Or: ‘How to master remote working’.
If someone had told me a year ago that I would be doing my dream job in my fluffy slippers from the comfort of my flat, I would have burst out laughing and asked if they needed some water. I mean, is it even possible to work with sustainability that way? Or to get anything done at all with the comforts of a bed nearby?! Three months into my amazing position at Mindfully Wired Communications, I know better.
Remote work is the new normal, with companies adopting more flexible routines worldwide as the market shifts to increasingly virtual workspaces. If anyone would asked me where my office is based today, I would simply point to my laptop, where I perform all my tasks as Communications Officer for MWC and where I am in constant contact with my co-workers Katrina and Harriet, and our various collaborators.
While individual remote work is not unheard of, many seem to find the idea of an entire company working this way hard to swallow. We may be unconventional in one sense, as our head office is a group chat on Skype, but that is where the unconventionality stops. Our type of work demands organisation and we have plenty of that: all our files are stored collectively and meticulously labelled on a shared G-Drive. We have set working hours, set team meetings, and routines for sharing tasks and burdens. We use a mix of phone calls, Skype, email and the (amazing) remote working app Notion to delegate our tasks to a tee, all while keeping a very strict tab on every working minute. Everything we do is then accounted for at the end of the day as we disclose how we have allocated our time for better transparency with our partners and within the team itself.
While there is no playbook for our way of doing things, I can share some concrete tips with you on how to make remote work work for you and your company.
Prepare your workspace (virtual and physical): some might have a designated office in their home or have a favourite café or spot to go to. Others, like me, prefer working in their living room. No matter where you are, it is important that you mentally and physically consider this space as a space of work for the duration of your working day. I, for example, always make sure that my ‘office’ space is tidy for my next working day, and ensure a steady supply of caffeine is at hand when I need it. The same goes for your virtual workspace - your laptop is no different to any drawer in an office space, so keep it organised and you will never lose a file.
Take breaks: working from home does not make your work any less tiring so make sure to take breaks when needed. Go out for walks, have a quick if virtual chat with colleagues, pet a cat – you need to be on top of your tasks and that requires concentration so take breaks to keep your brain lively!
Communicate: the most important aspect of this form of work is communication. Working remotely does not mean working alone – make sure to communicate with your colleagues and partners and always have a to do-list written down for all possible tasks, no matter how small and trivial they might seem. Many things get lost in communication in physical offices so imagine how this can multiply in a virtual office environment. Set up a system of communication which works for your team and use it rigorously!
But most importantly: don’t be afraid to experiment! You are changing the nature of work as we know it so enjoy your status as a pioneer.
Are you at the cutting edge of communication or working practice? We’d love to hear your experiences, and we’re always open to new voices on our blog. Get in touch!
Image source: iStock.