We have been working remotely for years.
While working remotely is new way of life for many Americans, our company has been working from home for years. Our Sticky Toffee team spans three continents across the globe which has forced us to become experts on connecting virtually, staying organized and working effectively. According to this study by Thrive Global, 85% of you are wishing you would get more help from your employer to adapt to working from home. It is a perfect time to share with you our tips for working from home.
Connecting virtually is not as easy as some may think (side note: go watch this hilarious conference call video by Tripp and Tyler.). You need to have the tools and systems that create an environment for work to get done, while not being in the same physical location. Basecamp is a project management tool that we use that allows us to connect virtually. Basecamp describes the way it works as this: “With Basecamp, you break up your work into separate projects. Each project contains everything related to the work at hand; all the people involved, every discussion, every document, file, task, important date, etc. Everything!”
We also use Basecamp to send quick chats throughout the day to make sure we are up to date with details that don’t necessarily require a phone call or email. Whether it be Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams – find your way to connect virtually with your team. Frequent communication must continue.
Stay as organized as you can.
This one may sound obvious, but it doesn’t come without some trial and error. Figure out what makes you stay organized. While many of us are playing teacher, parent and employee all at the same time, it can be a lot of tasks to juggle. Although I don't have to play teacher right now, I do have to be a parent to three kids ages 3 and under while also trying to get my work done. I know that if I try and work during the hour before nap time (my kids' witching hour), my efforts will be wasted. I plan out exactly when I am going to work, around my kids' schedule. Schedule out your months, weeks and days – even down to the hour to keep you on task. It also allows you to quit thinking about when you are going to get that project done if you already have time allotted to work on it.
Additionally, create a space that feels clean and productive. A bright and open space can really help your mental stamina. It should be inviting and somewhere you enjoy being. Don’t work from your bed or even your couch. Get yourself set in an ergonomic chair, so that physically you feel great (I know, I know. I really wanted to work in one of those sleek modern office chairs too, but I’m telling you from experience… DON’T DO IT!). Lastly, make sure your house is picked up before you go to bed so that it isn’t a stressor in the morning. When you wake up, you will be motivated to start knocking work tasks off your list, rather than wondering about when you are going to do those dishes you didn’t do after dinner last night.
(Check out our throw blanket in this office. It can make your space feel casual, cozy and inviting.)
Working from home offers more flexibility in how and when you get your work done. For me, I am much more efficient early in the morning than I am later in the afternoon. I shift my day up and start before a typical 8 am workday to make use of the time I am most effective. Additionally, make sure you continue to take breaks throughout your day, just as you would at the office. No one can work effectively without periods of rest throughout the day. Take a walk for 20 minutes around your neighborhood. Still grab that afternoon coffee if you need it.
Lastly, eliminate distractions to the best of your ability. Is your phone beeping at you constantly? Put it on silence for a couple of hours. Is that mound of laundry calling your attention? Set a later time for when you plan to do that laundry and then forget about it for now! Figure out what encourages you to work efficiently and eliminate the things that are barriers to achieving that. We hope you found these tips for working from home useful. Good luck in adapting to your new work environment!
Nicole Sticky Toffee Brand Manager