Many of us could not have envisaged finding ourselves working from home for such a prolonged period, and many of us were not prepared. For some teams, emergency laptops and phones were sent home, some even had boosters put on their internet packages to account for an increase in use.
To be productive in our home working environments, we need to explore and utilise technologies we may not have used before at the office. These are just some musings that our team at Jersey Road, and me personally have found help with making home working easier and fun!
Try Zooming with a difference
I probably don’t need to convince you that Zoom is a great video conferencing system, but a lot of us are already feeling the “Zoom fatigue”. Staring at a screen for ages isn’t fun, but our team have recently implemented ‘Mindfulness Mondays’, ‘Workout Wednesdays’ and ‘Fun Thursdays’ where we use Zoom to make each meeting a little different, it stops the fatigue, and makes the team meeting just a little bit more fun! I also am trying to do some Zoom calls standing up, or outside, just to change my environment!
Recreate a live office environment
While none of us is able to swing our chair round to our colleagues desk to ask a question, keeping a chat function open with your teams can help recreate that office interaction. Apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams, or even WhatsApp or iMessage for smaller teams, encourage us to keep up that office banter, and ask questions with a quick response - sometimes saving another zoom call!
Share files easily
Remote working does have some issues when servers can’t be accessed remotely. Usually you can get around this by getting your IT department to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. But through applications such as Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Microsoft Teams, and even Slack, Asana and Teamwork you can easily share project files you’re working on within your team and most have version control.
Having a team calendar during the season will really help your dynamic as a team. It’s not a way for your team or boss to keep an eye on what your doing or keep tabs on you, but putting things into a team calendar helps your team understand your workload, or the right time to drop you a call, or when you’re on A/L or TOIL, it also allows your team to see when everyone’s birthdays are so we can celebrate together…virtually!
Stay on Top of your to-do lists
Apps such as Slack, Monday, Trello, Teamwork and Asana are so useful in this time. I am a big fan of a paper to-do list, but having my to-do list tagged under projects and setting deadlines against them really helps me think about how to structure my week and where my priorities are. These apps are also very useful for team project management and chats!
Increase focus and block distractions
I get so easily distracted, by my phone, by the dishwasher needing filling, by my stomach rumbling. I will start on one task then see an email and embark on a whole different task! I haven’t found an app to help with this one yet, but one thing I have found helps is closing all windows, tabs, documents, even emails that don’t relate to the task you’re working on. Then once complete, close down and start on the next one.
Book in your breaks
Working from home isn’t, and shouldn’t, be like a normal working day. We shouldn’t be glued to our chairs for 8 hours straight and taking a long break in the middle of the day. If you can, use your phone or if you have them use smart lights, to signal that it’s time to take a short break. I use my Alexa, she turns off my music every 40mins so I know to take a break away from my screen, even a short walk to the other room to turn her back on, provides me with a little brain space.
Working from home offers so much more opportunity to work outside of working hours. Make sure that at the end of the day you shut your computer down, close the door on your office space, or like me you turn your dining room table back into a dining room table at the end of each day. You can also time your phone to be on do-not disturb for a certain amount of hours, or use. Use Parental controls on your own phone, set it up so you can’t click on the ‘mail’ app after 6:30pm or something.
Many people are realising the plethora of technologies that makes working from home possible, but it’s a big step up for a lot of us. Hopefully our experience will encourage other teams through these uncharted waters!
Esther Jolliffe, Account Manager, Jersey Road PR
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