home as much as possible. Involuntarily, this will cause some challenges for all involved.

Trifork’s CEO & founder, Jørn Larsen, has been working remote for many years. Located in Switzerland and running an international business, it has been necessary to learn the most productive ways of working remotely. Jørn has mastered this skill and is now sharing his tips and tricks.

In the coming days and weeks, we will all learn this new way of working. We simply have to learn it very fast. Working remote is NOT the same as just opening your laptop in your bed and starting to hack.

Jørn Larsen

One of the most important things is to be open minded and humble. For remote work to work, we need to learn new skills. But mastering a remote way of working is also a technique that will bring freedom and become an extra gear for happiness and productivity. Data states that remote jobs are growing in numbers 10x faster than onsite jobs since 2015.

To get you started, Jørn has provided the first five tips:

STEP ONE: Your new office – best practice  

The good news is that you get the “corner office” you always dreamt about. You can sit in your garage, in your vacation home, in your boat, in your bedroom, etc. Maybe you already have a place where you feel comfortable. When travelling, Jørn explains that he always looks for places where he can sit uninterrupted – with good network connection and a place where you feel comfortable. But it does not have to be one specific place.

Make sure you get natural light and fresh air. Take a walk to let your mind rest once in a while. When you code, as many do at Trifork, it’s good to sit or stand. However, when you have a call with someone you know well, maybe it is best to walk. Like if you were walking next to them. The brain simply works better when you walk. Having a white board or a flipover can be very useful when you discuss or want to show things like architecture or plans. Jørn suggests using Whatsapp in video mode or Zoom for these video meetings. You will get a feel for working remote and find your own way of being in the ZONE and staying in the FLOW. 

STEP TWO: Have a plan and communicate it

Plan your day with your team and communicate your plan with relevant parties. When you plan your day, you don’t need to work the same hours and schedule as the rest of the team. If they know what to expect from you, they will be happy. A good hint is to agree on at least 4 hours overlapping a day with your team. Communication here is key. Communicate often and show the result of your work.

Studies shows that remote teams can be 40% more effective and productive as co-located teams.

Jørn Larsen

STEP THREE: Video, Video, Video

Use video, unless you have a meeting with someone you know well. Jørn says that when you get used to Zoom, you will love it. He prefers standing up during video meetings.

Using Zoom and putting your laptop on top of a stack of books will make you look better and will give a much better result than if you look down into a camera.

Jørn Larsen

Be careful with back light since cameras are very sensitive. In the beginning, you should use video a lot, and at least until you get used to seeing yourself and others on video. Have a back-up plan for your network. Modern 4G can easily handle video calls.

STEP FOUR: Dress up for work

Get up for work and do your morning routine. Dress as if you were going to work. This helps your mind tell the difference between work mode and family mode. Remote workers continuously mention this point and as Jørn agrees:

It is very important to be able to switch between work and free time.

Jørn Larsen

If you have a customer meeting on video, make an effort to look sharp. Have a clean “office” and do everything you can to make a good impression. You can still have a personalized home office as long as you keep it tidy. As we say: Smile – you are on camera :-)

STEP FIVE: We learn faster together

As always, we learn faster together, so share your experiences with your team. Like everything else, it takes dedication and mindfulness to get the most from remote work. The next weeks will likely be some of the most challenging times we have ever experienced workwise, so let’s stick together and be strong and supportive towards colleagues, partners and customers.

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