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5 commandments for looking after yourself and your mind whilst working remote

Let’s say it nice and loud: Remote work is here to stay, and it’s transforming the way we work. And, what with the current outbreak of COVID-19, teams are finding themselves setting up an office at home which can be quite a transition for some individuals and teams.

The good news is that technology has progressed so much that adopting remote working is no longer challenging. It demands different considerations for collaboration and communication, however, it does not lower the quality of your working environment.

An interesting statistic, according to the Owl Labs 2019 State Of Remote Work report, US-based remote employees tend to work more than the standard 40 hours per week – that’s 43% more than on-site workers. And while working at home can help people be more productive, there is also an increased threat of loneliness, which can lead to risks of depression and burnout. Another issue in the current pandemic is the fact that remote workers who are parents may now find their children at home with them, so you will just be coming to terms with how to handle this new situation.

From this, you could find that during the Covid-19 crises that you haven’t left your home in days, but in this particular situation we all find ourselves in, we wanted to share some advice on how to make working remotely more seamless and better for your overall health and wellbeing.

Commandment #1 – Plan your day, your uniform and have a morning routine

Treating your workday like you would if you were going to an office ensures you’re up, dressed, and well-fed all day long. You’ll be ready for anything, including dropping into a video chat with your boss or taking a coffee break with your work colleagues. As Henry Ford said: “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” Of course, what establishes feeling “ready” is up to you, but you should always make your bed. It means that you will be able to set your morning routine to achieve other tasks!

However you choose to start your day, the activities should be enjoyable, engaging and rewarding so that you’re motivated to get up and do them every day, with a touch of new learning (take our updated remote training sessions for example) or the use of creativity. Some prefer to switch things up and meditate, others enjoy bouncing between reading and writing personal projects, learning a new language, or creating and tasting their new smoothie recipe. Whatever it may be, try to enjoy it, and not fall into a boring, mundane routine that leaves you unmotivated for the work day ahead.

Commandment #2 – Place attention-sucking things out of reach or sight

Taking breaks is a key part of productivity, however, people can find it all too easy to skip them when you’re alone. To make sure you don’t become attached to your home office chair, try establishing routine “required” breaks into your situation:

  • Don’t keep snacks or drinks within easy reach.
  • Play music in the background that you physically need to change to continue playing.
  • Leave your phone in the kitchen or living area so that when you want to check it, you have to get up and go to it.

Simply put, if you’re bad at getting up from your desk regularly, build easy, repeatable movements into your day so that every 20-30 minutes you take a break from concentrating and say, “Hey, get up and move for a few minutes.” Not only will it give you a small break, but your body will also thank you for not staying in one position all day long. Whether it’s just walking or doing a series of pushups or air squats! 

Commandment #3 – Set-up regular chats/ calls with your team

Communication is king when working remotely. We’re on Teams all day at Valiantys, 100% of our team’s communication takes place there. Team chat is a huge asset to any remote team, but what many people don’t talk about is the social aspect of it. With the outbreak of Covid-19, we have implemented the usual “water cooler” conversations in our Teams channels. For example, we have a ‘tea time’ every afternoon around 3 pm where we grab a tea or coffee and discuss current projects or general life. It’s a lot of fun and can help keep the bonds building in your whole team.

This leads us nicely onto having regular calls. To me, hearing another person’s voice helps me feel like I’m not the only one in the room. And while we have weekly team calls, sometimes that’s not enough. With the current situation, we have implemented a daily 20-minute call in the marketing team. We discuss the current news cycle and what our tasks will be for the day. It’s nice and lets us see each other. It can also help you build your network and learn from others while gaining the benefit of actually connecting with other people whilst you are sat at home.

 

Commandment #4 – Have the right set of tools to make your life easier

A central part of keeping focused, both individually and as a team, is that everyone has a good picture of the actions and tasks that you as a team are focusing on. This, of course, is not a thing that is unique for those working remotely but applies to all work. However, when you are not sitting side by side, it gets even more important to stay on task and to be able to communicate structured and efficiently related to the tasks that you are working on.

This is where an online ticket management system and collaboration tool is vital and can work wonders for your team. At Valiantys, we use the Atlassian Suite – Jira and Confluence for such tasks. Our daily tasks are defined in tickets on our Kanban board in Jira and we utilize Confluence and its many plugins to create our content. For example, right now we are finding ourselves using the simultaneous editing feature much more on our confluence pages and also leaving many more in-line comments when proofreading content.

Whats more, our meetings have been replaced by conference calls with screen sharing. This was already how we worked with teams, clients and partners all over the world. But now, it’s all of our meetings – so organisation is key when you are getting ready to have a team meeting or a 1-to-1 with your manager.

The integrations between tools are unparalleled, the ability to oversee and include various stakeholders at any point is seamless and easy and content can be created, edited and validated by numerous members of the team in real-time.

 

Commandment #5 – Don’t forget to be human!

Finally, with all this working from home and speaking to people through technology, try to take time out of your day to interact with someone face-to-face. building (or through video apps). Call the people you love and matter to you. Building on this, remember to continue your life as normal (or as normal as can be at this time). Pull yourself away from your desk at home and watch some Netflix, grab a new book from your bookshelf, play your guitar or buy yourself some home gym equipment. Tackling the just exercise. Exercise is great to feel alive, relieve stress, and for your immune system too! There’s lots of stuff available those days about “how to exercise at home, even if you have no equipment”. Some of our favorites: check the Crossfit at home section and if your focus is on mobility (useful when you spend the day in front of your computer), you can look at what Movnat offers. You can also check Brian McKenzie’s, Power Speed Endurance CEO, recommendations about breathing (especially important in those stressful and virus-infested times). Youtube is full of resources!  Tackling the hermit mentality is very important in today’s current situation. Meditation and gratitude expression are also great tools to cope with the current situation. So don’t forget all those normal things we do as humans to make our days fulfilled.

Remote work can give you the freedom of flexibility, time, and a creative space you can call your own. Take advantage of it, and develop your own weird habits to create a daily experience that’s rewarding and, well, worth working for.

 

Finding it difficult to adjust to working remote with your team and feel you need a change in tools or mindset – contact our consultants now and find out how we can help you through this testing time. And if you have tips or stories that you want to share with us, feel free to comment this post.

 

 

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