Yup, it’s me … you’re probably wondering how we ended up here … in 2023 … still working from home.
Three years ago, I shared an article called “Working from Home — Tips from a Remote Worker,” hoping to highlight some tips and tricks for adjusting from being in the office to working from home. By now, we’ve all gotten used to working from home. However, with remote and hybrid work here to stay for the long run, we’re faced with a new set of challenges.
It’s no longer about “How do I maintain my morning routine?” or “How do I turn my home into my workspace?” (Well, it’s not ONLY about those things). But now we have to tackle problems like “How do we create and maintain meaningful relationships?” and “How do we stay on top of our work?” and “How do we avoid Zoom burnout?”
Here are my updated tips from working from home as a remote worker.
1. Fostering relationships
In the summer of 2022, I joined a new, remote team of coworkers — many of whom I had never interacted with in person prior to my start date. Since then, the biggest challenge I have found myself facing is creating and maintaining meaningful relationships. As I’m still establishing my career, networking was one of my top goals for the new role. But how do you do that if you don’t physically see people on a day-to-day basis?
Set up weekly coffee chats
It’s not the same as being in the office, but scheduling dedicated time to have 1:1s will help establish relationships outside of just meetings and day-to-day correspondences. If this sounds intimidating, set up group coffee chats so that you have more people to interact with. This will also allow you to meet a larger number of people. Here at VMware, we use Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub on any device to access our entire corporate directory. I find it to be super useful to locate colleagues, check out my extended teams, and find people to connect with. Call, text, or email in an instant straight from the app.
Volunteer to help with projects for other teams
Since meeting people on coffee chats, I’ve learned more about their roles and have brainstormed ways to lend my knowledge to their projects. This has helped expand my understanding of our team, while giving me a reason to follow up and strengthen the relationships I started forming through those coffee chats.
Sign up for a corporate mentor–mentee program!
If your company offers an internal mentor–mentee program, this is a GREAT way to network. You’ll meet people you would not have otherwise met while also practicing leadership skills. Mentor–mentee relationships are meant to be more personal, and since most corporate programs match you based on your wants and needs, you are guaranteed at least one meaningful relationship outside of your direct team.
2. Staying on top of our work
With working from home comes the tough challenge of mixing our workspace with our living space. While it may have seemed easy (enough) at first, staying engaged and on top of our tasks can become more difficult over time, especially without face-to-face daily interactions. Luckily, with the help of VMware Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub, we can manage tasks with ease! Here are a couple features that simplify my digital employee experience (DEX) as a remote worker:
Unified App Catalog
The Workspace ONE App Catalog is essentially my landing page for Intelligent Hub. Applications drive our day-to-day workload, and it still amazes me to see the extensive number of applications our customers and VMware employees use. Our catalog has hundreds of native, SaaS, and virtual apps. Luckily, we have easy-to-use categories enabled to make searching a breeze. One of my favorite features is the ability to mark my favorite apps. This functionality pops them up in the App Catalog. So as soon as I sign into Intelligent Hub, I can immediately access what I need. Lastly, our VMware IT team has set up “New” and “Recommended” features, as well as the ability to promote applications on the top of the page.
These are popular features for our customers who use Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub, and I find that they enhance my efficiency every day as well. Research shows that workers spend more than 50% of their time searching for relevant work files. Intelligent Hub takes the guesswork out of searching for something and keeps all my most used applications in one easy-to-access space.
Single sign-on (SSO) from Intelligent Hub
I can access my apps, email, and anything else I need from any device, including my phone! No need to remember hundreds of passwords — phew! Afternoon *hot girl walks* have never been easier since I can access anything and everything I need at my fingertips. For more secure applications, our customers have the option to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an additional security precaution.
Remember when you’d go to the office, and you’d have to wait forever for tech support? With Intelligent Hub’s self-service, I can address issues I’m facing immediately, boosting my productivity even when I’m working from home. Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub has everything you need: from helping you find the answers to questions to troubleshooting your technology for work, and even setting up new mobile devices or laptops. (This made my remote onboarding a breeze!) The support tab helps employees solve most common problems while also allowing them to see and manage all their work devices. This could be registering new devices, whether BYO or corporate, and more. If I need further help, I can also connect to VMware helpdesk with our world-class Workspace ONE Assist. Check out this site to learn how customers can reduce downtime and maximize employee experience with Assist.
3. Avoiding Zoom burnout
It’s all fun and games until you find yourself sitting through five hours of back-to-back Zoom meetings. While there are many perks to being able to work from home, no one tells you the toll staring at a screen takes. Here is what’s worked for me when I start to feel the burnout.
Trying to establish a routine as much as you can
At the office, I always started my day making coffee and grabbing fruit from the break room, then sitting outside while I planned out my day and week. I would also make sure to go get lunch around mid-day and go on a short walk around 3 p.m. These three things helped me be more active while also giving me much needed time away from my computer. At home, I try to do the same thing.
Setting hourly reminders to get up and get water
Dehydration is probably one of the most common things I’ve noticed about working from home. I set hourly reminders on my phone to get up and drink water. This helps me stay hydrated, but also helps me sneak in a few extra steps and a little extra movement during the day.
Take advantage of hybrid work options
If you can get to an office, mix up your weeks and head into the office! Since we’re WFH, sometimes it’s difficult when you muster up the energy to get to the office and find it empty. Message your colleagues and plan a lunch or activity ahead of time that gets people excited to come to work!
At VMware, we are driven to continue to develop and deliver tools that improve digital employee experience (DEX). Learn more about our approach to DEX here. I hope you find these tips helpful and applicable to your day-to-day lives. It’s human nature to learn and adapt, and we will adjust to this new normal as well. Small steps lead to big changes, and with that we can become our best selves in any environment.