Tips and tricks to give you the tools to work from home, not just in the age of COVID-19

As a digital agency, we’re constantly looking at the best technology to keep us productive, connected and agile. Over the past couple of years companies who provide staff with the opportunity to work from home have been seen as trailblazers, and in some ways they are, but really this is just good future planning.

The reality of large proportions of the UK workforce having to work from home is upon us. The race to contain and delay COVID-19 is now peak priority, so we need to be prepared for a long stretch of home or flexible working.

While this may seem quite daunting, there are plenty of positives to take advantage of.

Work life balance can be brilliant working from home; an extra hour in bed, watching Pointless on your lunch break, an afternoon nap and no commute. However, distractions are many, keeping focus can be tricky and not having your workmates around to chat about Masterchef can get lonely.

How to successfully work from home – the basics

  • Stick to your normal working hours – you don’t have to work 9 am – 5 pm but try to keep track of the hours you work and don’t be tempted to do more, unless necessary. It can be difficult to switch off when working from home, so try to remember to keep your work-life balance healthy.
  • Have a shower – it might be tempting to just throw on a t-shirt and some joggers and get to work but not feeling fresh can be a distraction. A shower will set you up in the right way, plus it’s a great place to think of your plan of action for the day ahead.
  • Take breaks – ever experienced tunnel vision when you’re in the zone? It’s likely we all have, but this could be detrimental to your mental health. Set an alarm and get up from your work space. A regular five or ten minute break will refresh your mind and boost productivity.
  • Remember to hydrate & eat – it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re working from home. Again, set an alarm and take a full lunch break. During this time doing some activity will keep your brain active and your body will thank you for it. Yoga is a great distraction as it focuses the mind and relieves stress but choose something that is right for you.
  • Keep in touch – you don’t have to become a hermit, there are plenty of ways to keep in contact with your work mates. Whether it’s sharing memes over a messaging platform or meeting notes on a shared document – it’s important to stay in touch with your community.

Work from home - man at desk

Choosing the right technology to work from home

As a web design and digital marketing agency, we’ve tested a lot of online systems to find the right fit for us. It means that all departments can communicate easily and it enables us to work remotely when needed. Here are some of our favourite services and why we use them.

Google Drive

The godsend that is Google Drive helps us create, share and organise documents in one place with easy access if we choose to share files. It also allows documents to be shared with clients by simply inputting their email. Each user receives up to 15gb of free storage but you might be wondering why it can make working from home easier? Let us elaborate.

  • Review & editing – you can collaborate live on documents and see who is editing in real time. This makes things so much easier than sending a PDF back and forth for mark up.
  • Easy access – no matter where you are, you just have to log in and all your files are there. When you’re working from home, there’s no VPN network to log in to that takes an age to load the network.
  • Saves automatically – never again will you have the panic when a document crashes and you haven’t saved in the last three seconds. Google Drives does this for you.
  • Versatile – It has everything that Office 365 has, including a Sheet feature (similar to Excel) so no need to create offline then upload.
  • Customisation – this is one of our absolute favourite features, you can create templates that mean every document you create follows your own branding.
  • Add-ons – There are tonnes of add-ons to make life easier. As we’re all about SEO we constantly have the SEMrush add-on open.

Slack

This is our main communication tool. We can fire messages and images to each other quickly without clogging up inboxes. You have the option of direct messaging individuals or you can create channels for group chats. It’s great for project work, as you can fire off ideas and get a quick response.

Toggl

Toggl is our team’s way of monitoring productivity. You can set up clients, projects and teams and the dashboard shows you the total hours spent on a project. It’s got some great analysis which helps you streamline processes and become more efficient. You can also get a Google plug-in, so you can quickly start and stop the timer, which is super handy when you need to switch between tasks or clients.

We’re hoping that these tips for working from home will assist you and your team to implement agile working.