Staying organised, being productive, and maintaining the work/life balance we are all used to has been a challenge faced by many during lock down. Over the past three months many of us at Fountain have learnt a few things about being organised and proactive while working from home. Whilst some businesses are returning to their usual environments many of us will be continuing to work remotely for now.
Here are five tips and observations I have for those looking to find the right balance whilst working remotely for the foreseeable future.
• Set benchmarks for communication for all projects
This may seem like an obvious point, however, it’s easy to get into an isolated working cycle. This can mean that communication that would usually happen naturally in a face to face environment throughout the day disappears. Following a brief spell of learning at the start of our remote working experience, we’ve set up regular touch points on all of our projects. This ensures clear lines of communication are maintained and helps with everyone’s general wellbeing as we can see our colleagues’ smiley faces on video calls throughout the working day.
• Be mindful of your physical working space
Some of my colleagues, but also friends at other organisations, found that they were being less productive than usual and felt unsettled at first. Most of these people had not set up a specific workstation for themselves at home. Those that had set up a designated workstation from the start found the transition easier and concentration came quicker as distractions had been minimised in their working environment. This can be as simple as moving to a different room to work.
• Take regular breaks away from your screen
Again, this seems like an obvious point, however, I found that due to meetings taking place online I had naturally lost an element of the screen break time that I would usually get attending physical meetings at Fountain HQ. I’ve added some routine breaks into my schedule throughout the day in order to give my eyes a break. This also gives me additional head-space to ponder over important tasks rather than go from one digital objective to the next without having time to consider processes and actions.
• Maintain a routine
Approaching my working day as I usually would has had a positive impact on my morale and productivity. I know the temptation to have a lie-in seems like a great idea, but sticking to my normal routine has been key in preparing my mind for the day ahead. I also feel like I’m safeguarding myself from the inevitable culture shock when we all return to a physical location that isn’t thirty steps from our beds. Sticking to my previous routine also applies to working my regular hours as closely as possible so that I can separate work and downtime from one another, despite being in the same physical location.
• Maintaining the culture
My last point, and a key factor in the successful approach that Fountain has taken to working remotely, is maintaining the culture that we’re all used to as Fountain employees. The culture at Fountain is amazing and really important to us all in general, but has also played a practical role in maintaining organisation and productivity. The regular socials we have as Fountaineers have transitioned online, including our monthly ‘beer o’clock’! Fountain also introduced daily ‘water cooler’ Google Hangouts so that we can spend 20 – 30 minutes chatting with our colleagues as we would if we were in the office. This has kept spirits high over the last three months and will continue to do so as we move forward. I can personally say this has helped keep me in good spirits, maintain a positive outlook and focus on my working day.
I hope that anyone looking for a balance and improved productivity will find these tips and observations useful in their own remote working environment.
16 June 2020
By David Eldridge