Working from home!? That’ll never work for me, how can I concentrate with so many distractions around me?
If you feel like this you’re not alone. The past few months have seen a huge shift in the way people are working (I’m sure we don’t need to tell you why) and the ‘new normal’ you keep hearing on the news isn’t going anywhere soon.
Remote working is a relatively new phenomenon. The advent of the internet and instant messaging has seen the practice of working from home grow steadily in the past 15 years. Yet before Covid, remote working was mainly used by kooky startups and big tech companies.
It can feel odd working from home but also super rewarding. You have more freedom to approach the projects you like your way, and there are no overbearing managers breathing down your neck. But being your own boss can lead to a lot of procrastination and daytime TV if you let your guard down.
To help you out in these strange and uncertain times we’ve created this Remote Worker Survival Guide checklist to keep you focused and let you know what to expect when you’re working from the kitchen table.
Who is Passion.io
We’re a SaaS company that has built a drag-and-drop, no-code app creation platform for coaches, tutors, and trainers who want to take their skills online. We’ve been a remote company since 2016 and we have team members based across the globe. We love remote working and think, in many ways, it’s the future of work. Sharing our tips, tricks, and strategies for creating successful remote teams is something we love doing. Honestly, we’ve found we’re more productive when we’re at home and if we can share that productivity with others we’re all for it.
The Survival Checklist
To make the checklist easy to digest we’ve separated it into three categories; mindset, digital tools, and equipment.
It can be easy, when working from home, to convince yourself you’re being really productive. When in reality you’re eating ice cream on the sofa, watching Netflix, and your work laptop is sitting disregarded on your lap. To avoid this scenario you need to check you’re in a work mindset.
When you’re working remotely time management and self organisation are the keys to success. Make sure you are ordering your daily tasks in a list and stay focused on the tasks you give yourself. There’s nothing like looking at a checked-off list at the end of the day to remind you that remote working isn’t impossible!
If you often jump from task to task quickly you could find that you’ve reached the end of the day and finished nothing. Strict prioritisation will keep you focused and accountable for your own work.
You’ve had a stressful morning, and your lunch break has flown by. Why don’t you just give yourself an extra 30 minutes off? No one is going to know. But before you know it that 30 minutes has turned into an hour. Well that’s fine, you can just add an extra hour of work onto the end of your day. Yeah right!
Be honest with yourself about your working habits and set up a routine that can remove your negative impulses. If you’re not a morning person start slightly later in the day but make sure you’re fully committing to work when you do.
Mess in general isn’t good for creating a productive work environment. Get rid of the clutter before starting work to ensure a zen calm whilst replying to emails.
To get yourself in a work mindset it helps to have a dedicated workspace at home [that feels like an office or library] to use. Free this space of non-work-related distraction and put your phone out of arms reach (We’re serious).
2. Digital Tools
Once you’ve got the right mindset for a day of remote working you’ll need to master the tools that make doing your job possible. There are 100s of tools out there, but here are our suggestions to fast track your way to success.
💡 Video Conferencing platform
Whether it’s a Zoom call, Microsoft Teams, Skype or Google Hangout, mastering the use of video conferencing platforms is essential for remote workers. Not only is it nice to see your colleagues (in most cases anyway), but video conferencing lets whole teams get on a call together.
It’s also very difficult to stay focused on an audio-only call. When you can’t see your colleague you’ll often find yourself talking over other people. Your meeting can quickly become clunky and unproductive.
What is Slack? You might have seen the adverts on TV, or heard some tech-savvy friends mention it over a beer. To put it simply Slack is like Whatsapp for work. It’s the #1 way remote companies communicate and the platform comes with a host of features that make communicating with your team easy.
💡 Project Management Tools
Working on a project with team members can be challenging at the best of times. When you throw remote working into the mix it can be impossible. Trying to remember who’s accountable for what tasks, when your deadlines are due, and who reports to who are all common issues faced by remote teams. Luckily, there are loads of digital tools in the market that take the pain out of collaboration.
Asana, Trello, & Monday.com are all viable options you could use to collaborate with colleagues. Your chosen company will likely use one of the above or another product. Whatever they use, spend some time learning the platform so you can be a savvy remote worker from the get-go when you join the company.
💡 Google Drive
Google Drive is a cloud-based word processor that allows you to collaboratively work on documents together with your team. It also has spreadsheets, powerpoints, and a host of other functions that let you create professional documents.
Google Drive stores your work on the cloud. This means there’s no chance of losing it if your computer explodes. You can access your documents anytime, anywhere. It’s free to use, so get familiar with it now to ensure success when you’re working from home.
There are many fun ways to socialise with your team remotely. Whether it is by playing multiplayer online games (e.g. Houseparty app and Passion.io favourite – Haxball) or creating a quizz (anyone familiar with Kahoot?). It’s great to socialise with your colleagues and have a break between or after working.
Remote working doesn’t mean ‘work from home’, it means work from anywhere! As society gets back to a sense of normality you’ll probably want to leave the house and work from a coffee shop or co-working space.
To make this trip a pleasurable experience, and to maximise your comfort and productivity when you’re out the house, here’s a list of things we think it’s wise to pack for your afternoon excursion for a latte.
Coffee shops are noisy places. When you can hear clattering plates and indistinct chatter, it can be hard to concentrate. A decent pair of noise cancelling headphones can let you get your head down and get work done no matter where you are.
💡 Notepad & pen
Sometimes the old ways are the best. If you need to make rough notes or want to doodle between assignments then a notepad & pen is a must.
Weather is unpredictable (especially in the UK) and nothing will kill your work ethic like getting hosed down in the rain on the way to your preferred work venue.
💡 Water bottle & reusable cutlery
This one’s for the environment. If you’re working in town and want to help mother earth, bring your own bottle and cutlery. If it saves you using single use plastics it is worth it.
💡 Laptop & charger
It goes without saying really. You can’t do work without your laptop. Be sure to pack your charger though, you’ll be surprised how many people forget it.
The checklist above is a run down you can use to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success in a remote working role. Use it as a guide, refresher or checklist whether you’re taking your first steps into a remote working role or you’re a seasoned pro looking to brush up on the basics.
☞ A big thank you to the Passion.io team for writing this blog! We hope you all find it useful.☜