In this guest post Web Profits head of creative Katherine Chalhoub offers her advice on how you can dominate your WFH plan…
The time has come. Working from home has become a necessity for many of us and recommended for the rest.
Those of us who already carry our job with us everywhere we go may have had our suspicions that this would become the norm — it looks like we’re all going to have to buckle down and hit ‘reset’ on focus.
So — in light of the dramatic changes that have hit most, if not all, corporate working routines, I’ve prepared a how-to guide on dominating your work from home to make the most of what could be seen as a really challenging experience.
It goes without saying you need a fast, reliable internet from the get-go. Not much will be happening for you or your respective teams if you’re not connected digitally.
That said, the following checklist should also help with the spacial must-haves that will set the comfort levels either soaring or plowing down the decline.
A spacious desk that has the capacity for what you need. It could be two screens, it could be lots of drawing space. Whatever it is, make sure it’s sturdy and can carry what you need it to.
A comfy, ergonomic chair. You’ll be spending significant time seated so best make sure it’s on something that supports your posture and moves freely.
Screen setup at eye level, suited to your posture – goes without saying.
A designated drinking glass. I know it sounds weird, but once it’s empty you’ll be motivated to refill it meaning you’ll get up, walk to the fridge and hopefully get a bit of blood flow happening whilst keeping yourself hydrated.
Set The Mood
Choose your space wisely because you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Make sure it’s a place you feel safe and comfortable in, and is equipped to house everything you need it to, for work and ideas to flow freely.
It should also not be a place you go to, to relax or chill out. In this case, it’s super important to compartmentalize work, from life spaces.
Music can be your friend or enemy. For me, I love the idea of working to music. It acts as the playlist to my day and can often help me focus. Here are a few which might help (literally) set the tone for you.
Visual stimuli can again be something that works for or against you. In my case, it’s super important to surround myself with photographs, posters, books, and plants to help create an environment I feel inspired by. It won’t be the same for everyone, so find the balance that works for you.
Keep it clean. Whether you’ve decided to go with the above point or not, keeping your workspace clean is super important. Not only for the obvious hygiene reasons but for your brain space as well. It’s proven that a clutter-free workspace leads to a clutter-free brain space!
Change it up! If you can, try working in your garden outside or on a verandah with a cup of tea (or in my case, your third long black for the day). Change of space could mean a new, fresh change in ideas. Give it a go but make sure your internet speed isn’t compromised by distance.
Communications is Key
It’s been said many times before but communication (especially in current times) is key to any successful relationship – and your collaborative work relationships aren’t any different from any other.
Regular communications is something we’re all probably pretty familiar with using. Continuing with this should mean things flow as they naturally would between team channels and projects. FYI – we swear by Slack for its superpowered integrations and in-app storage capabilities.
Phone VS email. Pick up the phone where a conversation’s the best approach. You’ll know when to make the call.
Video conferencing is great. It brings us closer together when we can’t physically collaborate with each other. Opt for as many video conference meetings as possible. Not only does it reconnect the team, it also means you can get a better read on facial reactions to ideas or conversations. Our teams are well-versed in ZOOM and it’s one we stand by.
Culture meetings can be challenging, but if you have a small to medium team, it’s a great opportunity to keep a sense of culture and community alive with a weekly video conference, keeping people up to date with company updates, announcements and wins. And on that topic…
Sharing team wins should be celebrated, and usually are in most cases. We have a ‘Team Wins’ channel where people freely share good news and client success stories. It builds comradery amongst the collective, as well as celebrating the hard work and innovation of key team players.
Know your outcomes. Always set meetings with a strong agenda and the core outcomes so you get from it what you need to. Remote meetings are essential but they should always hold value and have clear reasons for happening,
Daily Self + Project Management & Planning
Let’s just say it – this is going to be a challenge.
Accountability at the best of times can be hard, but when you’re working solo with no other people around you, there’s a whole new dimension to consider. Keeping yourself in check will be more important than ever and these are a
Life Admin can be a nagging task that sets a lag in the back of your mind. Kill it off by getting chores and niggling tasks out of the way either before work or the night before.
Look the part. It’s so important to mentally maintain the same standards you would regularly. Make your bed, shower, dress for work as you would and start your day fresh, ready to kick on.
Define your hours. Knowing when you start and when you’ll finish is crucial. If you’re a morning person, maybe kick off your day a bit sooner to get ahead of the curve. If you’re a night owl, take the opportunity to focus on tasks ahead of time, to ensure people aren’t relying on your contributions for days. Whatever you decide (and what works for your team), make sure you make it known and keep consistent.
A solid exercise regime to start your morning off gets those endorphins flowing and sets your creative thinking on track for the rest of the day. Don’t forget to move around throughout the day too.
Set your goals listing your top 3 tasks for the day. Write them down and prioritise them by due date and difficulty. Plan for video collaboration if they require more than one person and make sure to set the agenda for your outcomes! Sharing these with your team with a deadline will also hold you accountable and on track for completion.
Use your calendar: It’s a great place to allot time for focus or deep work. Handy tools and techniques you can reference are:
End today, planning for tomorrow. Nothing will prepare you for tasks at hand as much as knowing what your focus should be for the day ahead. Considerations to plan for could be:
- Check / plan for meetings
- Making sure all deadlines are on track (and plan for this accordingly)
- Reviewing ASANA board(s) and confirm / update the task status
Keep learning! Set time aside for podcasts, training courses (online) and reading to keep building your knowledge base. Don’t lose sight of upskilling yourself and growing your capabilities – if anything, you’ll have more capacity for this with the reduced commute timing.
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