This is a worrying time for many if not all businesses, but there are a lot of digital platforms available to help businesses try and function without opening their premises. Restaurants and cafes are offering their foods to be delivered instead of dining in, one of our clients is a Physiotherapy clinic who are now offering online consultations via video links even schools are teaching children via online video conferencing software.
With the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more workers have been left with no choice but to work from their homes. This can be a very tricky transition when you’re used to working in an office with your teammates.
So, we wanted to share some of our ways of working to help with the shift in your environment. This also goes for parents of children who are now using their living rooms/kitchens/ bedrooms as classrooms.
Since we started Lucid Digital last year (and while we were setting up in the months leading up to our launch), we’ve always been remote workers and we don’t have any plans on changing that (certainly not anytime soon). Our reason? We want to deliver the best products and services at a rate that clients can afford and by not shelling out for expensive premises every month we’re able to do this.
We’ve picked up a few things along the way that help us to work together as a team even though we’re almost never in the same room!
Tip #1 – Create a workspace
If you have a designated area to sit and work each day, you’re one – more likely to turn up each day instead of grabbing your laptop last minute and trying to find a free spot on the sofa – but you’re also much more likely to be comfortable and not be as easily distracted and want to get up every five minutes. Set up your desk with your computer or laptop, find a comfortable chair. Add a cute lamp, photo frame – make sure you have access to things you would usually use in the office such as your phone, pen and pad plus headphones.
Try and keep your desk clutter free with everything easily accessible. This could be a seat at the kitchen table that you clear away each night before dinner, or your dressing table in your bedroom – try and keep it consistent.
Tip #2 – Get out of your PJs!
Okay so this isn’t as fun as lounging around in your comfies all day like it’s Sunday seven days a week, but that’s the point! To be productive, try and get into a work mindset. Now we’re certainly not saying that us Lucid folk sit in our homes suited and booted everyday (absolutely far from it) but we do make sure that we get up each morning and get dressed in something that we would be happy wearing around our work colleagues.
Save your jammy days for the weekends, you’ll appreciate them more!
Tip #3 – Stay connected
This is so important for us at Lucid, we’re working on projects all the time and liaising with clients, passing feedback back and forth and so we have to ensure that we are able to talk all the time.
As business partners, we only meet perhaps weekly, sometimes fortnightly or on rare occasions monthly and yet we are always in constant contact during our working days. There are tons of free tools out there that can let you stay in touch and organised.
Here are some of the tools that we utilise on a daily basis for keeping in touch:
Slack – great instant messaging tool that is free to use for most of its features or you can choose a price plan that reflects what you need.
We would say that Slack is the number one remote working tool if you haven’t already. You can have one-to-one conversations, set up group chats, you can have chats that are project specific, you can share links, documents, photos. There’s even functionality for video and voice calls.
Google docs and sheets – At Lucid we use GSuite (Google apps for business) which provides us with our email accounts plus a whole host of fantastic extras such Google calendar, Google docs and Google sheets plus loads more.
Anyone with a Gmail account can access these tools, even the free Gmail accounts. These tools are fantastic for working remotely as you can share your document with your teammate(s) and see them editing in real time. There’s no downloading, opening up an app, editing, saving, downloading etc – just open the link and start editing and that’s it! Super quick and easy and super helpful.
Video conferencing – This software is really taking off at the moment with more and more people working from home. At Lucid we have long since traded in our regular coffee mornings for video chats instead. There are several platforms you can use such as Skype, Zoom who have a great free version that allows you to chat to several people at once and all see each other at the same time. You don’t have to spend a fortune, in fact it’s the opposite. Work out what you want to achieve in terms of length of calls, how many participants etc and see which platform is best for your team.
Tip #4 – Be organised and set goals
Setting yourself a working day can really help to eliminate the noise around you. I’ve been sitting there before trying to get on with my work load but then I think, “oh I’ll just put a wash on”, or “I’ll make a start on dinner ready for later” this just didn’t work. I was constantly being distracted by other things that if I were in an office, I wouldn’t be thinking about, so now I religiously set myself a working day and I’m much more disciplined. Write yourself a task list and stick to it. Tools such as Trello are fantastic for adding things you want to do and categorising them. Or, you can go for the good old fashioned pen and paper and tick them off as you do them.
Tip #5 – Work life balance
When you finish in the office for the day, you get up from your desk, walk out of the door and travel home.
Although we’re all guilty of checking our emails out of work hours you’re still separate as you are physically not there. But, now you’re working from home you may find yourself perhaps working longer hours as you aren’t factoring in the travel to and from work or taking a lunch break, or perhaps you’re finding it harder to switch off as now your place of work is where you used to sit and enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day.
It is important to keep work and home separate, you still need to be able to enjoy your house as your home and your place to unwind. Set your hours of work and as per tip #1, your work space and make sure to take breaks away from this work space. Sit in the garden for a cup of tea, or go to a different room for your lunch. Whatever it takes to disconnect for a short while.
Tip #6 At home with the kids
Okay so with childcare not being an option at present this one is a tricky one (especially for me with a very lively almost two year old)!
So, apologies, this isn’t really a tip at all – just a reminder that almost everyone is in this situation. Where possible, shift around working hours slightly so as your evenings are your work time, utilise nap times if you’re lucky enough to have those still.
I’ve had a couple of times already this past week where I have had to explain to clients why they can hear a toddler shouting in the background of a phone call, but I always remember this video and think it could be worse!!
If you have any questions or just want to have a no obligation chat then please do get in touch.