Master Working From Home With These Tips From Nick Shah
November 21, 2022
VENTEUR spoke with Nick Shah, Founder, President, and CEO of Peterson Technology Partners, about working from home. With his relationship-focused mentality and technical expertise, Shah has earned the trust of Fortune 100 companies across the US for their technical staffing needs.
How vital are comfort and quiet when working from home, and why is this the case?
Comfort and quiet are essential for working, not just from home but in any work environment. Working from home requires you to create a professional home-work environment in the comfort of your surroundings.
In any professional setting, you need to be free from distractions and free to focus on the tasks at hand. No matter where people choose to work, including non-home environments, that's universal.
What are three out-of-the-box tips you can share to help our readers working from home create a space that works for them, and why these three?
These ideas came from one of my team members, who also happens to be a mother of a 2-year-old, so I know they work!
1. Create Boundaries
Setting temporal and spatial boundaries is rule number one with home offices. Let your family know that work time is work time and that you are not to be disturbed during it.
Also, take the time to define your workspace (a desk and table affair or some other setup that speaks to you) with items you need to succeed. Then, work only within this space.
2. Eliminate Phone Messages
Turn off the non-stop notifications on your phone. Set time limits for when to check different accounts that need your attention.
3. Invest in a Good Chair
You'd be surprised, but a comfortable chair, with good support, can get you focused and working far better than you realize.
How can people working from home avoid meeting fatigue, and does this change from the employee to the executive level?
If your role defines how often you have meetings, then yes. Executives will have more meetings and be more prone to meeting fatigue. For example, I run a staffing company, and my recruiters meet with clients, candidates, and consultants daily. In their case, meeting fatigue is almost inevitable.
A few simple tips I use are:
Avoid Back-to-Back Calls
Break up meetings with activities you can do alone. This could be reading reports, writing emails, preparing pitches, etc. If multiple calls are inescapable, turn your camera off for a few of them. Being on-screen constantly is also fatiguing. This will help you relax a little.
Eat on Time
Simple but effective. There used to be days at the beginning of the lockdowns when I lost track of mealtimes or skipped meals between calls and other work. Those were always the days when the meetings seemed most tiresome. Keeping my energy up is the best way to keep my mind focused during sessions.
Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Nothing is more tiring than a Zoom call that rambles on with no real purpose. Stick to a set agenda and stay on point.
How can business leaders ensure that productivity remains high while working from home and operating under a decentralized working model, and why might these strategies work best?
Institute robust process and project management systems. Online and decentralized collaboration is a big part of any remote working strategy. Complete process and project management guidelines will help keep everyone on track with minimal supervision. This could be something as simple as a Kanban board that everyone can use.
Communication. Communication. Communication. Since remote working eliminates the possibility of frequent in-person interactions, encourage your team to communicate frequently. Reinforce important messaging via multiple mediums.
How can business leaders ensure that productivity remains high while working from home and conducting all interactions online?
Set measurable goals and KPIs. Working from home gives employees greater autonomy and expects more from them regarding goal setting. Set mutually agreed, measurable, and quantifiable goals and KPIs to help them develop more achievable results.
How can businesses adequately protect sensitive information while employees work from home, and why might these ways not work?
Implementing effective cybersecurity practices is the key to protecting any organization's remote or office data. Some fundamental practices you can adopt are:
Data encryption protocols: Make the following encryption protocol mandatory on all work-related devices. Encrypt all company devices.
Invest in cybersecurity awareness training: Make it a mandatory part of your onboarding process and have regular refreshers.
Control and limit access: Especially with employees working with sensitive data.
Engage a cybersecurity consultant: They can help you periodically review and update your cybersecurity systems and protocols.
A famous adage amongst cybersecurity experts is that your cybersecurity is only as strong as your weakest link and the weakest link is always human. There is no gain in saying human error sometimes. You need to train your people to be as vigilant as possible and help them with expert advice and upgraded technological solutions.
How can leaders adapt their organizational culture and employee engagement with a hybrid or work-from-home environment?
Have the process in place before you implement it. Going hybrid instantly is a bad idea. Identify the roles that would best benefit from such a system, do dry runs with a small team first, try permutations of remote and in-office days, and have the policy to dictate the process. There are many ways to take your organization online. Make sure you're using the model that works best for you.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Stay positive and work hard! Ride the business waves. The journey can be a lot of fun!
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