The transition from central London office, to having the entire company working remotely, has been surprisingly smooth...
Fortunately, we already had processes in place to be able to effectively and efficiently work from home, with most of the work and communication we do being online.
However, with everyone - flatmates, parents, partners and children alike - now sanctioned to work from home as well, new ‘challenges’ have arisen.
There’s the added stress of being the designated flat eight hours a day; acting as a part-time teacher to kids home from school; resisting the urge to take lunch at 11am and scrambling for a valid excuse as to why you don’t want to put your video chat on this time.
So, we've compiled a few WFH hacks for boosting morale and maintaining workflow, while not simultaneously turning into a garbage slug.
Get the atmosphere juuuuust right
Ambiance makes all the difference to productivity. It’s science, or whatever.
Set yourself up somewhere with natural light, or by a window, if possible. If you usually work with dual screens, connect them.
Allocating a designated space to work from each day will help you switch from home-bound to work mode easier. Buy a new or secondhand desk if necessary, recruit a desk plant and perhaps one of those fragrant diffusers you got your mum for Mother’s Day last year.
Step two: ensure you have access to decent internet - if self-isolation isn’t enough to drive you mad, dial-up speed will have you institutionalised.
Thirdly, do not work from your bed. Do not sit on it, in it, under it. Don’t even look at it.
Finally, get dressed out of your pyjamas, and for the love of God, brush your teeth.
Maintain regular comms
At Chip, our main communication channel is Slack, with which we utilise different ‘channels’ for different teams or purposes.
We have a General channel for sending ‘Good mornings’, memes, lunchtime conversations.
We have a Quarantine Crafts channel for sharing weekend projects and boredom busters.
My personal favourite is the Office Music channel, hosting a rather eclectic mix of throwbacks and new releases to get us through the day. Stay ‘tuned’ for a fire Chip playlist to see you through self-isolation coming to your ears very soon...
Scheduling daily video calls
The medium everyone loves to hate.
But, as much as you don’t want everyone to see how you live when not forced to adhere to office attire, relying on passive aggressive emails will ruin relationships.
Reading other people's body language makes conversations flow easier, no awkward pausing on the phone or opportunity for eye rolling.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork. Or is it task management programs that do that?
Setting your team up on a shared online ‘to-do list’ of sorts will help you all stay on the same page, despite the distance between those pages. Streamlining tasks, laying out a clear plan for the day. Priorities.
We use Trello, Jira and Monday, but there are plenty to choose from.
Take an actual break
Step away from your screen, get outdoors, roll out the yoga mat or cook something that requires a little bit more time than a crusty old sandwich.
I know we all get busy, but try not to eat your lunch while behind a laptop. Take ten minutes to be fully present with your meal. Phone down, too.
This goes for abiding by your usual working hours, too. Don’t be logging on at 7:30am if that isn’t what you would do in ordinary circumstances.
Being social while socially distancing, as the name suggests, is tricky. However, we saw it as a chance to get inventive.
Last Thursday, Dana, our superstar Office Manager, hosted a virtual pub quiz, with over 20 participants, with the winning team getting a free (delivered) lunch.
Other ways include bake-offs, Zoom beers, movie nights and yoga sessions.
Check in to see how people are actually doing
In uncertain, changing, and bloody weird times like these, it is important to ask your work mates how they are doing. A random call just or quick message just because can be all it takes.
Looking out for mental health in mental circumstances is paramount.