We made the decision to transition to remote work earlier this year and had, coincidentally, scheduled a couple of posts on our experience working remotely thus far.
As we’re now exploring working remotely on a global scale, we figured we’d share some tips for working at home effectively in order to help make this transition as smooth as possible.
Working from home requires more thought, motivation and preparation than you may have realised. When you aren’t used to remote work, you may have visions of slow mornings filled with quiet reflection and study before adjourning to your desk for an afternoon of hard graft that’s free from distractions.
When, in reality, it can look a little different.
You’ve suddenly got a new routine to configure which comes with a whole host of new responsibilities and goals for the week. You need to manage your expectations before you can even start to make the most of working remotely.
Here’s some advice for how to work from home effectively over the coming weeks and months...
Before you can get started, you need to make sure you’ve created a functionable workspace that you’re happy with. It doesn’t have to be perfect, nor does it have to be particularly aesthetically pleasing, but it does need to reflect your needs across the day.
For example, you need to consider things like how many monitors you might need to fit in the space or which areas of the room get the most sunlight across the day. Think about the working conditions that suit you best and try and create a workspace that adheres to them. Some of us work best in minimalist spaces whilst others prefer to surround themselves with colour and examples of past work in order to stay inspired.
If you have the space to do so, you might want to create a secondary, less formal, workspace for those instances where you need a more casual setting.
When you’re on your own turf, you have to devote more time to staying organised.
Connect with your team and arrange your meetings in advance. Thanks to our Agile methodology, for example, we hold fortnightly planning and retrospective meetings and we maintain daily standup meetings to stay up-to-date with the tasks at hand.
We favour video conferences, Slack meetings and general chatty updates.
Check out our post on Time Management for Developers for some useful tips for staying organised.
You can only stay organised if you commit to communicating and connecting with your co-workers. We use the aforementioned methods of communication in order to boost team morale as we’re well aware of the benefits of teamwork and collaboration.
In addition, where possible, we hold team lunches or after-work meetups so that we still have time to bond on a more personal level. Whilst that may not be possible in a physical sense at this current moment in time, you could set aside an hour or so for a virtual video catch-up instead.
If you find yourself getting distracted whilst at home, give yourself a window where you mute notifications so that you can properly focus - just let your team members know beforehand when you’re going off-grid!
If you find yourself struggling with anything whilst working remotely, do speak up as you would if you were in the same vicinity as your team members. Remote work doesn’t mean you aren’t an important part of a wider team who are there to support you.
Create a schedule that works for you
Do what you can, when you can.
When you first start working remotely, figuring out your own schedule can be one of the most different things to navigate. Should you mimic the structures you’ve been privy to in the past or should you create a schedule that works you?
In all honesty, you should probably do a bit of both.
Make sure you’re factoring in team meetings and other company-wide responsibilities before looking at the routines that aren’t serving you anymore. Switch up your day and you may find a renewed sense of purpose and motivation.
We’ve found that it can be useful to follow a similar morning routine each working day in order to make it easier to switch into work mode. Play a particular playlist of songs as you get ready for the day, make yourself a proper breakfast, get dressed as you would if you were heading into the office. These are all things you can do to prepare properly.
Good Luck with your remote work journey!
Do you typically work from home or are you looking to take the leap with remote work on a more permanent basis? We’d love to hear your tips too! Tweet us and we’ll be sure to retweet the responses!
We Are Mobile First is a digital product agency based in Barcelona helping to transform businesses in a mobile-first world. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium to be notified of our future posts and stay up-to-date with our company news.
We share weekly content on everything from the Day in the Life of a Business Manager to Blogging for Developers: How To Write Compelling Blog Posts.
(image credit: Gabriel Beaudry via Unsplash)