As a well-travelled IT professional my life is paradoxically the same and different since adjusting to the new remote work climate. As a software sales executive, I am no stranger to remote work, as previously I would be in the office one or two days a week. While some went through an adjustment period when the remote work phase kicked in, for me, it’s business as usual.
Where I struggle with the new world order is no longer regularly travelling as part of my job. This time last year, I was a seasoned road warrior. I am based out of Montreal and cover both Central and Eastern Canada, so my schedule had me frequently travelling back and forth between Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. Add to that manufacturer sales conferences in the US and I was almost always working out of hotels, airports, or other people’s offices.
As a remote worker who has come to adjust to working from home over the last few months, I want to share my experiences in the hopes you may find them useful or, at the very least, take comfort in knowing you’re not the only one going through it. These are the three key reasons why I have been able to make the transition to remote work so seamlessly.
Having the right tools for the job
I’ve had several people ask me what platforms and devices I recommend for remote work. There are two products that immediately come to mind for me. The first tool that is paramount to collaborating and communicating with customers and coworkers is Microsoft Teams. Many of our customers were planning to make the move from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams earlier in the year and the pandemic has accelerated these transitions exponentially. It is a tool that takes the entire O365 ecosystem and puts it to work in one application with security at the center of its makeup.
The second is Microsoft’s Surface Book. I’m still blown away by how Microsoft made the mobile experience seamless and reliable with this powerful device. The double battery and the tablet/keyboard functionality make it a superior device that is now my go-to for helping me accomplish all of my tasks each day.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Finding a work-life balance in the new work-from-home reality is probably my biggest challenge through all of this. One strategy that helps me is disconnecting from work at the end of the day. Once I finish the tasks I want to achieve for any given day, it is time to transition both mentally and physically from work. For me, this means stepping away from my phone and laptop at my remote workstation and going to spend time with my family.
I cherish the time of the day where I am a husband and father. I must admit it’s very tempting to respond to a quick email from time to time, but it can soon become a slippery slope towards spending hours in my inbox. I have come to realize that drawing a thick line between work time and family time has helped me adjust.
Give yourself small breaks
In my role as a software sales executive, there are days when I am on video conference calls with customers or my team members for the majority of my day. Video calls can often feel much more draining compared to in-person meetings due to the psychology of being hyper-aware that we are on camera and try to maintain proper body language by looking into our video preview windows.
I have heeded the advice of our CEO, Harry Zarek, who suggests starting half-hour calls five minutes after the hour and finishing one-hour meetings 10 minutes before the hour. This allows you a much-needed mini-break where you can catch up on e-mails or enjoy a few minutes of sunshine and fresh air before jumping on to the next video call.
I know it’s now a tired cliché to suggest that we’re all in this together but there is a lot of truth in it. If anyone would like to reach out and talk, please don’t hesitate. It could be about work or it could be about life. It doesn’t matter. We need to be here for each other so drop me a line anytime.