As a virtual marketing agency, remote work has been part of our process and infrastructure at Lake One since day one. However, we know this transition doesn’t always come easy. It’s one thing to work from home but it’s entirely different to do so productively.
Here are a few of our tried and true tips and tricks to help:
Dress for Success
You won’t catch us wearing dress pants or ball gowns around the house, but waking up and changing into your “work” clothes provides that shift from home to work. We’re not saying ditch the yoga pants or comfy clothes, but wearing what you wore to bed can make it tougher to get into work mode.
Set a Schedule
Especially in the early days of your transition, it’s good to stick to your regular routine, as if you were going to go into the office. One of the concerns we consistently hear about working from home is people not knowing when work ends and home begins. A schedule and a dedicated space can help you separate work and home life.
If possible, have a spot where you can shut the door. Even a desk in a spare bedroom. That may not be possible in every situation, but having a space clearly marked as workspace when you work from home will also help with getting your headspace set for work.
Set Boundaries with Friends and Family
Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean you’re not working. Make it clear to friends and family that you can’t just drop everything to meet for lunch or help them with an errand. It can be tougher with the family that lives with you. Having that dedicated workspace can help. Let your family know that when you’re in your “office” you’re not to be bothered.
Take a Break
Some people are so worried that others will think they’re not working when they’re remote that they overcompensate and don’t take any breaks at all. That’s a recipe for burnout. Grab the coffee, go to the gym, eat your lunch, or go get the mail. Especially if these are things you did before you began working from home.
Get Out of the House
If you’re someone who isn’t easily distracted and can work from a coffee shop, we recommend getting out of the house and changing up the scenery every once in a while. If that’s not for you and you know you’ll be too distracted or spend all of your money on coffee, we recommend getting outside, taking a walk around the block, or check morning emails from your back porch.
Play Some Music
For some, listening to music while they’re working is far too distracting. But for those of you who are used to the white noise of an office: printers printing, people chatting, or keyboards clicking, the quiet that comes from working from home, might be too loud. We recommend listening to some music to drown out the quiet. Don’t just take our word for it, science says it’s beneficial.
Take Advantage of Tools
Remote work today is significantly easier than it was 5, 10, and 15 years ago. Thanks to a ton of tools that make communication, collaboration, and management easier and still enable culture and comradery even when we aren’t all sharing the same space. Here’s our remote working stack.
Slack chat is the core of our daily life. We break out channels by clients, work type and groups to keep everything organized. We also strive to inject some culture and fun with things like gifs and apps like hey taco
PM tools can provide visibility both internally and externally facing if needed. We’ve tried an endless number of them, Asana has been our ticket because of its flexibility and product vision.
This very blog post was drafted by our entire team in a Google Doc. We couldn’t function without Google collaboration between our team and our clients.
Google Hangouts & Zoom video
Video conferencing is what powers all of our Daily Stand-Ups, Virtual Coffee Breaks and helps us facilitate virtual workshops and strategy sessions with our clients.
Harvest + Asana
Keeping track of workload and managing to expectations is key when your team is spread out. We rely on a combination of Harvest for time tracking and allocation and Asana for forecasting.
Sitting in front of your computer all day is brutal on your body. Like number 6, taking breaks to stretch is also important. Here’ a great set of simple stretches you can do that will keep your loosen you up and keep you feeling great.
Set regular check-ins with your team. This can take a lot of forms. For us at Lake One, it’s a daily standup and a weekly run down. Our daily standup is a quick pulse on what everyone did the day before, what’s coming up and if there are any blockers that need to be addressed. Our weekly rundown is a strategic look at everything we’re working on. Clients, business development, marketing and operations. While these are meetings and designed to move our organization forward – it’s also a time for our team to interact with each other. We have a lot of Adhoc working sessions virtual as well.