Anna Coles and Chloë Hearne, Implementation Consultants, Tessitura Network
The transition from working in a busy office to being at home can be difficult, particularly if you’re the kind of person who thrives off the energy of others. If this is you right now then please know that you’re not alone. Our advice to you is to have patience, be open to change and take each day as it comes – it does get easier! In fact, once you’ve moved on from convincing your friends and family that yes; you do get out of your pyjamas and yes; you do actually do work and yes; you do find it more productive — then working from home is great!
About Tessitura Network
At Tessitura Network we have been a remote company since our inception so the working from home world is not a new one for us. It works successfully on a global basis for all 220 staff members. How? The answer is simple: communication. We communicate everything! You might say we’re guilty of internal over-communication, but when you can’t rely on the chitter chatter of the office then you need to ensure that information is available via a number of different channels.
We use Slack to keep conversations ticking over, Yammer to focus on topic-specific and all-company communications, and GoToMeeting to make virtual meetings more productive. We also encourage webcam use as this definitely promotes the feeling of being in an office! It might surprise you to hear that e-mail is our least used internal channel. Having the right box of tools for remote working makes a big difference and is paramount for staying connected with colleagues and continuing to work as a team.
Overnight, COVID-19 forced a lot of the world to transition from being office based to home based. Unless you’re suitably prepared with the right tools, environment and routine, then it can be a difficult flow to get into. We’ve therefore compiled our top five working from home tips that help us on a daily basis and ensure that we can all reap the benefits from being home based:
One of the classic working from home myths is that we all just sit on the sofa with Netflix on in the background, staring at a small laptop screen for eight hours a day. Whilst this may be true on day one of lockdown, it doesn’t need to stay this way. Just because you don’t work in an office building doesn’t mean you can’t have your own home office. Have a place that you go to specifically for work, ideally separate from the main living space. It helps if you have desk space but at the very minimum have somewhere that is consistently used for work and not leisure time. Make that work space pleasant and comfortable by adding plants, having natural light and being near a window for fresh air. This all ensures that you start every day in the right frame of mind.
Use the right technology
The obvious upside to working from home is being able to work in a distraction free zone (unless of course you are caring for dependents) and really focus in on your tasks in hand. The downside is that it can quickly feel like you’re cut off from the rest of the organisation. There’s a whole array of tools such as the ones above that complement remote working and allow you to remain connected with your co-workers.
It’s important to remember that technology doesn’t just need to be used for conducting meetings, but can also be used for social gatherings, quizzes and virtual team competitions! Be creative and innovative with your use of it.
Routine is a funny thing. You get people who thrive off it and others who can’t bear it, but if you think about it pre-lockdown we all lived by some sort of routine. We got up at the same time, ate the same thing for breakfast, took the same lunch break, and commuted to work at the same time. Work was a routine whether or not you realised it.
When it comes to working from home everyone’s routine can be vastly different, but it’s important to keep one up. Some of our colleagues enjoy exercising first thing before sitting down to work — try taking a short walk in the mornings to achieve the same feeling of having a commute into the office each day.
Planning to do something after working hours is also a great way of disconnecting. Having a post-work commitment, whether it be personal or inclusive of others, is a great way to ensure that you finish on time. This could be exercising, dog walking, cooking/baking, doing a virtual class of some sort or even just sitting in your garden with a nice cup of coffee!
There is no right or wrong here but have a routine that works for you.
Exercise is vital for overall physical and mental health, but what you soon realise when you’re home-based is that you can easily get to the end of the working day having barely moved.
Our top tip here is to set small but achievable goals that mean you mimic the amount of moving that you likely did in the office when you made that round of tea for your colleagues or took a trip to the toilet that was up a flight of stairs!
This can be a walk around your home in-between tasks, investing in a standing desk to ensure you’re on your feet more or simply standing up between meetings. Set reminders throughout the day using gadgets in your home such as a smart speaker, smart watch or your mobile phone! Anything to get you up a frequent basis to help get that circulation going!
Don’t stay home all day
This last tip is probably the most important. Chances are you’re suddenly working from home because of imposed restrictions in your region but this doesn’t mean that you need to solely exist within your home for all 24 hours of the day. Make sure you take some time to get out, even if it’s just a ten minute blast of fresh air at the end of the day – having that time outside and away from home can really help cement the end of the working day and allow you to return to switch into leisure mode. Similarly, when the world opens back up, if you don’t find working in your home stimulating then get out of your house and into a public environment. This might be a coffee shop, a library or a rented desk in an open office space.
It’s really important that you take some time to learn your preferred environment and it’s completely fine if this is ever changing. Some days a bustling coffee shop might be what you need for some inspiration, other days you might need silence to tackle that last piece of a puzzle. Find whatever works best for you.
Make the most of our working from home tips
These are just some of the many tips we have about working from home and how to get the best out of it, but the biggest takeaway is to know that working from home does not mean working alone.
In fact, we actually feel closer to our remote colleagues because the time we spend together is much more infrequent and so feels richer and more meaningful. That, and we see each other’s faces every morning at 9am and are in constant conversation throughout the day. Implement some of these steps, particularly the technology tips, and you’ll soon feel ready to work remotely without feeling remote!
Fancy reading some more working from home tips? Check out our blog series.