How to make remote working work: 5 tips from our remote team

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Tips from our remote team

The novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc on a large proportion of society, and business is no exception. Measures to tackle this global emergency have left many governments around the world to take strict measures and enforce lockdowns, and this has led to a massive shift in how we work. Wherever and whenever possible, employers are encouraging or requiring employees to work from home for an indefinite period of time, and to many, this has had a rather disruptive and disorienting effect.  
Working from home takes some getting used to, and that is why as a remote organisation with years of remote working experience under our belt, we wanted to share with you some nifty tips and tricks on how you can stay connected and productive, and maintain balance whilst working from home. Here goes:  

Define your workspace 

It is one thing to go into the office to work when it comes to workspace set-up, but it’s quite another when working from home. Not everyone has a separate office in their home from which they can carry out their work-related tasks, so it’s important to dedicate a spot in your house and some peripherals only for work use when working remotely. Defining your own workspace means you can work more comfortably and with as little distraction as possible, resulting in increased efficiency and higher productivity.  


Set a schedule 

This one may seem like common sense to most since project management and task management play a crucial part in the life of most professionals, but much like everything else, migrating to new environments requires adjustment and this calls for a reassessment of how we operate and carry out our daily tasks. Unlike offices, homes come coupled with a plethora of new scenarios and challenges, such as having to juggle work and looking after your kids or putting up with the activities of flatmates or other family members. Planning ahead with these scenarios in mind is thus crucial to lay out a full-proof plan. 


Take breaks 

When you’re working from the comforts of your own home, it’s very easy to lose track of time. Too often, people slide out of bed and jump straight to work and go on to work for hours without getting up or stopping for breaks, but taking breaks is just as important at home as it is at the office. Take your lunch break in its entirety. Unplug for an hour, get up, move around, schedule breaks with colleagues over a video call and catch up with one another over non work-related stuff. Rest your eyes for a few minutes in between tasks. Remember, you can’t be at your best all the time if you’re working nonstop on something without pausing to allow your brain to recharge. Lack of breaks will ultimately do you more harm than good because you end up so overworked that you become less productive.   


Establish some ground rules with the people in your space 

If you’re anything like us (the majority of us at least), chances are you live with other people, be it other family members or flatmates. Sharing a space with other people can be great...that is, until you have to work. Imagine one of your kids or flatmates decides they want to watch TV so they switch it on, only to turn the volume up to full blast during those blessed/sacred work hours. It is therefore important to establish some ground rules with the people in your household. Finding some kind of middle ground which works for everyone will ensure that nuisances like these do not arise. A distraction and obstacle -free environment is essential to working efficiently and productively.  

Stay connected 

Communication is key -- now more than ever, perhaps. Feelings of loneliness, detachment and alienation are common problems when working remotely, especially when doing so over an extended period of time. Just because you’re not banded together, does not mean that you shouldn’t stay in touch. Interact with each other on a daily basis by chatting with one another and organising video calls, and don’t just do so over work-related matters. Leaders, check up on your people on a regular basis, see how they are doing and inform them of any updates that may impact them directly -- a phone call always goes a long way. Staying connected keeps morale high and a high morale correlates to increased productivity.  

No one is exactly sure how long it will take for things to go back to the way they were, but things are looking more and more promising every day. Until then, it is important for everyone to make the best out of this challenging situation and keep spirits high. Remember, no two teams are the same, so in tackling these tips, it is especially important to keep team dynamics in mind and figure out what works best for you. After all, there is nothing better than formulating your own tailored strategy to help your team thrive.  

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