[UPDATE 13/3/20 – Our team has gone 100% remote]
As you may know, just this week we proactively moved some of our team over to working remotely ahead of coronavirus. Now that a bunch of us are working from home, we thought you might like to know what we’ve learned since last year.
Wait, ‘since last year’? What do you mean?
That’s right, we’ve actually been on the flexible-working-slash-working-remotely train for a while now, and it really has been everything we always dreamed it could be (you should see our combined slipper collection). We’ve also learned quite a bit about how to stay in touch and do our best work—whether we’re all in the same room or not. Ready to see how? Let’s scroll.
1. Keep talking
With people spread out all over the shop, those work chats over the coffee pot or a quick 5-minute meeting aren’t going to be happening. That’s why we’ve started using platforms like Slack and Google Hangouts to encourage quick and easy communications.
2. Your file will be uploaded in…
File-sharing can be tricky while working remotely. Multiple people sending amends and varying file sizes means you need to have a good system and process in place. Google Docs has been a solid go-to for us since it lets everyone collaborate on the same document at the same time without needing to knock it back and forth like a ping pong ball. Need to fling some bigger files across the interwebs? If you ask us, WeTransfer is the way to go.
3. Just one tiny amend
Need some feedback on your creative work from a whole bunch of people at once? Instead of dealing with a swarm of emails, we recommend using something like GoVisually which allows for comments and annotations. It also tracks who says what, so you know exactly where feedback is coming from. Pretty cool, eh?
When using a pick and mix of email, IM, and other non-face-showing comms channels, it’s easier than you might think for something to come across in a way you didn’t intend. Remember—you aren’t face to face, so what might otherwise have been taken as a joke might not be taken that way over chat or email. Our advice? Stay positive and make sure to use plenty of these guys 😉 😎 😵 👍 or ‘/giphy’ on Slack.
5. A safe space
There’s no doubt coronavirus is impacting the UK and many are rightly concerned about how will affect them and their loved ones. Make sure people have a space to air these worries and get support when they need it. For example, we’re still doing our regular meditation and wellness sessions, just by using Zoom—a video communications tool.
6. Check this out!
If you’ve spent time on a design, an animation, an illustration or a piece of copy, sometimes just sending an accompanying email to explain what you’ve done and why isn’t enough. That’s why we often use Loom.
Loom is a screen and video recording software that’s amazing for remote working. It means that you can record your screen while talking through your design (or animation, or drawing, or concept. You get the picture) so you can really do justice to what you’ve created. And with an instant link you can share it pronto with your work pals and clients.
7. Ideas can happen in unlikely places
The creative juices need to keep flowing even when you’re working from home. If you need to get a handle on that award-winning big idea, try using something like Miro so your team can all contribute. If you’re all about the design, Mural might be a good shout as it allows for visual collaboration. No whiteboards? No problem!
8. What are we doing?
Who is doing which bits? When is the deadline? (Etc., etc., etc…) When you can’t pop across to someone’s desk to check they’re doing what you think they’re doing, you need to organise responsibilities. That’s why we use a combo of Streamtime and Trello, both of which allow you to assign jobs and tasks to complete them so everyone knows what is needed, and by when. Asana is also another option.
9. Camera on
It might surprise you but we can be a shy bunch at times (it’s true!) but if we’re going to chat to a colleague, we’ll do it with our web camera on. Wearing fat pants, comfy tops or even with bed head hair, just seeing your colleague might well cheer you up and give you that bit of human contact that you miss from being in the office.
10. Is that all?
Caught! Okay, our last tip is actually four bite-sized ones:
- Those vintage kitchen chairs might look gorgeous but after eight hours on one, your back might not think so. Get yourself set up in a proper work area at home with a desk, a good chair with back support, and a decent light. Your back (and eyes) will thank you for it!
- Without the distractions of a busy office, it’s sometimes all too easy to become a slave to the screen. Make sure you’re still taking breaks, getting up for walks, and keeping hydrated.
- That’s right, you’re working from home now. Want to get cosy in your favourite batman pyjamas and matching hoodie? Do it. Want to lip-sync the best of Toto into your selfie camera? “I bless the raaaains down in Africaaaaaaaaa…!” (what a tune!) Make it happen. Fancy a dress up and Toy Story marathon? Maybe do that one after work. Still, you get what we’re saying—your home office is your new workspace, so make it yours.
- Make sure you end your working day on time. It’s too easy to send ‘just one more email’ but don’t it! Switch off your computer and make sure to take care of yourself. That’s good advice no matter where you’re working from.
BONUS! Take a mental break with something fun
We squished our brains together and came up with bunches of ways to improve your mental health and well-being. The best part? We turned them into a colouring book for
kids grown-ups and kids! Get them here, print them out, and tag us in your photos with #MadeBrave!
Pssst… Anything we missed? Tell us how you’re getting on working from home.
We’re also quite good with reactive brand strategies, social listening, and benchmarking. Need some help with yours? Get in touch.