Have you been sent home and told to work remotely? Maybe your workshop or conference was canceled, and you are struggling to deal with what to do now? If you are used to working in an office, it can take some time to get comfortable with working at home. 

Impact360 Alliance is a virtual office. Each of us lives in a different state, and yet we manage to communicate, collaborate, and co-create. How do we do it? Here are some tips and tools.

Working from home is not a vacation, so changing into real clothes helps remind you that you have projects to complete. Select a room in your house to make it into a home base. Just realize that trying to work from the couch will probably lead you to turn on the television and the loss of all productivity. 

Tips:

  • Let a colleague know priorities in the morning and your accomplishments at the end of the day. They don’t have to match!
  • Figure out a way to sit and stand throughout the day.
  • Set and stick to a routine. Don’t forget to eat lunch!
  • Use software tools that accel at collaboration. Try out different ones so you can find one that works best for you.
  • Turn on your camera when involved in a video chat. Face the camera and make eye contact.
  • Make your work visible by posting about it in chat, document it, and share regular updates in meetings.
  • Be willing to jump onto a video call to have a quick conversation if someone needs something. But don’t assume everyone is available all the time.
  • Proactively communicate.

Virtual communication is essential when you can’t walk over to a co-worker’s desk to discuss a project. We have regular meetings not only with our Director but also with each other. Once a week, we have an all-hands meeting to work on group projects. Using video and being able to see the other person’s expressions makes it feel less like you’re separated by many miles.

To properly communicate, you also need the right tools. We use a variety of tools at Impact360. We have also tried some and then decided they didn’t work for us. What works for one company may not work for another. Here is a sample of the tools we use.

Tools:

  • Google Chat– make different rooms based on the subject
  • Google Docs– work on a project and then share it with others to edit or review
  • Google Slides– others can view your presentation and make edits before you share it
  • Notion– take notes, set up tasks, file important notes away here
  • Miro– collaborate on projects using sticky notes
  • Zoom– an excellent tool for video calls

Many companies that offer virtual tools are currently letting workers try them for free. Consider taking a look at what is available and try them out.

If you have a conference, workshop, or training session coming up, reach out to us before you cancel it. We have the experience to help you develop online sessions. Whether you need support with facilitation or assistance with ideas on turning a hands-on experience into one that can be done online, we can help.

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Reducing natural hazard impacts and disaster risk requires better communication and collaboration between researchers and practitioners. We want to hear from you: What are the challenges and victories you encounter with integrating research and practice in your work?

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