The remote office – the future of agency life?
Many of you reading this will be doing so from your remote office or home office, joining millions who have implemented a work-from-home (WFH) as part of the collective effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many teams will find it difficult to migrate their ‘on-site’ workplace ‘off-site’. And while these measures may seem overwhelming and a challenge, this doesn’t mean that productivity and quality have to suffer.
Remote work has been steadily increasing in popularity over the past few years, but many businesses have not been prepared to make the leap – fearing fearing drops in productivity and disconnect with employees. The new WFH measures can cause a number of challenges in keeping your business functioning during this period, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure productivity. Using cloud-based applications, and using them properly, will help you bring that sense of the workplace home, creating a remote office and keep everything functioning during this time.
For many remote-work and a remote office can feel disconnected from colleagues, team, and work. Keeping employee engagement up can be a challenge, but there are plenty of communications and workflow tools to keep you going during this time.
We are big fans of the Google suite and Asana to manage our workflow here in dyjaho. Engaging with tools such as these will help to bridge the gap between the office and the remote office. We’ve put together a shortlist of tools that we’ve :
- Microsoft is offering a free trial of its premium plan for its Team chat app. Included is the ability to record meetings and 1tb of storage. This premium trial has been extended and is available for six months.
- Google will allow G Suite and G Suite for Education users free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts. This plan allows up to 250 users per call and the ability to record meetings. Livestream capabilities for up to 100,000 viewers will also be included until July 1st 2020.
- Zoom already offers a free version of its video conferencing software and is currently testing its network to ensure reliability during the surge in usage.
- Cisco offers a free version of its Webex service, with a 90-day license for new customers.
- For the not-for-profits, LogMeIn has Emergency Remote Work Kits available for three months.
What impact with this have on agency life?
It’s hard to know just yet, but there is a definite need to reasses how you communicate, and what you’re communicating. With the increasing number of video-conference meetings, postponement of events and need to reassess communications it’s certainly a possibility that for agencies like ourselves, life will look different.
At dyjaho, we’re facing these challenges and supporting our clients during this difficult time.
At this stage, you will be settling into your new WFH routine – but if it’s not working it doesn’t mean this has to stick. We’ve compiled a list of our trusted hacks to help your new WFH routine.
- Familiarise yourself with your new applications: if you haven’t done this already, make it a priority. What use is your video conferencing software when you don’t know how to use it? YouTube will be your Holy Grail – take a look at how to make the most of the tools you have. Not only will it make your day easier, but you will be better placed to deliver the timely and quality service that your clients expect.
- Set and stick to your work hours: if you find working from home daunting, keeping the routine of your day can make acclimatising to WFH a smoother process. Why not go for a short walk before your start time – this will mirror your commute and maintain the pattern that your brain associates with work. A lot can be said for the ritual of ‘closing the door’.
- Keep your normal lunchtime: again, it’s all about routine here. Maintaining your daily rituals can make the transition to WFH life that bit easier.
- Pick a workspace and stick to it: if you associate your bedroom or the sofa with siesta time, this is probably not the best place to set up. Pick somewhere that is bright and airy if possible.
- Avoid chores: I know, I know – this is the perfect time to catch up on housework. But this is the easiest way to get distracted. Breaks will drag on, and you’ll become distracted by every speck of dust you see. You’re still at work, so save the household tasks for later.
- Maintain employee engagement: being out of the office can mean your team is missing out on the contact that is essential for a cohesive workforce. Look at opportunities to increase employee engagement with regular team check-ins (think first thing in the morning, evening or noon), apps like Slack, or social video conferences. These can seem like a bit of time-waster but are a solid option to replace that round-table discussion that tends to bring out the best of creativity and innovation in teams.
- Remember this isn’t forever, and there’s a reason why we have all made the move to WFH.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about how we can help you, drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org where we’ll be happy to help.