Well, this last week has been one hell of a long year. And with our entire team now working from home, we thought we would share a few little gems about what we have learnt so far on the topic of going loco ‘fully remote’: some of it funny, some of it helpful, some of it just plain ramblings as the lack of human face-to-face interaction drives us slowly crazy.
The Working From Home Starter Kit
A list of must-haves for every worker confined to their newly appointed home office (formally known as the living room or bedroom)
- Microsoft Teams: great for... quick catch-ups, document collaboration, instant communication, seeing who is on a call through status indicators, and sending the latest quarantine GIFs.
- Figma: great for… running remote research workshops, collaboration, design work and stealing each other’s ideas.
- Zoom or Google hangouts: great for… online face-to-face chats, company meetings and creeping on your co-workers’ home set up (basically like a 2020 version of Cribs).
- Trello board: great for… running online remote card-sorting exercises, managing personal tasks and project collaboration.
Strong Leadership is our Backbone
Last Monday was our last day in the office. To ensure that everyone can work from home without too much disturbance in only one day is a big ask. But guess what, we did it! Thanks to a strong leadership team and a CEO who has better customer service than Amazon and does same-day home delivery on equipment, as a team we managed to plough ahead with projects without sweating the details, ensuring that our clients continue to receive the same high-quality, efficient work that they have come to expect from Sitback.
Two Screens is Not a Luxury, it's a Necessity
Whilst it may seem that having two screens is not an absolute must, many members of our team work across multiple projects at once, meaning that we need to be able to easily access and view many project details. Also, how are you going to keep up to date with all the Coronavirus news, whilst listening to an internal call and also reading that funny meme about working from home all at once on just one screen? Near to impossible we can tell you.
That Meeting That Could Have Been an Email? Keep it as a Meeting
Of course, communication was always going to be vital to keeping our projects running smoothly, but it has also been imperative to us keeping our family culture and mental health on track. Here at Sitback, we use a combination of Microsoft teams, Google hangouts and Zoom for video calling. So, even if you think the meeting that you just had could have been an email, seeing someone’s face and hearing someone’s voice (that’s not one of your current prison inmates) might just be the pick-me-up you need. Also, sometimes a five-minute chat instead of a 30-minute message is probably a better use of your time. Maybe.
Have Meetings About Meetings
Remember those casual and impromptu chats that you would have with your project team after a meeting or client call? Well lest we forget how important those are. Scheduling quick chats after a meeting to discuss next steps, feedback and assigning tasks are important to ensuring constant, clear communication and project success.
We Miss The Noise
We think it’s fair to say that everyone has that noisy, over-the-top coworker that distracts and drives you insane when you have to get stuff done (...you know who you are). But hell, you know what? We miss them! They keep the office in good spirits and are actually a nice distraction in times of such uncertainty. Make sure you make time for social chats with co-workers that aren’t just about a project - these are generally the people that you would have spent most of your day with and, let's face it, they are almost like family whether you like it or not.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. People and Their Time
Keeping track of time when it feels like the world is on its ass and time is now just a social construct that no longer exists is hard. We totally get it. But don’t be that person that is 10 minutes late to a video chat - even if it is internal with your team. Even working from home, your colleagues still have important things to do, people to call, and exactly nowhere to be. Respect that.
You'll Miss The Office Wi-Fi
Believe it or not, Australia currently ranks 68th in the world for internet speed. Actually, if you’ve spent any time working from home, you will definitely be able to believe it. Home internet sucks. That high speed connection you’ve come to rely upon in the office doesn’t exist in the ‘burbs. Be prepared to pull out your phone and jump onto your mobile hotspot at a moment’s notice. Believe us, it might just save your next meeting. Or at least keep the Spotify jams flowing.
BRB. DND. Leave Me The Hell Alone!
Working remotely might remove the audible distractions of the office, but with the move to all-digital platforms comes the omnipotent red notification circle of doom. As soon as that magical little ‘ping’ goes off, your chances of completing that task you were working on basically evaporate. You are no longer capable of any degree of rational thought, let alone anything even remotely related to the topic until you find out what awesome little distraction your colleague has decided to share with you. So turn notifications off when you need to get shit done.
Well there you have it. Everything we have learnt from our first week of working from home. Hopefully you’ll find it useful as you transition into the unknown alongside us. Remember, we’re all in this together. Share how you are adapting to working in you PJs below and we can all help each other figure this out together. Stay safe!
We’ve written this post as a tongue in cheek look at how many people are now adapting to working from home. However, not everyone has been so fortunate as to be able to carry on working remotely. The extensive closures to businesses across Australia and the globe continue to affect millions of people, with many being asked to stand down, or worse, laid off entirely (here’s some current advice if you’re in this situation).
It’s an uncertain time for everyone, but if you are able, we urge you to consider supporting some of the many organisations working to help those most affected by the current pandemic, both at home, and further afield.
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