What is Remote Working?

Remote working is sometimes known as Telecommuting, Teleworking or ‘Working from Home’, and refers to the practice of undertaking a job that is done outside of the normal office environment, a practice being rapidly executed across businesses globally today. There are a variety of remote work types, practices and implementations. For some, it’s already undertaken to give a more balanced work/home life balance and to alleviate impact on the environment through commuting, with employees given the opportunity to work remotely for a day or two each week; for others it could be a company-wide policy to react to changes in business, socio-political or economic climate. With current technological advances, remote working is becoming increasingly simple to implement, with little-to-no impact on business operations.

On Tuesday 17th March 2020, in light of the recent Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Wonderful announced that the company’s Remote-Working Policy would be executed, meaning the entire team would be continuing their normal daily duties from home:

“In line with the government recommendations, our team will be working remotely from Wednesday 18th March. We are well prepared to deliver full business continuity, despite the current global issue we are all facing. Our project management, account management and communications tools have all been operational for years, making the transition to working away from the office seamless for our team. Most of our clients are already utilising our collaborative platforms for both project and campaign management, meaning we’ll be as contactable and creatively productive as ever. Most importantly, our team is ready to work with you to help deliver strategies for tackling the business problems being faced in the current climate. Let’s continue to make Wonderful things happen together.”

Leaving the regularity and routine of the morning commute into the office, at face value, can sound like an interesting and exciting change. However, it is important that plans and strategies are set up, and that adoption is done in a way which empowers the team to continue to remain productive without the “normal structure” in place.

What does the implementation of our remote-working policy mean? And how will it impact business as usual? In this article, we’ll try and answer some of these questions by sharing some Top Tips and Hacks for staying as productive as ever during testing times.

Top 5 Tips & Hacks for maintaining Remote Working productivity and sanity:

Remote Working Tip - Wake Up

      1. Up & at ’em! Set your alarm as you normally would, get up as you normally would, and gear up for the day ahead. Now, whilst this may seem futile (with the time and effort saved on the daily commute), it is important to start your day in the way you normally would, to ensure your brain’s natural patterns and preparedness continue as normal. Being primed for the day ahead at the same time as you normally would ensures you can hit the ground running at your normal start time, ready and raring to go. Whilst in remote working mode, our team are having 9am Scrums (quick fire meetings in line with our Agile methodology) to ensure everyone is ready to go for the day ahead (see Communication below).

        Dress for work even when remote working and grab a coffee

      2. Get in to Work Mode – Routine is Key. Beyond just waking up on time, and establishing the launch of your routine, it’s also important to follow other actions you’d normally take throughout the working day. Everything from wearing ‘work’ clothes (or actually getting dressed at all!) to having your morning coffee at the same sort of time as the one you’d have when you first enter the office can help maintain the status-quo in employees’ minds, and contribute to setting the day up for success. This ties in nicely with point 3 – setting the environment.

        Home office work environment remote working

      3. Set the Environment. Working on the sofa, whilst it may seem a comfortable option, is not likely to yield highly productive results. Some people may struggle to have the space to set aside a separate office, but finding a space free of homely distractions (that pile of washing staring at you, that smart TV with the latest Netflix box-set just one button press away…), which is a dedicated work-zone is vital. Remove distractions and ensure that the environment closely matches that of the office where possible and within reason – and  furnishing the team with all the tools they need to do their normal daily tasks is essential. This could include listening to the same sort of music, taking regular tea and coffee breaks, getting up and moving around and occasional phone or web calls with colleagues.

        Designer using Adobe XD

      4. A bad workman blames his tools. This can be said in most fields of work, but ensuring all the tools you normally have at your disposal (and some new ones) are available will mean there are no excuses when it comes to staying productive. In our case, this extends online and offline, in hardware and software. We are well versed in cloud-based working, with many of our platforms already residing in digital ecosystems meaning we can log-in and work remotely anywhere in the world (home is preferable in times like these, of course). Ensuring employees have the right tools to continue doing their job to the same high standard is vital in ensuring adoption of this practice is positive for both employees and customers alike, no matter what industry. If your business hasn’t traditionally been geared for this seamless move to remote working, there are a plethora of collaborative tools widely available online to ensure lines of communication are kept available and, if needs be (and where regulations allow), hardware should also be made available to the team. We’ll cover some of the communication tools below.

        Slack great collaboration tool remote working

      5. Communication is key. In these situations, communication can not be overvalued. It is amazing how quickly all the little quick chats, questions, micro-meetings and even banter in the office show their true value once the team is disparate and working remotely. Secure communication tools are incredibly useful at times like this and there has been a rapid uptake in the use of platforms like Slack and WhatsApp for quick fire comms within remote working teams. Collaborative document platforms like Google Docs, Sheets & Slides help teams to collaborate on production; and cross-team productivity can be maintained with many task and project management tools, such as Teamwork, featuring functionality that allows various parties to communicate through messaging, commenting and file sharing to maintain and maximise efficient productivity.It’s not all about productivity though, often remote-working can leave employees feeling isolated and missing social interaction. Dedicating a specific channel for more friendly, non-work related social comms is vital to help minimise any feelings of isolation during times when remote working is enforced (rather than a chosen practice).

In Summary:

So, in the current climate, remote working is becoming an increasingly common practice which, provided implemented correctly, can still bare the same fruits as office-based working. Of course, the wider implications are yet to be seen, and there are a wide range of other tips and hacks for making the most of this situation. However, through putting these top tips into practice, the Wonderful Team are one full day in to this way of working and have seen zero-drop in productivity, internal and external communication or morale (so far – we’ll keep you updated!).

via GIPHY

We are yet to see the impact of this on wider business to it’s full extent, but we are already formulating ways to support not only our existing clients, but the wider business community through digital and creative activities, to ensure businesses can survive and continue to thrive despite the challenges being faced. We’ll be sharing some of these soon.

If any of these issues are affecting you, and you’d like to discuss how technology can assist your business stay operational and thrive, despite the constraints of enforced isolation, then please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

Author: James Gray, Head of Digital: Experienced marketeer with a passion for all things digital. He nerds-out about data, using it to power the strategic thinking driving our online and offline campaigns.

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