My thoughts around how to embrace remote working and Covid-19

Is it right for you?

Depending on what industry you work in there may be a time where you could have an opportunity to work from home, that sounds great to some people but you’ve first got to ask yourself the question – is remote working right for me? Lots of people love the work they do and part of that is how they go about doing it. The fact that you travel to an office, speak with team members face to face is half the reason people choose to stay where they are – the question I’d like to ask is – if that was all stripped away would you still enjoy what you do?

Remote working is a mindset

Your alarm clock goes off, you start your day and go out to work knowing your destination and the time you need to be there, straight away you have tasks to complete. You’re in the zone and feel comfortable with that – a structured routine is in place and you adhere to it. Remote working is the same, you just need to change your mindset. Get a new routine, a clean office space, dress as if you’re gong to work, get a play list lined up on Spotify, strong coffee is key and create your own task list that’s achievable – this is your day now, embrace it!

Communication

Laptop, video conference

Whether you work within a team or directly with a client – communication is by far the most important practice. It’s good to keep checking in as you would if you were physically in the office, so you can keep up the same mentality of idea generation, impulsive conversation and social connection.

My advice is to let the other party know that you are engaged as a service or as a collaborative team member. This is especially important at the start of any remote project where the end client isn’t fully educated about how it will work. The key thing is to develop a relationship, develop trust and educate your process and working practices.

Mental and physical health

Running shoes, mental health

It’s important that you also have a structured routine in place for your physical health. People can loose themselves in their work without distraction, which can be a good and bad thing. It’s great you are able to focus, but do you have the ability to STOP? My advice is you need to be strict about your health as well as your work, go for a walk or a run, breathe in the fresh air and get away from your desk. It’s dangerous to be sat down all day and then not move around much in the evenings. Get out for at least half an hour and exercise your physical and mental health – it’s part of the success of being able to work remotely.

Ways of working

If the right systems are in place, and the right people are on board, managers should have no more issues with a remote workforce than they would with a local one. There are lots of tools out there that brings us closer together such as Slack, Google Meet, Skype, Zoom and platforms like Trello and Jira means we have everything available to delver work wherever we live – location shouldn’t be a barrier to access talent.

I’ve recently had the chance to work with Richard on a responsive web design brief. Even though we collaborated remotely I found the communication and feedback to be very effective, but most importantly I discovered someone who has mastered a creative process that was necessary to excel a brilliant standard.

Florina Anghel – Project Manager at Lotto Logic Ltd

Conclusion

I’ve been freelance now for about 10 years and things have changed rapidly over that period, remote working being one of them. The recent pandemic of COVID-19 I think will change the post outlook across many businesses in the way they operate. We have had to adjust to uncertain times and this is an education for change – and in many respects, long overdue.

My prediction is that this forced experiment that’s upon us will diversify the mindset of a lot more businesses in the future and leave the question – why our world wasn’t working more freely in this way before now?

Richard Hill – Freelance designer

 

9 Comments

04 Apr 20
Rich Hill
Thanks Adam, appreciate your comment, hope you and the team at Force 24 are keeping well through these strange times.
04 Apr 20
Adam Oldfield
Well done mate!! What a great piece of work! You are in a good place to offer advice to others how to embrace a Positive work from home attitude!
04 Apr 20
Rich Hill
Thanks for your sharing your experience Steve, I think remote working will focus us more on deliverables rather than to be 'seen to be working in the office'. I agree getting the right sweet spot of work life balance just takes time to adjust.
04 Apr 20
Steve Hill
I have been working from home one day per week for years. I used to find going into the office 5 days per week quite draining on my energy. I also didn’t sleep especially well on a Sunday night. Now I work from home on Mondays. It breaks up my routine and I don’t set an alarm on Sunday night. My sleep is hugely improved and I feel fresher on the 4 days when I work in the office.Since the pandemic, I am making more use of google acrobat and becoming truly paperless.The problem is ergonomic. A Dining table is much higher than a work desk. Since the pandemic I have had to get a proper desk, as it was killing my shoulders working at the wrong height every day. My wife on the other hand had never worked from home before this crisis. She isn’t used to setting boundaries with work (she leaves the office either to get the kids from school or when the office shuts!) and she is now working until the early hours every day. Strict personal discipline is key to success in work from home, otherwise it will take over your life!!
03 Apr 20
Rich Hill
Hey Carla, yeah I think it will shape our future, cleaner air, less time commuting, more time with the family. I feel like I've saved a bit as well, but that maybe due to society having a pause button pressed. It's made me stop and think a bit more - video calling has never been more important now and is something I think that will be encouraged with friends and colleagues more often.
03 Apr 20
Carla
Hi Rich, I really liked ur article, especially when we are all suddenly force into a different work situation, great tips.
03 Apr 20
Richard Hill
Insightful comments Richard Ellis, it will definitely change our approach once this is over. Anthony - thanks for your comment, hope all is well in Thailand.
03 Apr 20
Richard Ellis
I agree that this period of enforced working from home (where possible) will change the demographics of UK working habits permanently in some cases. I believe it will confirm to many businesses and employees that the technology infrastructure is in place for them to WFH, at least a few days a week.There is a positive influence on the work/life balance and it can be extremely time efficient without having to factor in commuting to a office 5 days per week. The point about mental and physical health is extremely important, we all need to factor in breaks in the working day and have the self discipline to adhere to those breaks. Getting outside to have some fresh air reinvigorates the body and mind and will help to maintain focus during the times that you need to be productive.I have realised that although there are many aspects of my job that I cannot do from home (construction clerk of works) there are some reports and correspondence that I can do easily from home and it is something I will look to implement on a permanent basis.
03 Apr 20
Anthony Flanagan
Intreresting article and tips for my new challenge of working from home, thankyou.

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