Working From Home
With the world turned a little upside down lately, it seems everyone is tossed out of their daily routines and comfort zones. Working from home instead of going to the office, figuring out tools to stay connected to the office, access files, collaborate, and generally keep pushing forward.
Our little team has been distributed for years and we designed our operation around a remote model.
By no means an exhaustive list of all the great steps you can take to keep work flowing from home, we have a few thoughts we’d like share for how to keep your health, sanity and work all moving in the right direction. 🙂
Setup your working space with intention
Give yourself this gift. Create a clean space to work that is free from “home stuff” , other to-do items, or general clutter. Whatever space you have available will work, just create it with a little intention and remove this all-too-easy objection you might have for why you’re not able to focus and get moving.
Go easy on yourself
The world went into a bit of a collective shock over recent weeks, and it’s a tough time to create focus and flow no matter what. Add to that that you’ve tossed yourself completely out of your usual approach to work and routines, and you might be finding it hard to focus and get things done.
This is okay! Go easy on yourself. Try setting a 20 minute timer where you focus intently on your work, and then take a little break, move around, take a quick scroll on social media, or whatever your mind wanders. Then lean in again for another 20 minutes.
Take movement breaks
In line with the thought above, and for your overall health, take some movement breaks. At least every hour, get up and move your body. This isn’t intended to be your daily exercise, but rather a brain and body break to keep yourself awake and productive and engaged.
Elevate your heart rate. Some of our favourites include doing jumping jacks, having a plank competition, cranking out some pushups, or running up and down some stairs. Keep it quick and simple and easy and aligned your overall fitness level, and have some fun with it!
Let your kids and pets crawl on you!
Have flexible hours, but know when to walk away!
Your work hours may be different now. You might be juggling kids and various schedules and lunches and a whole range of things you aren’t in the habit of dealing with throughout your day suddenly, and maybe you’re finding yourself working in the evenings, early mornings, etc.
Be flexible here. It’s okay to work in what might feel like an unconventional way. But also know when to walk away and turn your screens off. There’s a tonne of amazing research and findings on the impacts of blue light on our brains, nervous systems and circadian rhythms in general, and in particular when working on devices after dark, when our bodies want to be winding down. Plan your work periods with this in mind, and know when to park things and walk away for the night.
Move to the cloud
Having a great cloud file management system is going to be critical if you don’t already have one. There are a number of life changing solutions out there, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com, Sharefile, iCloud, and many more. We’re not aiming to comment on all the tools available here in this little ramble, so we’ll simply say that we use Dropbox for Business, and it’s worth every penny we’ve ever spent on it and more. Our devices can crash and burn and we wouldn’t lose a single file. We can send files to clients from our phones, comment on files as we go, etc.
Have a project management system
This is likely worthy of it’s own post, which we’ll do, so for now, we’ll mention that a good online project management system will pay for itself very quickly.
A good PM tool will allow you to track projects, tasks, clients, reminders, calendars, etc. There are dozens of amazing solutions out there with free levels and trials, and this area too is worth paying for without a doubt. We have been using Podio (www.podio.com) for years and can’t imagine our business without it, and there are many others too, such as Asana, Monday.com, Flow, ZenKit, and many more.
Just remember the GIGO rule 🙂 (Garbage in, garbage out)
Jump on a call
This isn’t necessarily specific to working from home, and it’s likely something we need a reminder of ourselves, so we’re including it! Don’t lean too heavily on email, and don’t be afraid to jump on a quick video call. Not only does it help to have a little social interaction, but it strips out a lot of the issues that can come up with back and forth emails. WhatsApp, Messenger, FaceTime, Duo, Zoom, GoToMeeting, whatever your preferred platform is, jump on it!