‘Working From Home’ was once the dream but has become the uncomfortable reality office workers across the world are now forced into as part of governmental social distancing measures.
Working alone, however, doesn’t have to mean feeling alone.
As an environmental company we’ve always practiced remote working to keep our environmental impact as low as possible. This has stood us in good stead to be able to cope with the working changes brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, so we thought it would be nice to pass on some of our knowledge, experience and tips.
We have found communication is one of the key things to master when it comes to remote working, so achieving this successfully is going to be one of your biggest challenges. But get it right, and you’ll never look back!
Communicating via video call will bring that sense of personal interaction that you may well otherwise be lacking. Most people are amazed at how quickly they adapt from in-person contact to video.
The system that works really well for us is Whereby. It is free to set up a “room” in which up to 4 people can be in at any one time, and the pro version (paid version, but reasonably inexpensive) extends this to allow up to 12 people to be on a call.
The setup process is seamless – you just go to https://whereby.com/ and create a room and then share the link with your team – anyone with the link can join the call directly from their browser. You can also download the app and join in a call from there too.
You could also set up a room for keeping in touch with your family.
To help keep track on team progress, and to understand how your work and projects are progressing is also vital to successful remote working.
We use two cloud collaboration tools – Slack and Trello.
Slack is great for instant messaging between team members, where you can also share files and receive automated updates when you connect with other apps like Google Drive. Slack really promotes communication between members and you can set up group chat channels as well as direct messaging for sharing those “sensitive” details.
Trello is very useful for organising project tasks and tracking progress. It’s like having all those sticky notes you have dotted around your desk on one, highly organised whiteboard!
Working remotely has many advantages which can be embraced, even in these unusual times.
Some helpful hints
Don’t ever feel distrusted – carry out your work as you would normally and don’t feel guilty about taking coffee and lunch breaks – in fact these are very important. Also, having the radio on in the background can help you to feel connected with the outside world, and is better than working in a completely silent environment if you are used to noise.
Don’t feel like you must shut yourself in a room away from the rest of your family (unless of course you are self-isolating). It can be nice to involve your family in what you are doing, and get the kids involved if you feasibly can.
Work near a window if you can to get natural light, some fresh air and connect with the outside world.
Change up your workspace! Just as an office seating plan changes now and again, refresh the decor, get some plants or wall art, change rooms or move the desk around.
Don’t neglect face-to-face social contact with non-colleagues. Despite the current social distancing guidelines, FaceTime, WhatsApp call and Messenger video call are still available if you’re isolating.
Make time for physical activity, without a commute it’s easy for the extent of your movement to be from one room to the other. A ten minute walk, jog or Youtube yoga session at lunch will keep your body and mind awake through the day.
This way of working can seem quite challenging if you’ve never done it before, but rather than fear it, embrace it. Feel confident that you are giving your best efforts and give yourself a bit of time to get used to your new routine and working practices.
You can also feel pleased with the emissions you’re saving from not having a morning commute or office overheads!
We hope this is in some way helpful, and we have mentioned the systems we use, but there are plenty of other platforms out there, so just find the ones that work best for you and your team.
Please get in contact with us if you have any questions or we can provide any further advice.
Stay well and safe.
From all the Earth Rewards Team