One of the positive things that comes out of this time will be an appreciation for working remotely. It’s something forced upon millions of people. But when things have quieted down, we will look back and be thankful that we learned some new skills and built some new habits.
Many people in your congregation suddenly find themselves working from home, and it will be a big adjustment. In addition, thousands of parents are unsure about how they are supposed to do their job from home while being a parent at the same time. It’s a strange new world for a lot of people.
And you might be facing this challenge yourself.
Many churches are encouraging staff members to work from home. While there are some challenges, it’s a good thing.
- No commute.
- Comfortable environment.
- Fewer distractions. Okay, at least different distractions.
- Not spreading viruses.
I believe many churches will see the value of working remotely and will continue to offer it as an option to employees, at least some days.
Let’s talk about some ways to make it work for you.
There are so many tools and services that make it possible for a lot of people to work from home. Here are some of the most popular tools.
- Slack – This is the #1 work messaging platform and it works great to stay in touch throughout the day.
- Basecamp – This is a project management and communication tool. Many people like the “all in one” nature.
- Microsoft Teams – Chat, file-sharing, video calling, plus the Office Suite built right in.
There are plenty of others: Asana, Trello, Monday.com, and the list goes on and on. The bottom line is there are tools and services to help you manage nearly every aspect of working remotely.
Experiment quickly with a few tools but go ahead and make a decision. A lot of tools will work for you and the sooner you start mastering some, the more effective you will be.
Psychology of Working From Home
The biggest challenges in working from home are not choosing the right tools but developing a new pattern. Many people in your church are struggling through this. You might be facing it, too.
Church Fuel began as a remote company and working from home is in our DNA. Here are some things I’ve learned first-hand along the way.
1. Set a schedule.
Even if you don’t have to be “in the office” at 9am, determine a schedule and stick to it. Work/home boundaries can be tough when it’s all the same thing so start with your schedule. Run your morning routine, get dressed, and go to work just like you’re working in an office.
2. Create a work space.
Whether you have a home office or find space for a desk in the corner of a room, create a space that’s dedicated to your work. Not only will this help you reinforce your routine, it will help others in your house understand when you’re at work and when you’re at home.
3. Get support and buy in from others in your home.
Speaking of others in your house, this just might be the most important thing. If you’re working from home and there are others in the house, you need to help them understand and support your work reality. You need boundaries so you can focus on work and not get distracted with laundry, entertainment or projects. But others need to understand and support your space, too.
4. Stay connected.
One of the toughest things for people leaving a traditional office environment to work from home is the feeling of isolation. This is a very real thing.
Remember, the people in your church who are affected by a change in work location are also struggling to stay connected with people. They are more isolated, which means they need connection to their church community even more.
Examples of Tools for Remote Work
Check out the insanely practical tools that churches use to manage ministry teams remotely.
(What about you? Find and share mode ideas online at covid.church)
Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication. Not only is Basecamp an excellent tool, but they set a precedent for company culture. This internal guide is full of helpful advice on working remotely.
27 Apps and Tools for Working Remotely. This is a decent list of several tools and services helpful for those who work remotely.
Critical Components for Working from Home. This resource from Belay (the virtual staffing company we use at Church Fuel for bookkeeping) is great.
Also, check out this list of how to get set up working from home in one week.
Working from home may be new, but you can make it work and make it work well. Have any more tips you’d like to add? Drop them in the comments.