by Sam, Management 3.0
As most of you know, Management 3.0 has been working remotely for years. We’re a fully distributed team, working around the world in various time zones and spanning different continents. It’s not always easy never being face-to-face with each other, which is why we started doing in-person retreats twice a year.
That said, through blood, sweat and tears and plenty of laughter, we have learned what it takes to be a successful remote working team and we felt like there was no better time to share our ‘wisdom’ with you, than right now.
Here is a curated list of advice from your very own Management 3.0. team.
Management 3.0’s Tips to Thriving As a Remote Company
Create your workspace: Even if you don’t have a spare room which you can turn into an office, perhaps you can at least create a working corner for yourself. Put your computer, some pens and paper in a separate place and maybe even thrown in a plant. This gives you more of an office feeling than sitting on the sofa beside the playmobil.
Communicate. Work out loud. Chat by the water cooler: Do this all virtually in Slack because emojis and GIFs can work wonders. Never forget that it’s important to laugh together and most of all to have a transparent, safe environment where you can share ideas and feel heard.
Comfort in the office: Use a big monitor and office chair and table, otherwise you could get neck, shoulder and back pains.
Have regular face to face meetings: It’s important to get together in person in order to create memories, bond and get to know each other on a different level. Make an effort to do this at least once if not more times a year.
Create a mood-channel: This is something we started after our January in-person retreat and it’s been a big success. In Slack we created a channel called ‘Mood’ where every morning or whenever people sign on, they post an emoji for how they’re feeling. If someone’s having a bad day or is frustrated, annoyed, overworked, tired or super happy, they use the emoji that best suits the emotion. It’s a good way to open the door to a discussion (colleagues usually ask if it’s anything other than a smiley face) and lets people know how you’re feeling.
Have a chat app: Whether it’s in Slack or Microsoft Teams or even WhatsApp, make sure there’s an easy and accessible way everyone on the team can connect with one another individually and in a relaxed way.
Honour existing rituals: If you walk to work, take a walk first thing before your day begins. Schedule coffee breaks. If there’s a need to read long documents (contracts, client briefs, etc…) try moving to a nice chair or sofa. We record our team meetings so members who can’t attend are able to watch. Some members watch or listen while working, walking or driving.
Create a priority list for the day: It helps to maintain focus as other tasks/distractions trickle in throughout the day. Focus on intense activities when you’re alone (or whenever you work best) and lighter regular stuff you can do even when there are kids around or other distractions.
Get up from the desk: Every hour or less, even if it’s just for five minutes, get up from your desk, stretch your legs and walk around. Even if it’s just to stare at the plants or the sky or anything that feels relaxing, do it. It can make a big difference in productivity and mental relaxation.
Take comfort in the simple things: Whether it’s a comfortable chair or a good wi-fi connection, these things are great investments for remote working.
Keep a schedule: For example one teammate makes sure that all household work is finished between 9-9.30 in the morning. She gets dressed and acts as if she’s going to the office.
Have a ‘stress buster’: Whether it’s a walk into the garden or another activity, do something that manages your stress.
Keep a work-life balance: Try and set a time where you finish your day and can spend time with your family or friends. Working remotely can mean that you never ‘shut off’ but it doesn’t and shouldn’t be that way as it can lead to burnout.
Start the day with a to do list of no more than five items: Or a maximum of eight. This will give you a sense of focus and allow you to see how manageable your workload is.
Eat lunch in a different place: Take yourself out for a walk, phone a friend and make a lunch date (perhaps not during the coronavirus outbreak) or at least don’t eat in front of your computer.
Carve out ‘structured unstructured time’: Have you ever realized that you sometimes do your best thinking in the shower? We often get the best ideas when we’re not focused on a specific task but rather when we let our minds wander. We don’t however, always make time for this especially when remote working. Schedule time (to shower yes:) but to go for a walk, or sit and stare straight ahead or even to do the laundry. It’s often when we’re not searching for ideas that the best ones arise.
What are your remote working tips? Whether you’re new to this world because of the coronavirus or if you’re a veteran, we want to hear what you have to say. Get in touch or leave your comments at the bottom of this blog.
Photo Credit: Bruno Cervera via Unsplash