By now, working from home is no shock to the whole world. As we write this article, we’re going on 33 days of working from home. Although we’re a digital marketing agency and can pivot fairly quickly, it’s a culture change and shock to a lot of people that aren’t ready for it. Not to mention, a lot of people have a problem when forced to do something, even if it’s for the best. Thankfully, our entire team transitioned to 100% remote with ease as we helped each other through the mental change.
After seeing and hearing about a lot of companies and people struggling with the 100% remote transition, we figured we’d provide some value and give you the top tips that have helped our agency pivot 100% working from home with ease.
Top Tips For Being Productive While Working From Home
Before we dive into the top tips for being productive while working from home, we’d like to touch on a few things. Everything in life, whether good or bad, is analyzed and processed by your mind, your emotions, and how you feel about situations. You can follow all of our tips, but if you’re doing it while the news is on or you’re scrolling through social media looking for COVID-19 updates, you might as well throw these tips right out the window. You must eliminate all stress from your life and put blinders on during this new world we’re living in. Try to focus on the positives that have come from this. We know it’s hard to be positive during a tragic time, but it is very much possible as we’re writing this article from a very positive and happy place.
Make sure your house is clean and stays clean.
I know we sound like your mom in the 3rd grade to make sure you clean your room before you can play with your friends, but we’re serious. If you haven’t read the book “Make Your Bed,” we’ll start with your first task. From the moment you wake up, you must start the day with a sense of not only accomplishment but a clean and healthy start. It puts your mindset on attention to detail mindset for the day. A clean home will create a positive and stress-free environment for you and your work. This current situation might be much harder for those of you reading this that have a few kids running around at home but ask for help from others.
A lot of people struggle with their schedule while working remotely, which is why we recommend scheduling your cleaning on your Google calendar, where you can see it every day. We’re not kidding. Schedule out your chores and cleaning time on your calendar so you treat it as if you would like any other task in your life. I’ve personally been doing this for years, and it works like a charm. Even if you have a cleaning lady or company that usually comes, odds are, we’re all cleaning our houses right now. A productive day starts with cleanliness and positive energy.
Make sure that you set up a remote office in a room in your home.
This one might seem obvious, but we have to remember that some people live in studio or one-bedroom apartments. This tip also goes to anyone that has an office at home but decides to use the couch instead. No matter how much “flow” you think you have from a comfy chair or comfy couch, you should still set up a designated office in your home. Your office will allow you to sit up straight in a chair and type effectively on your computer. It won’t have you getting comfy like a couch cushion would, which will slowly put you to sleep throughout the day.
You should also treat different rooms in your house for different purposes; otherwise, you’re going to go crazy by being inside your home 24/7. If you work, read, watch tv, and talk to friends on Zoom all from your living room, chances are you’re going to get sick of your living room and feel trapped very soon. Spread your time throughout your entire home. If you have a smaller house or apartment, feel free to get outside while staying socially distant from people.
Communication with your team is crucial.
When working from home, we’re forced to read lines in a text message, email, or Slack channel versus seeing that person and having a conversation face to face. We’ve all had someone misread our text or email before and take the message the opposite way that you intended it to be read. That calls for increased communication with your team during these times.
Our team has two stand-up meetings on Slack and Zoom every week, managers meeting every Friday, and we all work live in slack together from 9 am – 6 pm Monday through Friday. Although our team has been working until 8 pm – 9 pm most nights as a lot of our clients have tight deadlines for COVID-19 projects and not much else to do right now outside of work and binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, Tiger King.
Making a schedule is crucial.
Some of you might live by a schedule, and some of you might hate schedules. Now is the time to get accustomed to a schedule if you want to be productive while working remotely from home. Some of you might be single and alone at home, but some of you might have a significant other and kids at home, so it could also be pretty hectic.
