After having the whole team working from home for a month and overcoming seemingly endless challenges, both internal and external, we thought it was the right time to sit down and reflect upon a few key things we’ve learned as we’ve started this journey.
Before we get started, however, we’d like to take this opportunity to say to our clients, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We’ve faced challenges like never before over the last month or two, with rapid changes in strategy being required to adapt to a world which has been turned upside down, and the trust you’ve placed in us has been humbling.
With that being said, here are a few things we’ve learned since becoming a remote workforce:
Communication is key
When this adventure started, one thing we knew was that we wanted to maintain constant communication, both for work purposes and to stop us from going stir-crazy. Achieving this proved to be trickier than expected, however.
Our initial idea was to try and replicate the office feel as closely as possible by being in a Google Hangout all day, but this ended up proving to be more of a distraction than a benefit (as a side note – why do keyboards sound so much louder through speakers than in-person?)
After a little experimentation and some back and forth, we settled on having two scheduled catchups a day to discuss how things were going plus leaving Microsoft Teams on in the background so anyone with a quick question could jump in and ask at any time, but remain mute otherwise. This, combined with Slack, made it simple to stay on top of our schedules, discuss Tiger King and show off our varied selection of silly hats without driving people crazy.
Our team is amazing
Okay, so technically this is something we already knew, but this last month has been a fantastic reminder of this fact.
Having people working remotely full time is always a worry. It’s much easier to lose track of ongoing work and we’re not unaware that there could be the temptation to sneak off for a quick episode of Homes Under the Hammer or a quick nap during the day. Despite this, they really have delivered.
We’ve set up various software to communicate and have tried to maintain the team spirit by having more frequent catch ups and having Microsoft Teams open, but ultimately, we’ve had to put our trust in our team – and we’ve not been let down! Everyone’s working hard and keeping momentum going, that makes us feel pretty proud and incredibly lucky!
You need to watch people’s hours
An early discovery of ours was that, in the absence of anything else to do and with commuting taken out of the equation, people were starting to work much longer hours than normal. This led to the shocking plot twist in which we had to ask people to work less and take more breaks.
We all seem to have learned for now, but it’s something that we’re sure to constantly keep an eye on. At the end of the day, being bored is better than burning yourself out.
Routine is key
When you’re working from home and don’t have to be anywhere, it’s incredibly easy to slip into a pattern of completing your work in sporadic chunks or sleeping in and working irregular hours.
Throughout this, however, we’ve learned just how much more productive you can be when everyone is settled in to work at the same time. Asking a question takes two minutes, rather than waiting for two hours for an email reply and you keep your usual rhythm going, making you more productive and the eventual adjustment back to office life much smoother.
So, despite the temptations, we’re all at our computers and ready to go for 9am!
We’re better together
Although the nature of what we do has made adapting to having a remote workforce a relatively simple process compared to other businesses, and in some cases this has actually made us more productive, we’ve learned just how much you miss from not being in the office regularly.
Random chats about the day, knowledge sharing and the ability to have an off-the-cuff brainstorm with the team are just a few of the things we miss about being in the office.
While there’s been plenty of discussion about the “new normal” and the humble office being “a thing of the past”, after proving to wary employers that people can be just as productive working from home, we think the mental health benefits of human interaction and a unified team alone mean the traditional office isn’t going anywhere! Well, ours certainly isn’t!
Ultimately, despite some extra stress, we’re incredibly grateful for what this has taught us so far and look forward to a bright future.