Remote working –  Our five favourite tips

Thousands of people are now working from home. People who have never worked remotely are doing their best to do a great job and keep business moving forward in these challenging times. But the reality is, it’s not always easy and the sense of isolation can be hard.

Over the last week, we have been hearing some great ideas to help you stay connected, ensure productivity and possibly even have a laugh!

1.Communication is Key

A core element of successful teamwork is clear communication. Clarity of expectations and the desired end goal is key as the ‘message’ can be lost in email or a slack type instant messages.  It is often harder to gage the context of situations as you are not face to face with your colleagues. Take time to speak, ideally over video.

Video calling is a brilliant way to communicate face to face without being in close proximity. A survey conducted by Lifesize showed ‘90% of respondents say video makes it easier to get their point across’ . There are great free tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google hangouts and Cisco Webex. Daily team meetings via video calls so all members can engage and contribute and interact are powerful. Ensure everyone has clear goals and objectives for the day.

Instant messaging is great to remain in constant contact but don’t use it as a replacement for a real conversation.

The use of tools like Google docs and Microsoft teams are valuable where teams are collaborating to ensure everyone is up to speed and on track with tasks and projects.

2.Stay true to company culture

Company culture is difficult to translate through remote working. Finding ways to keep your culture alive remotely is challenging but not impossible.

Celebrate the small wins, let everyone know when something goes well for one of your team or colleagues. Recognition for hard work is motivating and sharing positivity will result in a sense of loyalty and belonging. Professional milestones and individual achievements should be celebrated as they would be in spite of working remotely.

3.Have fun

Invite someone to a ‘virtual lunch‘. You and your sandwich, them with theirs. Video or FaceTime. Add wine if appropriate.

Form3 have set up Interactive weekly events – a video quiz every Fridays, activity/group exercise sessions such as yoga classes and video book clubs/gaming events.

Our own Lee Walker is running a ‘plank off’ competition on Friday.

Invest the time you would normally spend commuting,

Continue your personal development. Invest the time you would normally spend commuting. Subscribe to an online training platform to learn or hone your skills. Watch free online content on how to improve ‘you’. We love TED talks and subscribe to several podcasts and love Pete Cohen and The Tim Ferris show

Invest time in ‘you’. Go back over some of your previous training manuals. Have they been opened since you went on the course? Have you done all the things you said you were going to do?

4.Work in sprints

Working in the confines of your kitchen, or from your sofa could become stifling. We have long been advocates of working in 2 hour sprints and the need to take a regular break from your desk and monitor. Having a clear ‘to do’ list with a focus on outcomes gives  a great sense of satisfaction. Check out the Pomodoro Technique – it is a nice way to work. Encourage people to step away from their laptop at least every hour.

5.The future

Maybe this is the catalyst we all need to reinvent the world of work.  Despite the barriers to success, remote working has evident benefits. Research from FlexJobs has shown 77% of people say that working from home has Improved their overall health and wellbeing. Furthermore, 99% of remote workers would like to continue with working remotely at least part-time for the remainder of their careers according to Buffer’s research. Remote working can therefore be advantageous to a team despite of the possible obstacles.

Whatever challenge you and your team face, dealing with it together is the most positive thing you can do. Stay well.