With social distancing came some changes. I’m sure a lot of people are adapting to working remote. With it being such a prolonged period, the highs and lows may be a bit extreme.

One of the wonderful things about working at BenchmarkONE is how much we all love being around one another. We regularly eat lunch together, and we have our fair share of team activities. Being apart is hard, especially in times of necessary collaboration.

Sure it looks a little different, but just because you’re working remote doesn’t mean you can’t still be a team player. Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to be a team player while your entire team works remotely. 

1. Let Your Team Know You’re There

We use Slack for all our internal messaging, and since we can’t physically see someone enter the office, it’s a great tool to let others know when you’ve clocked in for the day. We often like to give each other a friendly “hello” or “good morning” when we’re logged on, which lets others know we got our work boots on. 

Check-in with one another to make sure things are going okay and to see if any of your coworkers could use some help with some things. It’s easy to get siloed into our own projects in the office, but it’s even easier when we’re working remote. Make sure you make yourself available to others by letting them know you’re around and ready to help.

2. Get on the Phone for the Big Stuff

One of the disadvantages of emails and messages is that tone and delivery is totally lost. Sometimes you could simply be asking a question and you could come off short or angry to one of your coworkers. What’s more, if you have a big request or need to connect on a more detailed project, it just makes more sense to schedule a quick phone call. The last thing you want with an already complicated project is to deliver direction or feedback that gets lost in translation. 

3. Keep Your Schedule Accessible

You may already do this, which is a great rule of thumb. But if you don’t, it’s definitely helpful. We’ve all experienced getting wrapped up in our work and forgetting about an upcoming meeting. Luckily, one of our coworkers also in the meeting reminds us of it. But when you work remote, you can’t rely on the verbal reminder, and honestly, you shouldn’t have to. Keep your Google calendar, or whatever calendar you use, pulled up on your screen so you can regularly toggle back and forth from it to check for upcoming meetings. Being on-time for these remote meetings will go a long way and show your team you’re ready to contribute. 

4. Take a Break

It’s easy to get stir crazy when you’re cooped up inside for weeks at a time. Every day seems like the same, and sure enough, avoiding burnout seems harder and harder to muster. Sometimes, a walk around your neighborhood is necessary for your sanity. Whatever you need to do to take a break, do it. Clearing your head helps give yourself a quick reboot so you can be more focused and attentive later. Make sure you schedule some time for a walk, a short shut-eye, social media break, or a game break so you can give yourself the space you need to be most productive. Just let your team know if you’re stepping away for a moment, so they don’t worry and think you’ve clocked out for the day. 

5. If You Have Downtime, Plan Ahead 

Your schedule might have freed up a bit with the COVID-19 outbreak. Perhaps you had some meetings canceled or projects delayed until further notice. If your schedule is no longer as jam-packed as it once was, look ahead to future projects that could use an early start. You’ll be relieved later down the line when you’ve gotten some of the work done already. Also, reach out to your coworkers to see if you can help lighten their load. Even if they have nothing for you, they’ll be grateful you are making yourself available to them. 

It can be a pretty isolating time. Make sure you take care of yourself but also do your part to let your remote team know that you’re available and there for them.