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The Canto team’s top tips for working remotely

by Catherine Chiang  |  March 19, 2020

6 min. read
working remotely

Like many other companies, our global team has recently transitioned to remote work to do our part in preventing the spread of coronavirus and to keep our employees and communities safe.

It’s a big change for many of us and for workers around the world, but we do have some veteran remote employees at Canto who are happy to help us adjust and to share their tips with our community!

Here are our Canto remote team members’ top tips for working from home.

1. Set boundaries with others who share your space

Many of us share our homes with significant others, children, family or roommates who are now also around for the whole day. To avoid a BBC dad scenario, it’s important to communicate and set boundaries so that you can focus during work hours and meetings.

“Communicate to others in the house when you are not available or have meetings, so they know they need to be a little quieter,” says Alain Defrasne, our Manager of Product Support based in Marseille, France.

“The most important thing is communication with those living with you – family members and/or roommates. Clarifying each others’ expectations, setting boundaries and being patient will go a long way for keeping stress levels low and mutual understanding high, which in turn allows you to focus and work better in your home environment,” says Leslie Weller, our Director of Product Marketing based in San Diego, CA.

2. Create a dedicated office space

A computer screen on a desk.Differentiating your “living” space from your “work” space can go a long way towards establishing a positive work environment and healthy boundaries between life and work.

“You hear it all the time, and I agree – having a dedicated spot that signals to others in your home ‘I’m at work now’ is helpful. This could be a certain place at the kitchen table or closing your bedroom door, or even a dedicated home office. I’m not in my work space 100% of the time, but I get all my focus work done there,” says Leslie.

“If possible, having a location to work where you can close the door can help you concentrate or have quiet time to focus when needed,” says Alain.

Personally, I share a 600 square foot apartment with my partner and we only have one desk. He often takes the desk while I work at the kitchen table (because of the superior access to snacks, obviously). This way, we can also both be on conference calls at the same time if we close the kitchen door.

3. Stay connected and communicate

A Twitter post of a team meeting.

Now that we don’t see our colleagues face-to-face nearly as often, it’s more important than ever to stay connected.

“Slack, Zoom, Skype, Email. Stay connected to colleagues. Every job will have different frequency needs for how often you need to virtually meet. Staying in contact will keep you aligned and working together,” says Leslie.

Going a step further and communicating to your team when you’re available or not, especially if your team members work in different time zones or have different schedules, can help collaboration go smoothly.

“The most important thing is to maintain good communication. Your team should always know what you are working on when it affects them and vice versa you need to know what your team is working on when it affects you,” says Peg Pfeifer, our Web Developer based in Berlin, Germany. “By the way, a little humour always helps. Don’t forget to laugh together in between!”

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting.

Maintaining our camaraderie with our coworkers is really important for staying motivated and for our mental health, especially at a time when it’s difficult or impossible to have social interactions in person.

Our Canto US team is still having weekly all-hands meetings over Zoom to keep that strong sense of company culture that we’re proud of! We even celebrated a birthday over Zoom, although our video conferencing singing skills are…questionable, to say the least.

We’ve also been really happy to see customers using Canto to stay connected as they move to remote work! We know it’s been tough, so we are proud to help our customers adapt to this new reality.

4. Set concrete goals for each day

Working from home requires more self-direction and motivation. To keep yourself focused, it can be helpful to set a small number of major goals or priorities for each day.

“Set 3 priorities to focus on for the day. Since you are mostly alone all day when working from home, it’s important to be better organized,” says Alain.

5. Stick to your routines

A coffee cup that reads 'Begin'.While some folks think the best perk of working from home is working in pajamas, maintaining your morning routine and changing into ‘work’ clothes can help you feel mentally prepared for the day.

“Brush your teeth, do your morning routine, and get dressed,” says Jonathan Laylo, one of our Sales Development Representatives based in Seattle, WA.

Waking up and going to sleep at consistent times can also establish a sense of normalcy and help you feel well-rested and energized for work.

6. Don’t forget about self care!

A person drinking coffee and reading a book.Studies have shown that employees who work at home often end up working longer hours. With many of us now practicing social distancing and not venturing outside as much, that’s probably even more so the case.

It’s great to focus your energy towards work, which can give us a sense of purpose and stability during these uncertain times, but don’t forget to practice self care so that you don’t burn out!

“Remember to take regular breaks. To be honest, I tell myself this every day and it comes back to me after I’ve programmed 6 or 7 hours in a row. There are useful apps that pop up on the screen after certain times and remind you to take a break. 10 minutes off-screen can often help and exercise is also good in between – just take out the garbage or unload the dishwasher. If you take a longer break, change your status so that your team knows that you are not available now,” says Peg.

Another tip Peg has is to use dark mode settings on your computer and apps to help save your eyes if you stare at screens all day.

When you step away from your work for the day, try to fully unplug if you can and make time for activities to help you unwind, such as exercise, reading a book, catching up on TV shows or FaceTiming your loved ones.

There you have it – our top tips from working from home. We wish your team the best in getting through this pandemic, and if Canto can help in any way, feel free to give us a shout!