We highly recommend putting everything about your day in your Google Calendar. You can then color code your day. I’ll give you an example. I wake up every morning at 6:30 am and spend the next two hours reading, meditating, and journaling. I mark that blue in my calendar for personal time. I then color code which subjects I’m working on throughout the day: content creation is yellow, SEO is orange, sales is green, creative or branding is pink, and so on. You don’t have to go that granular. You can just start by adding everything to your calendar and breaking it down, so nothing catches you off guard, and you can visualize everything you genuinely plan to get done for the week. The other cool feature of Google Calendars is that you can break down that goal or time slot into bullet points of tasks or goals in the description box.
Take a 10-15 minute break every 2-3 hours.
We started implementing this at our agency about a year ago. We saw research that increased productivity after taking a walk. When you’re staring at your computer screen for hours at a time, you need to give your eyes and brain a rest and refresh. Going for a walk is a great way to breathe some fresh air and get away from work.
We noticed that every time our team would walk around our neighborhood in Scottsdale, AZ, they would get a bunch of vitamin D from the sun, and see bright blue skies, birds chirping, and super green trees. How could that not freshen someone’s day up? So, we started pushing our team members to go on walks with each other. Going for a walk will also help you focus on the positives right now and show you how much bigger this universe is than just us and our needs during this time.
Set a timer on your phone every 2-3 hours, and it will remind you to go for a walk. We’d recommend bringing water with you as the odds are you haven’t hydrated enough while working away at your computer.
Use this software to work at home with ease.
Below is a list of some of the software we use at Avintiv Media to be productive while working remotely.
Slack is the same thing as an advanced chat room for your whole company. It’s a live chat system that allows you to take to your entire company or just one person at a time. Your company is a workspace, and it will enable you to organize communications by creating channels to organize group discussions. You can add text, links, files, and pretty much anything else inside slack that you would want to send to a colleague. Our agency counts on slack a ton, even when we are working at the office, since we have had remote team members all over the country.
Google Calendar is just as it sounds; it’s a shared calendar linked to your Google Account. Google Calendar allows you to quickly schedule meetings or Zoom meetings while getting reminders about upcoming meetings throughout the day. Google Calendar works excellently with teams of any size. You can view what your other team members are working on or where they have free time for an up-and-coming meeting. This calendar has been a massive lifesaver for us at the agency.
Google Drive is a free online cloud-based storage system that allows you to store and access files online. Odds are, your company either uses Google Drive or Dropbox to organize all of your company files. Google Drive syncs all of your stored files to any of your devices, whether it’s your desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet. You can access all of your files in the cloud.
Outside of being one of the best stocks to have invested in for the beginning of 2020, Zoom is one of the top software programs getting everyone through working remotely. Zoom is cloud-based videotelephony, online chat, and business telephone service you can use to video chat clients, team members, friends, or anyone else who has it. Zoom allows you to share your screen or draw on the screen, so it feels like you’re still face-to-face with those you’re meeting. We highly recommend using Zoom for all teams who are working remotely right now. Zoom has been one of the most significant culture pieces that have been holding our teams together. Our team is a big family, and we all know how we feel when we can’t see family for weeks at a time. Zoom allows us all to see each other’s faces, along with our clients, faces, multiple times per week.
ClickUp is a cloud-based project management system that is suitable for all sized businesses or projects. We use ClickUp to manage all of our client’s projects, budgets, timelines, and internal processes. One reason we’ve been able to scale our agency so quickly is due to the level of quality of our work and our streamlined processes. ClickUp has enhanced our processes to deliver an even more phenomenal experience to our clients.
If you’re having trouble organizing projects or collaborating on deliverables with your teammates, then we highly recommend you look at ClickUp. It has saved a lot of our projects from colliding with each other, as a lot of our projects are from different clients with different deliverables and similar timelines. Even if it’s you by yourself, it’s an excellent way for you to stay organized on what needs to be accomplished with your projects.
We understand that right now is a difficult time for a lot of people in the world. There’s no way of sugar-coating that. It’s not what happens to you that defines you; it’s how you react and handle those situations that define you. There are a lot of positives to look at during this massive refresh the world is doing. A lot of us have taken for granted the little things in life, like leaving our houses or going to a restaurant. Right now, you have the full power to be productive working from home and keeping a positive attitude about life and work. If you need help with your business or want to pivot your business, feel free to contact us, and we can chat.