It’s been roughly 10 working days since the team decision was made to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While we all have experience working remotely in some capacity it’s important to acknowledge that going from an office environment to 100% remote working will take adjust time and there will be pains, Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. Working on an entirely remote basis presents unique challenges for everyone. On one of our many internal calls everyone from the Dublin office shared their tips for remote working success, we thought we would share them with the world.
Home Workouts are essential to me. I’ve been doing my best to stay fit doing full-body High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts at home, if staying motivated is a challenge for you, get on a video call with a friend to stay accountable.
Hydration is key. In an office environment it’s easy to get up and consistently fill up your water, I’ve found that when working from home I can forget to consistently drink water. What I have started doing is first thing in the morning filling up my 2.2 L bottle of water and drinking at least 2 of them a day. Also a good Spotify playlist is a must, here is what i’ve been listening to religiously the last few weeks.
I’ve found solace in the fact that everybody is in the same boat in the company right now. One of the best additions we have made is the company wide check-in. Thrice a week we meet to chat, virtually mingle and update each other of all the tasks and challenges we are encountering. This simple stand-up ensures everybody doesn’t feel too disconnected to one another whilst also providing some much needed human interaction during the week. Satellite meetings often spawn from these meet-ups as team members come away fresh with ideas on how to best collaborate with one another and set new company and project goals together. Companies that are built around trust – like Intouch – really prosper when given a challenge such as a company wide WFH. This whole situation has shown me the value of enabling your team to feel ownership of your product, which in turn leads to a greater dedication and overall focus no matter what circumstances lie ahead.
I try to regularly have on calls with members of the Intouch team to discuss projects and work as if we were at the office together. This is also more formally done multiple times a week, where we continue to partake in “standups”. This is where we each go through what we are currently working on and need to get done in the coming days in order to keep everyone up-to-date and clued into each members tasks.
In addition to keeping up to date with work, I also try to stay in touch with my friends and family throughout the day and will often video call them to touch base and have a laugh. It’s very easy to keep thoughts internal at this time. I find it helpful to continue sharing some jokes, problems and random ideas over the phone as I would usually do in more ‘normal circumstances’.
Another thing I try to do is maintain a level of routine throughout my day. I start my day at 6:30am with some exercise. Before 9, when the home office officially opens, I try to spend a few minutes to plan the day and create a simple ‘to-do’ list. This allows me to focus my time during the day and allocate sufficient time for what is needed.
Have the right tooling in place to facilitate communication – so that it doesnt always require a verbal update. Somewhere where everyone can get a quick up to date view on what everyones immediate focus is – (not entire backlogs or to do lists) Monday.com for example allows us to communicate what each team is working on… and allow us to comment or make requests directly on items while keeping others informed.
Keep and maintain a routine – structure meetings well, structure your time well, and being protective of your time means being more intentful and deliberate about what you spend/invest time on. Not having a routine can lead to a lot of wasted time or procrastination and lack of focus.
Having worked remotely for the last 2 years or so the most important thing for me is routine. This goes from waking up at the same time, avoiding staying in pyjamas and consistently exercising daily. I’m lucky that I have multiple pets who keep my on my toes as active and make for great company during weekly standups!
Be productive, but don’t beat yourself up if you think you aren’t being productive enough. I’ve worked remotely for 8 months at this point in my time with Intouch, so I’ve learned over that time how to keep myself involved with my coworkers overseas and how to keep myself on track and productive. When I first started working remotely, I was always concerned that my coworkers and bosses would think I was slacking the whole time because they couldn’t physically see me working. Just remember that as long as you do your job and deliver what is expected of you(going above and beyond doesn’t hurt), then you have nothing to worry about.
I’ve heard a lot that keeping a routine is good, but I would also like to argue that switching your routine up every once in a while will help you keep your sanity
In this situation, it is important to remember that self-quarantining could last a while. Don’t go into everyday thinking it’ll be over tomorrow. If you know you are going to be working this way for a while you will be mentally prepared for it. It is important to remember that it will end and it is ok to look forward to when it does end.
Change your mentality – It is SUPER easy right now to say “Wow this situation sucks and I can’t wait for it to be over”. Changing your perspective on an issue can help tremendously. There are a laundry list of great advantages to working from home (including taking care of that laundry you were too tired to do after getting home from work previously)
• No commute
• Increased time with family, friends, or pets.
• Don’t have to pack a lunch/worry about meal prepping
• For some reason (I’m not complaining), everyone wants to do a virtual happy hour, and who doesn’t like to drink and talk about non-work banter with coworkers?
Although I have been working remotely for a long time a few tips I have for those that are new to it are.
• Aim to get into a good routine from the start
• Get up get at the same time or maybe have an extra 30 minutes in bed, have your breakfast as usual in the same place (not at the laptop),
• Maybe use the time that you would have been commuting for exercise
• Dress for work as this reinforces the difference between being at home and working from home
• Start work at the same time
• Take structured breaks / lunch
• Finish at the same time
Practice makes perfect, what we have found to be successful is consistency. Expect to get some things wrong and tweak things as you realise what works for you. Theres no such thing as over communicating, we’re all in it together so sending non work related messages, having 15 minute “coffee” breaks on Zoom or a happy hour beer allows us to stay sane.