As a digital marketing agency, people assume we are the kings and queens of remote work life, because digital work is after all digital.
However, up until now our company has been pretty traditional in the sense that we have an office that each of us travels to every day, we have work stations, set equipment, etc.
Although, we pride ourselves in our flexible schedule, it is not until this year that we have pushed ourselves to work remotely.
Why even consider working remotely?
Studies have shown that working remotely can achieve 35% more activity than those working in office environments.
In today’s day and age with millennials and gen z’s coming into the workforce, remote working is now sort of an expected benefit instead of a luxury.
Many companies highlight this “perk” and use it as a recruiting tool to attract potential candidates.
Who wouldn’t love working from Switzerland, Paris, or even Germany if it was an option?
It’s kind of a win win situation.
An employee is happier and in return, according to a 2019 two-year Stanford University study, remote employees can boost a company’s productivity.
How our company does remote working.
We began this year with the goal of having our weekly Monday meetings at coffee shops around Houston. And as we continue to be consistent with this practice there are lots of things, we’ve noticed right off the bat that can make or break your remote working experience.
In this blog I am going to share with you the eight different aspects of remote working that you should take into account to make remote work function for you and your team.
Remote Work Tip #1: Onboard and organize team members.
The very first thing to consider when planning to work remotely is that everyone needs to be on the same page.
What does this mean?
This means you have to discuss as a team what your goal is and make sure everyone has clear expectations on what remote working will entail.
For our team, since we are doing this once a week for now, we include the agenda in every calendar invite. This means we plan ahead how long our client meeting will take, how long we will take to check our inboxes, and how long we will dedicate to actually putting in the work to accomplish our goal for the day.
In our case, each Monday is kind of a one-day retreat so we can knock out some of the important tasks that we get distracted with at our office.
For your team, if you are working remotely every day, a weekly or even monthly agenda would be great so you can plan ahead.
P.S: If there are newbies in your team (someone who just started working with you) make sure you take the time to train them and go through the onboard process so they don’t feel lost or feel like they need to fend for themselves if there’s no structure.
A quick 5-10 minute phone call is all it takes to check in and answer any quick questions once they get a hang of the process and tasks.
Remote Work Tip #2: Use effective communication and tools.
One of the biggest fears of companies when they contemplate remote work is not feeling “in control” and worrying that employees will get distracted and not do their work effectively.
First this starts way before by hiring the right people and then trusting yourself that you made the right choice in hires and knowing they are professionals that will get the job done.
Second, having the right tools will help you as a manager feel a bit more in control and at ease.
Below some of the tools we use:
Email: We use the Microsoft 365 suite to email each other and clients.
File Storage: Dropbox helps us organize our files and share documents with our clients.
Meetings: We love using Zoom because of the ease and user-friendly options.
Team Chats: We use WhatsApp.
Remote Work Tip #3: Plan for a reliable connection.
Aww the fun adventure of testing out the Wi-Fi!
So far, we’ve been lucky that all our stops have been pretty reliable, but there has been one where we kept getting kicked out from the connection (probably because we were there too long 😊.)
Again, if you work 100% remotely, I suggest you consider investing in a mobile hotspot that way you can be sure you’ll have a reliable connection and you won’t feel enslaved to the coffee shop, park, co-working space, etc.
Remote Work Tip #4: Make sure to scope out the parking situation.
Thankfully the parking situation here in Houston, Texas is decent.
However, we still encounter places that are park in the street only or require you to park in a garage.
Again, make sure you scope out the place’s reviews and/or even look at the google maps street view to get an idea of the parking situation.
If you have team members in the same city, they may even consider carpooling or ubering to the location.
Take into consideration if there will be parking meters or fees at the parking garage so you can be ready to take some cash or card to make the payment.
P.S: Depending on your company policy you may even get reimbursed for those fees 😉
Remote Work Tip #5: Comfortable seating is a must.
If you’re anything like us, remote working means several hours of us “being in the zone.”
That means sprints of uninterrupted focused work.
This means long periods of seating in the SAME spot.
As it turns out, stools, as trendy and stylish as they are, are not very comfortable.
After several hours you’ll feel like getting up and throwing it out the window 🤣
Which brings me to a very important finding, make sure the place where you are working remotely has comfortable seating arrangements. This could mean cushiony seats, couches, bean bags, etc.
The more seating options they have the better!
P.S: It’s been said that employees work harder when they work remotely…but don’t work TOO hard! Make sure to take hourly breaks to stretch and walk around.
Remote Work Tip #6: Noise level is manageable.
People have different preferences when it comes to noise levels.
Some people thrive in the hustle and bustle of conversations, drinks being clinked, and espressos being pumped. Others like a quieter almost library whispering kind of noises, and others simply put on their headphones and drown out anything that is not their favorite playlist.
Whatever your preference is make sure you check the locations’ website or yelp page for any indications about noise levels. That way you will be aware if there’s a live band playing, a jukebox in rotation, or quiet background noises and you plan accordingly.
Remote Work Tip #7: Spacious facilities.
Are you inspired by nature? Find a remote working spot with a nice patio or even big windows that let in natural light.
Are you inspired by the company of others hustling around you? Find a spot with big co-working picnic tables.
Whatever you prefer there’s a spot to meet your needs.
Our team in particular loves big communal tables, lots of space, and big patios where we can take in some sunshine rays. 😎
P.S: Something as important as spacious facilities is access to power outlets! You’d be surprised how some spaces have limited number of outlets and people have to hunt for them around the location or wait for someone to leave to run and take over the elite spot.
Remote Work Tip #8: Delicious food.
One of our favorite aspects of working remotely is trying new foods! Before we commit to any location, one of the first things we do is review their menu and see if they have tasty options. 😋
What is the point of working remotely and changing your environment if you’re not also going to try the house blend or the special am I right?
Plus, a satisfied palette makes for a boost in brain function which therefore boosts creativity!
To be successful at remote working, whether you work at a digital marketing agency or not, you have to consider the following elements to be successful and effective:
- Comfortable seating
- Noise level/music
- Indoor/outdoor space
Do you have any tips for working remotely that you swear by? Share them with us below!
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