Remote working was undoubtedly the buzzword during the early stages of the pandemic. The return to offices or following a hybrid model has been happening in recent months, but with each new wave it seems that it is hard to find what was once normality.
At Lymbus we decided almost two years ago to become a remote company. That means much more than everyone staying at home with a laptop and doing the same tasks and socialising as they did before the pandemic. For us, moving to remote has been a comprehensive transformation of our working model and the way we relate to each other. It has not been easy, and we have had to question many processes and implement many things that have not worked, that we have had to change?
Almost two years later we are still learning and improving. One of the things we did was to share among the team tips, learnings and recommendations that had worked well for us for this change to remote and that we share here:
- Set yourself a routine and stick to it. This will help you plan your work and time management. Add schedules, breaks, moments to go for a walk...
- Give your routine a twist. This seems to contradict the previous tip, doesn't it? Add into your routine small 'novelties' that will avoid that feeling of cloistering, for example you can go to work once a week to a coffee shop or coworking, or take a break with friends over coffee...
- Take breaks during the day and rest. Try to separate work from the more 'personal' sphere; don't eat in front of the computer, don't use whatsapp web....
- Create your own work space where you feel comfortable; get a good screen and desk, find a comfortable chair, natural light, keep it tidy...
- It is normal that if you live with other people it is difficult to separate the personal from the professional, try to find elements that allow you to isolate yourself at times: noise-cancelling headphones work wonders
- Your workspace is your office: don't go when you are not working and try not to work in "leisure" spaces such as the sofa or bed
- Try to modify your workspaces according to tasks. For example, you can make video calls in another part of the house or even go for a walk
- Use different media so that you are not hooked to the screen all day. For example, you can use notebooks or papers for brainstorming
- Plan your day according to the tasks you have. Try to schedule meetings and teamwork in the middle of the day and leave the peak times for work that requires more concentration
- Block hours in your online calendar so that you can work quietly without meeting requests
- Find techniques to switch off, such as muting notifications or email on your mobile phone
A new way of working!
- Get used to being more autonomous and organise your own time to meet the objectives and timings set and try to be much more precise with them
- Propose a synchronous and an asynchronous timetable: agree on some hours of the day when all team members are working to arrange meetings and meetings vs. the rest of the hours, where everyone can organise themselves to work as they see fit
- Establish status meetings to review tasks and objectives, but avoid "meetingitis": hold meetings only when necessary
- Improve internal communication; 'force' yourself to report on projects, processes or even the feelings you have. Although it may seem to you that you are over-reporting or re-explaining, there are many parts of the processes that are taken for granted and that part of the team is not aware of. By explaining things better, we encourage everyone to be informed about everything
- Get into the habit of putting all this information in writing: it works very well and is easy to refer back to at any time. This means improving your writing and summarising skills, for example by summarising the content of a meeting in a simple and clear way and learning to give written feedback
- Incorporate new digital tools designed to organise information and tasks. The ones we currently use are Basecamp (project management), Meet (video calls), Drive (document management), Loom (tutoriales and video messages) y Clockify (time tracker). Spend time training yourself in all the options they have, which are many and very useful!
- Make tutorials. Many processes that we used to "teach" in the office can be shown through a tutorial that we can share with new colleagues or even with the team for new tools, tasks, etc.
Socialisation and communication:
- Encourage meetings with your team: either by doing sports activities, working in a coworking space... Don't be lazy and get out of the house to do them
- Look for activities that force you to get out of the house before or after your working day: sports, courses, friends...
- Be very transparent with your team and proactively explain when you are not well, when you are frustrated and need help... It will help them to help you!
- Use the channels that your company offers you to communicate avoiding whatsapp. Take the opportunity to ask questions beyond work and establish relationships with your colleagues: how was your day, what did you do during the weekend, what books are you reading?
- Look for options for socialising if you need to (even if it's not with your colleagues): sign up for a coworking session, meet up with remote friends to work...
- Be more empathetic. In virtual meetings, don't just talk about work and look for moments to talk about other things. Take the coffee chat to the virtual world
Remote working is relatively new, so learning and change is constant as each stage may require different needs. Aligning the objectives of the whole team is no easy task, but we are still working in progress.
And you, what tips would you give us to continue telecommuting?