Whilst the narrative around Coronavirus is extremely worrying for many, we hope there will be a silver lining in that it’s forcing the world to think differently about how it approaches working from home.
We’re starting to understand the working world in a much broader sense, taking insights and inspiration from the way everyone – regardless of sector – is working through this pandemic.
Overnight, a ‘work from home’ community has grown into the multi-millions, meaning more people than ever are now rethinking how they work. The advantages of working from home are huge. As are the risks to our mental health if we’re not used to the isolation.
Today we discussed amongst our team and the wider community how to work effectively from home, to stay engaged and to make sure by the end of this crazy time, we’ve made improvements to our daily lives.
1. Embrace technology
There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for the best remote work setup because we all have different jobs. But in terms of communication and project management, there are a number of tools you should be familiar with.
“Google Hangouts has been key this past week in bringing our conversations and video calls to life. It’s free, easy to use, reliable and has a great screen sharing feature which is perfect for presenting project updates” – James Toothill, CTO at Machine Compare.
“Microsoft Teams have been changing lives for us here at Warburton’s. I’ve been on camera with my colleagues for most of the day, working through projects with up to about 10 people at a time. It’s making meetings run more efficiently, and I’m sure we’ll carry on with virtual meetings after this pandemic ends”. – Lucinda Granton, Shopper Marketing Manager at Warburtons.
This video conferencing tool seems to be the hot one if our Instagram feeds are anything to go by (not just because of the funny memes). Zoom is a reliable cloud platform for video, audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.
If you’re a tech or a digital company like ours, you could be forgiven for thinking everyone uses this tool, which isn’t true. For those who don’t know, Slack is a brilliant workplace communication tool where you can message and send files.
There’s also a myriad of cool integrations with tools like Zapier, Jira, and Google.
Most of these tools are free, or there are inexpensive ways to obtain simple versions as a short-term fix.
2. Limit your time on social media to half an hour
“I’m sure all of our WhatsApp groups are a little crazy right now, not to mention the multiple social media channels, news and TV keeping us updated with the latest moves surrounding the outbreak.
Whilst it’s important to keep a level on what’s going on, there’s a lot of fear and anxiety-inducing content that should be limited.
I’ve been trying to keep a check on how much time I’m spending on my phone, and setting breaks in the day for checking in with loved ones and listening to the news” – Emily Dunlop, CMO Machine Compare.
3. Set boundaries for when your day starts and ends
“My biggest problem has always been stopping working from home. You need to set boundaries as to when you’re starting and when you’re shutting down the computer. Otherwise, you’ll be working 14, 15, 16 hours days which isn’t healthy” – Stephen Chapman – Producer / Director at Aside Productions.
4. Treat your morning routine as if you were going to the office
“I find it really important to wake up and treat my morning routine as if I were commuting to the office. If you have time to get out of the house for a quick walk either before or during your lunch hour, it’ll help separate your working day from your home life” – Julia Williams, Senior Consultant at Pitch Consultants.
5. Invest in some noise-cancelling headphones
“OK so for a lot of us, we’re now working at home with partners, parents or children (or all three, you lucky people). If you’re struggling with the background noise, then noise-cancelling headphones will help keep distractions to a minimum” – Ben Findlay, CEO of Machine Compare.
6. Set objectives and outcomes for the day
“I find setting objectives and outcomes for the day ahead is key. I like to break my day into small sprints to ensure I deliver on tasks. We use Teams and have set up groups for sharing information and wins in different channels.” – Andy Almond, Recruitment Partner at The Landing & Tech Velocity.
7. Music playlists and podcasts
“Music is a big one to stay feeling calm and focused, as well as podcasts. Not all work allows you to listen to podcasts, but if there’s any work you can do where you can put your mind into neutral then there are some brilliant podcasts out there on Spotify and Apple”. – Bethany Drummond, Senior Design Consultant at Bright Carbon.
On the whole working remotely can have its benefits, it offers flexibility and freedom from horrific commutes, especially if you travel to big cities like London or Manchester. These are certainly challenging times we’re facing, so we’d like to encourage as much open communication and knowledge exchanges like these as possible.
If you have tips and comments, feel free to send them in.