With a lot of the world at a self-isolated standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of companies have asked their employees to work from home until more is revealed about the highly contagious Coronavirus. The option to work remotely is not unusual and it can be highly effective for many industries and sectors, especially in times as uncertain as now.
Here at Associate Events, we have been working dynamically and digitally for years. Our technology, company structure and working environment is already set up to allow us to operate a ‘business as usual’ approach as we continue to provide the services you need as your full-service agency.
The only real noticeable difference will be the temporary suspension of face-to-face meetings, but you never really liked our coffee anyway!
Our message is simple. It may be unusual and challenging times, but we are here for you as usual! We can quack this!
In a ‘duckshell’, we’re on the case.
We are thankful to be able to still run a fully functioning full-service agency, from the comfort of our home, however not all of us are so fortunate. If working digitally is something new for your business and employees, there are many ways you can make this style of working effective for all stakeholders involved.
Read some of our helpful tips you can utilise during this period, and for every time you work from home.
1. Stick to a routine
Now that most of us are working from home, our routines have gone out the window. When working in an office, we rely on our commutes to help prepare us for the day and help us feel ready to get to work once we reach our desks. However when working from home, the lines become blurred and the transition is not as simple.
Keep your sanity and create a new routine for your new normal. Do this by waking up at the usual hour you would for work, and in the time you would usually set off for your commute, opt for a slightly more filling breakfast, or do an hour of reading, a home work-out or maybe meditation. It’s important to note that you should not be working from home in your PJ’s either – not only does it keep you in a relaxed state of mind, but you’ll most likely have video-calls and need to remain professional!
Try and keep to your usual structure, that way you can still get work done and remain in that 'working' habit.
2. Set clear boundaries
Having a place you go to specifically to ‘work’ and is consistently your working area helps you get into the right frame of mind. Avoid working from your bed or being cooped up on the sofa in your living room and choose a designated work area to have a clear separation between 'home' and 'work'.
Creating clear boundaries between ‘working’ and ‘relaxing’ spaces is essential to maintain normalcy in your home and strike a balance. Enforce a cut-off time at the end of the day, to ensure you’re not working non-stop. Set up an area on your kitchen table or organise your home study to work from, in order to keep you focused and working efficiently. It’s also important to optimize your chosen environment to make you comfortable, and feel like it’s a working area.
Many people recommend working in natural light or using plants to create a welcoming atmosphere – whatever works for you, do it – even if that means leaving the dirty dishes on the corner of your desk!
3. Connect using digital technologies
Possibly one of the most important aspects - digital is essential to keeping the clock ticking in the business. There are many apps available to help you stay in touch with everyone and maintain normal control of business operations; you just need to find what works best for you. One of the main drawbacks working from home is the feeling that you are cut off from the larger operation in the office. With the help of technology, you can stay connected with your team, clients and suppliers.
From videoconference calls and instant messaging, many conversations can be done digitally and are often just as productive as real life, face-to-face meetings. Maintain communication with your colleagues by scheduling FaceTime, Google Meets or Skype calls regularly, to ensure everybody is on-track and aware of expectations or any deadlines. It helps to see the other persons face, as body language and facial expressions play a big part in our daily communications, so avoid cutting it out completely.
From updating your working hours, scheduling in times to catch-up with colleagues using digital diaries and more – use digital to effectively plan, co-ordinate and communicate with your team to make remote working, work for everyone.
Using other technology services such as Horizon, you can still receive incoming calls to the office and make client leads. Despite being away from the office itself, using digital means you can divert everything to your mobile so that you aren’t missing any important calls.
4. Take short breaks
It’s important to take regular breaks as the motivation to work can sometimes rise and dip. Regular short breaks helps to boost focus and drive, so take a 10-minute walk every now and then to give your brain a chance to rest and re-charge.
With the COVID-19 crisis keeping everyone indoors, this also means many of us will be working in a full house. Naturally, there will be other priorities, such as kids or elder family members, who may need to be seen to and looked after for short periods in the middle of the working day.
One of the great aspects about working from home is you get to structure your working hours around your own productivity and these other tasks. Take time to carve out a good balance between taking these breaks and maintaining productivity. Start a bit earlier, or finish a bit later – but ensure you are getting the work done as expected. It will also help to put certain daily tasks such as ‘kids lunch’ in the shared diary, so that your teammates know when you are and are not contactable.
5. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
As the old adage goes, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail. It is no wonder why this modern proverb has continuously been cited, as it really does speak truth.
Using a planner to log all tasks and activities should be something you do even when you’re in the office, as it makes for more efficient working. However, when working from home, it becomes even more crucial as you’re not just stuck with working tasks, but possibly some responsibilities too.
Avoid forgetting to run a lunchtime errand or completing one of your tasks and get into the habit of writing To Do lists to keep track of deadlines, appointments, meetings, chores and more. Using a task management system or simply a planner to organize everything you need to complete into projects, you can attack each brief head-on one at a time in a systematic manner. Plan the work and work through the plan, to make for easy breezy working days.
Following these tips, we hope it makes for (remote) teamwork to make the dream work!
We wish all our clients, partners, stakeholders and their families the very best over the coming months and if there’s anything else we can do to help support you, please get in touch using the normal methods!
From concept to delivery – we’ve got it covered! Give us a call on 0116 464 5995 or send us an email to email@example.com.