The Home Team Advantage: Top 5 Best Practices for Working from Home

Gloria Salinas, Managing Director, Economic Development

The Dallas Regional Chamber—like many employers—began mandating a work-from-home policy to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In early March, the DRC team joined millions across the world in setting up home offices, adjusting to restructured teams, and plugging in to new technology systems to stay connected and productive.

While most everyone can agree on the many perks of working from home, such as no commute and more time for family, exercise, and cooking, there are still challenges that arise during the time of a global pandemic. Dallas County residents and many regional employees are now completing week one of a shelter-in-place mandate that comes with more restrictions and stress on daily life.

To assist our member companies and the many remote workers in the market, the DRC team curated a listing of the best work-from-home practices for both employers and employees.

We’ve rounded up the top five best practices for employers working to create agile, effective teams who will remain resilient in the future, and the top five best practices for employees to establish good habits while staying productive and sane during a crisis.

For Employers:

  1. Create small, rapid response teams: Small teams are more empowered to make quick decisions, communicate easier, and change direction rapidly when needed. Smaller teams also provide autonomy, which spurs leadership, ownership, and creativity. Core teams should include public relations and communications to handle internal and external messaging, legal and regulatory to understand and advise the organization on risk and exposures, and an operational response team to handle everything else, including providing facts for the other teams to move forward with decisions.
  2. Collaborate: The ability to work across teams is crucial both during a crisis and in recovery. Teams should be cross-functional and establish leaders to move between projects and issues quickly.
  3. Keep regular meetings: Set up regular virtual meetings to bring structure, connectivity, and a sense of normalcy to the workday. Also take the time to review communications, structure, and emergency policies.
  4. Create a virtual team culture: Create a transparency among leadership and employees to engage in discussions around the work-from-home environment. Be empathetic to technology issues, needs for proper equipment, and protecting data.
  5. Communicate stress management resources: Management should be patient and flexible in understanding each employee is adjusting to a different work/life balance. Some are adjusting to technology, while others are caregivers or have children at home. Stress management assistance plans, waivers for virtual health care visits, and other employee resources should be communicated regularly.

For Employees:

  1. Establish a routine: Start your day with a routine that helps alleviate stress for the rest of the day. Get your kids ready for their day, have your favorite cup of coffee, or try a light exercise such as yoga.
  2. Don’t work in PJs: This is part of establishing a routine to help kick start a productive day. Get dressed and change clothes, even if it’s a new t-shirt or yoga pants.
  3. Don’t work from bed: Designate a proper workspace in your home to help separate work, and establish a start and end time for the day. Use headphones to tune out noise or turn on the TV or music for white noise.
  4. Break up your day: Take short breaks in the day to stretch, conduct breathing exercises, or take a short walk outside.
  5. Stay connected: Use video conferencing to stay connected to coworkers, make a call rather than sending an email, and remember to socialize and chat about non-work-related life, too.

Resources for Employers:

Accenture: Productivity in Uncertain Times Through the Elastic Digital Workplace – A Practical Guide of Actions Your Business Should Take Now

AvreaFoster: How to Maintain Productive Teams Remotely

Boston Consulting Group: How to Remain Remotely Agile Through COVID-19

Boston Consulting Group: COVID-19 Rapid Crisis Response Checklist

PwC: Confidently navigate through the coronavirus crisis

PwC: Protect people and productivity in times of crisis – A C-suite action plan

Littler: COVID-19 Resources for Employers

Resources for Employees:

For fun insights into creating your space and managing time, here’s advice from the creatives at D Custom: D Custom: Remaining a Team: How We’re Working from Home

For more tips on settling in to a work-from-home routine: Jackson Spalding: 10 Tips to Stay Sane While Working From Home