News 3 minutes, 24 second read Tara O'Donnell, Managing Director, Hotwire
Remote working poses a number of challenges for marketers. But with governments around the world restricting travel, cancelling and postponing large events, and in some instances enforcing a period of working from home, many companies are proactively making the decision to adopt remote working. Some may not have the infrastructure, processes or culture in place to quickly adapt.
Below are some tips for those who may find themselves working from home (or ‘thoughtfully' as we call it at Hotwire) full-time in the coming weeks – something our agency has been doing for a while now.
The perks of working from home include saving time on a commute, spending more time with family, and getting a few more things done. But the challenges can include loneliness, the inability to stay connected, and the heightened potential for distraction from family, housemates, pets, and the refrigerator. All can have an impact on your psyche and productivity.
When working at home, traditional 9-5 office hours can be challenging if your children, housemates or significant other are at home. To reduce distractions, work in a room where you can shut the door to give yourself some privacy and separation. A bedroom, kitchen, or living room will do.
On the flip side, working from home for long periods of time can evoke loneliness. Many people need personal contact with their team. We suggest daily morning coffee calls with your team, virtual group lunches (from your own kitchen) and office-wide video conferences. An office music playlist on Spotify or another streaming service, is also a fun way to stay connected with colleagues.
It’s important to be accountable to your teams when working remotely so let your colleagues know your schedule, when you’re available, and what you’re up to. Most importantly, everyone is accountable for outputs and outcomes regardless of where they’re working. To ensure you are hitting deadlines in the same way you would in the office, ask colleagues for help as needed. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there to support.
Technology is key when it comes to working from home. Make sure you have strong enough broadband to video stream and conference especially if you are sharing with children or housemates.
Instant messaging tools such as Slack and video conference technology such as Zoom allow teams to communicate quickly and efficiently but as importantly, create a community feeling.
You may also want to ask your employer for increased mobile data while working remotely if you don’t have reliable broadband access.
The importance of self-care
Often, people work much longer hours when they work from home because they don’t have the mental separation afforded by a commute. It’s important to take breaks every hour to avoid burnout. Take the dog – or just yourself – out for a walk, talk to a colleague virtually but not about work, go to the shop, or meditate for 10 minutes.
Sitting for too long is not healthy, so also try to stand while talking on the phone or prop your laptop on the kitchen counter. Sit on an exercise ball to vary your posture or even do some old fashioned stretching. You can even video call some of your colleagues and do it together.
A turning point for flexible working?
Although the current uncertainty around the spreading of COVID-19 will quickly spur many companies to adopt remote working, it is increasingly being normalised by many industries. Remote working allows companies to hire in less competitive locations, recruit from a more diverse pool of people and give opportunities to those just returning to work. And flexible working is proven to increase the health, happiness and productivity of team members. For all of these reasons, Hotwire’s Thoughtful Working policy is a big hit with our team.
Good luck to all of us while we manage through this difficult time and hopefully the above tips offer some interesting food for thought if you are Thoughtfully Working for the first time.