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6 Stress-relieving Tips for Working Remotely

19 March 2020

Who would have thought this time last year, that so many of us would be transitioning to working from home? Our daily routines have been turned upsidedown overnight, and those of us not au fait with Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype are spinning around our kitchens wearing headphones, looking for a plug socket.

You are not alone, the ELIA team and many of our members have also quickly shifted into different modes of working, and we are taking each day and week as it comes. In a bid to iron out tension, here are some tips which might prove useful in helping you and your organisation adapt to intense change.

Notice that many of these tips are applicable to the transition to remote teaching. We are working on more content on how to convert to digital education. In the meantime, here a useful reference list on how to make a quick transition.

1. Take things easy
We are now in a world where self-isolation and social-distancing are new norms. You may feel lonely, confused, anxious, unmotivated, on the other hand - energised, productive, relieved. Any transition takes time to get used to, and everyone will deal with this change differently.

2. Rethink your working week
Schedule virtual meetings around times you would prefer to be left alone or as Spencer Waldron puts it, your deep think time. Partition your day, give yourself space to create. Allot time for email-answering, check-in with colleagues and have a virtual coffee break.

3. Working virtually can be fun
Rather than view virtual meetings as a worst-case scenario, look at video conferencing as a social experiment. Play, discover the software's limitations, use apps in ways other than what they have been designed for. For example, ZoomGotoMeeting offer break-out room options, the ability to share video clips, PowerPoint presentations. Use the chat functions to brainstorm, play Q&A games, make meetings dynamic and interactive.

4. Everyone should join meetings virtually
Create a level playing field. Encourage everyone to participate on a screen so that each person and their reactions are visible on 'gallery view'. There is nothing worse than side conversations happening in a boardroom between colleagues when others are sitting patiently online. Encourage colleagues to turn on their video. It's better to see peoples' faces although if your WIFI connection is playing havoc, you may want to switch to audio-only.

5. Tell your team how you would like to be contacted
Let your team know if they should contact you via email, WhatsApp, Skype, WeChat, Slack or phone. There are so many options available and you may want to keep some channels private or for urgent matters. Don't assume people already know. Be clear and tell your team what works best for you.

6. Project management apps make life easier
If you are missing flip charts or wipe clean whiteboards, fear not. Project management apps are incredibly advanced and useful in helping your team visualise their entire work schedule, specific tasks, to whom they are assigned and deadlines you are working towards. Check out AsanaBacklogMonday.comTrello.
There is so much more to cover on the subject of working remotely or working from home – ways to share files, collaborate jointly on single documents, arrange large file transfers, send money, back up your work.

As the ELIA team adjusts, we will continue to share our thoughts and the experiences of other members, in the hope that it will make your life a little easier at this time. 

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