Our team knows a thing or two about remote working. From the early days, it’s been a core part of our culture, something we can choose to do, if and when we need or want to.
But right now, remote working is not a perk or a choice. It's imperative to survival. And, with dispersed teams abruptly becoming the norm many organisations are struggling to adapt to this new way of working. With no choice or time to prepare, it's little surprise that both workers and employers are feeling overwhelmed.
It's also important to recognise that what we are currently experiencing is by no means 'normal' remote working. The stark reality is, it's enforced remote working, during an acute pandemic, on a scale only imagined before. So, on top of learning to adapt to a new way of working, people are juggling all the additional stresses a crisis like this brings.
So, to help workers out there who are trying to get to grips with this new reality, we canvassed our pro-remote workers for their top tips for making remote working, well...work!
Here’s what they shared:
Let’s start with a sound piece of advice from Senior Tech Writer, Renee Brown who points out that “not all tips work for all people” adding that it’s important for people to “try them out a few at a time and take the tips that work for you and leave the rest”.
Good quality coffee is vital, according to Ryan Rules, Product Manager for ScriptRunner for Jira Cloud.
“I'm a coffee person in the morning, it’s a real motivator for me. The first week of isolation I bought some good quality coffee beans, a coffee grinder, a cafetiere, and coffee pot etc.
“Now it's part of my daily routine to make a good coffee and catch up on chats and emails etc. It comes down to small comforts and mimicking normal routines I guess”.
“Reset your expectations” is the top tip from our CTO, Dan Hardiker “it will take time to adjust to such a sudden shift in your working environment. It’s unrealistic to expect that you will get into a stride within a couple of weeks”.
Instead, Dan advises people to ‘think agile’ and “cut yourself some slack, review and retrospect your working practices, and it’ll all improve over time.”
Dan also encourages people to embrace video for meetings. According to Dan “psychologists say that over half of communication is visual, and there are other studies that show a stronger human bond between people that see each other (greatest in person, video second place). So, where you can, enable video in your calls so you can see each other. If nothing else, it can yield entertaining results for those that forget their camera is on …”
Establishing a dedicated workspace at home, is technical consultant, Krista Parker’s top tip for successful remote working.
“Like any workspace, make it fun.” Krista suggests adding “art that makes you happy, candles, and plants to make your space feel welcoming and energetic.” She also recommends ‘connecting with colleagues outside your team who have similar interests, slack channels are great for this”.
Krista also adds that “if you’re dealing with customer environments, information, etc. you should make sure you use a dedicated workstation too. It will help to separate work and non-work activities by switching workstations for gaming, bills, or other home-related computing”.
Senior Business Consultant, Bonnie Beyer, echoes Krista’s advice adding that having her guitars, pictures, and a great desk workspace helps to make her home office more inspiring. She also suggests that a dedicated wifi source is critical so you “don’t have to worry about buffering issues when a family member goes on youtube or starts an online class.”
If you don’t have a dedicated place to work, Jon Mort, our Head of Engineering, suggests “creating remote working rituals” to help you get into the right frame of mind. He recalls a former Adaptavist home worker who would leave his front door, walk around the block and then "go to work" through his front door.
Jon adds that it’s equally as important to create a ritual for finishing work “if you work on the sofa all day and finishing work is simply putting your laptop down next to you, then do you really switch off? Rituals for leaving your work mindset behind can be as simple as tidying up and putting things away or changing your clothes”.
Regularly chat about non-work stuff with colleagues to mitigate loneliness suggests Sofware Support Engineer, Kristian Walker, “set up a few fun channels on your instant messaging system where you can talk about non-work stuff with colleagues.” He adds it will “help you feel less alone and more connected with your team.” Kristian recommends ‘having regular virtual team bonding sessions to get to know your teammates even if you don't see them in real life.”
For Product Marketer, Seb Sudbury, it’s all about setting yourself up for success with the right tech and tools. He recommends “shifting your primary communications tool from email to a smarter alternative like Slack.” Also making sure you have a proper work set up including monitors, keyboard and mouse and crucially a comfy office chair.
Seb also recommends limiting meeting sizes on video calls like Zoom, he adds “in my experience it becomes very challenging to hold a productive session with more than 5-6 people as people start to talk over each other, etc.”
Matthew Stublefield, Head of Education at Adaptavist, echoes Renee’s opening advice. He recommends to “give it time and give yourself grace” during the transition. He adds, “it's important to remember that everyone is different, some of these tips may help, others will not.
“Forgive yourself for being stressed. Forgive your family for being near. Give yourself time to figure it out. You will figure it out eventually, and it's OK if you haven't yet” shares Matthew.
Remote working is not for everyone. But, for the foreseeable future, it’s our new normal. So, cut yourself some slack and give yourself time and permission to adapt to this new reality in a way that works for you.