In the face of COVID-19 Americans are working remotely at record-breaking levels. This outbreak has revealed how we are more connected than ever. Many companies, big and small, are employing work-from-home strategies. This can be a huge adjustment, as many of us are used to being surrounded by colleagues every day.
Of course, remote work has its benefits: time to prep your meals, throwing a load of laundry in or hanging out with your favorite furry friend. The downside is it can also be lonely and demotivating at times.
We work in teams composed of project managers, designers, developers, marketers, (and more) and if we know one thing, it’s how crucial communication is to successful distributed teams. Going remote can cause key information to slip through the cracks. Here at MEDL, we’ve learned how to work from home without losing efficiency.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep you sane:
Get ready as if you are going to work.
Partake in your regular morning routine, and proceed to dress professionally. Looking presentable makes you feel good internally. This gets you into the right mindset to be productive.
Don’t forget to eat breakfast and make your coffee!
Start early and keep momentum.
Once you have completed your daily routine, immediately start on your first job task/project. Procrastinating can drag down your whole day.
Choose a dedicated workplace that is clean and organized.
You can make a guest room your workplace, or a table in the corner of your room. Try not to work on a bed or couch as it may associate work with leisure. Set yourself up for success by getting in the right frame of mind.
Lay out the daily goals you want to accomplish and plan out your schedule.
Software tools like Harvest assist you in time tracking, invoicing, expense tracking, and time-based reporting. Having a strict time schedule to follow helps you stay on track during work hours, so you don’t have to overwork to finish uncompleted tasks or projects.
Take breaks and allow your brain to rest.
It is up to you to determine how often and how long your break should be as people’s work habits differ. However, it can take around 25 minutes to get back on track. You may be able to focus better if you take a break every few hours. Also, don’t forget to stretch muscles to reduce tension!
Living in your work space can make it difficult to disconnect from your work tasks. If you can, add in a walk or jog around the block or lift some weights to get yourself to take a mental break.
Implement effective communication tools with your team members, and voice concerns as soon as possible.
Below we will mention plenty of tools you can use to keep your communication alive. Consistency is key–host weekly calls to talk about progress and get the whole team on the same page.
Our Marketing Project Manager, Rachael Pena, shares a few of her own tips from her experience working remotely. “I have a few go-to spots to work at home. I have my designated workspace with a desk, a monitor and a handful of small candles where I do most of my work. But, sometimes, I just need a change of scenery. When I do, I’ll usually go to the kitchen and work at the dining room table to keep my productivity going. I also keep a running to-do list to make sure I’ve tackled all of the priorities for the day.”
As promised, here are some of our favorite tools to keep our communication strong and our processes running smoothly.
This is how we stay connected here at MEDL. From 9 to 5 (and beyond), we use Slack to message the whole team or direct message/call colleagues.
Slack is best used for quick questions & keeping the team up to date.
Basecamp can be used for internal communication or client communication. This tool keeps all communication in one centralized space, making keeping track of your emails easy.
Our teams work through projects via the Agile Method. In short, that means we put together a set of tasks, add story points, and add an end date to it, typically 2 weeks.
The team can track the project’s tasks in this tool. We are able to see task status, add comments and update the description. It is crucial to keep each ticket up to date to keep information from slipping through the cracks.
We use Zoom for our client calls and for internal stand-ups every single day. Pro-tip, have a video conference when you start to feel lonely, it’s an immediate mood booster to see your colleague’s faces!
This one may seem obvious but it is important! Invite your managers as optional to your meetings to share visibility.
Like many other companies, MEDL Mobile has shifted to an entirely distributed workforce in order to ensure the safety and health of employees. We hope your team can use some of what we’ve learned over the years to keep your company culture intact while delivering consistent quality results.