Working remotely has been a common thing for digital professionals for probably at least a decade now. However the current situation with Covid-19 finds many other industries embracing this updated method of teamwork. Physical offices are great for obvious reasons such as human interaction, having a boardroom for client meetings or workshops, community building, setting the tone of the organisation & separation of work place and living place. These things can and do contribute to a positive and productive environment, however balance is good.
It might not work for every company or team, but we at SOHO have found that the flexibility of working remotely around 50% of the time, actually adds to productivity overall. It's important that team members are comfortable with this setup however. Here are some tips that we think helps build a productive day of remote work.
Working remotely: Start the day with exercise
Before any work begins, why not go for a run, a walk, or a swim if you're lucky enough to live next to the ocean or a lake. Some people prefer yoga at sunrise, or a trip to the gym. The point is, starting the day with this burst of exercise is not only healthy, but will get you in a calm and positive mood and set you up for the day. For a lot of people, it's also easier to think and reach decisions while being physically active.
It might sound strange, but if working from home, simply dressing in something less comfortable than pyjamas will trigger your brain into work mode. It will be easier to get motivated, trust me 🙂
Create a playlist
Especially for designers or coders, having the right background music is essential. Sometimes silence also works, but for me, jazz or ambient sounds really help with focusing and getting into the flow.
Set a schedule, or to-do list
It's important to organise workflow and set aside and prioritise what needs to get done every day. This normally would be coming daily from a direct manager. Otherwise it's up to the remote worker to decide priorities, trim away less important tasks and set the structure for the day. Google Calendar is a great way to set reminders, add appointments, video meetings etc.
Focus, get in the flow
Commit to an overall sense of focus, self discipline and achievement for the day. Take a look at the to-do list. Keep track of time between the calls and check-ins. Make sure things get done on time and within time. Set up a comfortable chair, desk and office space (with a nice view over the river if possible). Try to limit distractions such as social media. Easier said than done eh? 🙂
Interact while working remotely
Stay in contact with other team members or clients, using video calls or Slack where possible. Good and regular communication is absolutely necessary for maintaining focus, clarity, motivation and team collaboration throughout any project. Probably even more so when the project is being carried out remotely.
Working remotely from different locations
You're a remote worker - take advantage of that and change up your setting once in a while. Work from home some days, others from your favourite coffee shop, some days at a flexible co-working space. Research has suggested (especially for creatives) that humans have a basic need for variety in both work and life. It should also be mentioned that having a "commute" of some level can be a good thing. In addition to the morning exercise routine, it can be healthy and productive to disconnect your living space, to the place where you "get things done".