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4 tips for remote work newbies

Working from home for the first time? Here’s some tips from our team since embracing working remotely.

by Tabitha Foster, UX Designer

Person working on a laptop from the comfort of their bed, accompanied by their dog.

Image Courtesy of Unsplash

Remote work isn’t new; lots of companies have been utilizing this work method for quite some time. Everyone works a bit differently, so here are 4 tips for those who are new to working remotely, or to those who want to hear how my co-workers and I have been rocking this new way of working!

Define your work space

“…having a dedicated workstation to help divide home and work (as much as you can — my desk is still in my living room)!”

“I made my desk at home look exactly like my desk at the office.”

This is something I know a lot of people are struggling with as they make the switch from working at an office to working at home. Many of us don’t have a dedicated office space, so we’ve had to use our kitchen tables and couches as our new found work stations. Making sure you divide home and work is super important to a healthy remote working lifestyle.

I’ve slowly built my office nook in my living room; I’ve made sure it’s equipped with all the tools I need. I’ve also personalized the space to make me excited and energized in my new workspace, including some art prints and fun pens to write with. This might mean making your desk a replica of your desk from the office, like one of my fellow TB-ers. Whatever works for you, do it!

Switch up your work methods

“One thing I’m trying to push is redefining “the meeting”… Our online collaboration time is precious. We should be looking to make the most of it by questioning “the way we do things” and challenging ourselves to try new stuff!”

It’s important to learn that remote working looks different for everyone. Some teams are using Zoom, some Google Hangouts/Meet, some of us are communicating on Slack throughout the day, others are emailing more than before. We don’t have to stick with what we were doing before, this is the best time to try new things and “redefine ‘the meeting’ like we are at Thinking Big. It’s fun to explore new methods of hosting retrospectives, daily check ins and brainstorm sessions in a new way. This can be as simple as introducing a new group activity, or discovering a new digital tool such as Retrium or Miro.

Use your tools to your advantage

“Blocking time in my calendar and changing statuses in Teams/Slack to show when I’m available as it’s harder for people to look over and see if you’re at your desk like when you’re in the office.”

We’ve also learned to adapt how we communicate with our teams remotely and utilize our everyday tools to support ourselves better! Using your calendar is a great way to schedule your week and block off times dedicated to specific tasks. Having your calendar accurately reflect what your work day looks like not only benefits you, but any team members looking to arrange a meeting, call or just simply get a hold of you. Many folks at Thinking Big, myself included, utilize the status feature on Slack, to let our team know when we’re available and when we’re not. These are just some examples of how you can really utilize your everyday work tools to your advantage and improve your remote work flow!

Don’t forget to socialize

“This I feel depends on the team and can’t be mandated, but for example the team I work with has a weekly Friday afternoon Zoom meeting, BYOB, where the only rule (occasionally followed) is you don’t talk about work. I’ve also heard of a “morning coffee” where groups of folks that would normally go get coffee and chat together schedule a webcams-on meeting in the morning for 15–30 minutes to do similar. ”

When we work from home, we lose out on those face to face interactions that get us through the day, or do we? With digital tools like Zoom and Slack, we can connect with our team members throughout the work day, sharing work-related insights or just chatting for 15 minutes about whatever while drinking your morning coffee. These things help immensely with maintaining a sense of camaraderie with your work team and keeping morale up when working from home.

Have some other tips to share about working remotely? Share them with us at @ThinkingBigInc!