If you were to suggest working from home ten to fifteen years ago, you would probably have been met with some perplexed expressions from colleagues and friends. How can you possibly do your job from beyond the comfort of your four-walled, windowless office?
Well, times have definitely changed! A survey from Buffer said that 99% of survey respondents said they would like to “work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.” But what about taking a dive into the unknown? What about full-time remote work? Nowadays, it’s pretty common to run your business from your favourite local cafe. Coffee on tap, cakes galore and of course a little people watching to get you through the day.
Believe it or not, in November 2018 we ditched our Edinburgh George Street office in favour of the remote digital agency life and yup, not only are we still here to tell the tale, but we’ve grown!
Whilst most blogs will describe how amazing it is to work from absolutely anywhere, we must disclose that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The move from structured office life to being a remote digital agency can be challenging and there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. But where’s the fun in simple things?!
We are now scattered across the UK and New Zealand, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But how on earth do we make it work? We’re glad you asked!
The Importance of Overlap
No matter where members of the team are in the world, overlapping a specific time schedule is key to success. So if you’re a night owl or an early bird working 12 hours ahead of everyone else, that might just work out fine for the rest of the team back in the U.K.
The overlap of time is where you get to catch up, ask questions, get answers and really solidify the bond of the team that was apparent in the office days. Without a specific time to chat, you’re likely to face issues and delays. Life can get in the way sometimes though, and that’s fine. But, to work effectively as a team, make it a priority to specify a time for you to all get-together – or our personal favourite Zoom, that works too.
Out of Office
It might be a public bank holiday in Scotland, but it certainly isn’t in Sydney. Calendars are essential, though you probably already knew that. So, it’s time to get planning. Plan for the week, plan for the month, plan for the year – just plan! Both as a team, and as an individual. Ensure the rest of the team know exactly when you’re working and when you’re not. In order to function properly, make sure everyone is in the loop – knowing when someone is available and when someone is not ensures discipline and a work-life balance too (which is very important people!)
If you don’t already have a shared calendar, now is the time. We use Google Calendar and it really is a lifesaver.
Apps are your friends
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, apps and tools are key to structure, efficiency and success. Perhaps, they just become a little more important when your office is your living room.
With an abundance of tools and platforms out there to use, it can be difficult to know where to begin. We use a variety of tools to help us through the day, no matter where we are. From Teamwork to Basecamp to Slack, all of which keep us on track and ensure we get the job done. They allow for task allocation, discussion, feedback and basic communication that doesn’t involve formal emails.
Make An Office Space
You might picture working from home as sweatshirts and sofas – and sure, very occasionally that’s the reality of it. But if you want to be efficient and get the job done, we recommend choosing a dedicated workspace. So, rather than slouching on the couch, set up a space that will benefit you. Escape distractions and turn that dining room desk into your new tranquil office space.
You might not be venturing into an office, but start preparing yourself for a busy day like you normally would. Set that alarm, drink your tea or coffee and seize the day – you can ditch the suit though, that’s probably not necessary.
Take A Break
Being part of a remote digital agency – or any remote job for that matter – can make it difficult to unplug, after all your home is often your office. So when you’re home it might feel like you should still be working. But that’s not the case, work-life balance is key.
Make sure you take breaks just like you would in the office, we know that it can be easy to sit at your laptop all day – but stop, you’re human!
Take that half hour break and make good use of it. Get out of the house, go grab your favourite mocha, take a stroll down the beach, anything that gets you away from your desk.
Working from home doesn’t mean you need to become a hermit, and that’s important to remember.
We would be lying if we said that remote working is for everyone. That’s not the case. But for some people, it’s perfect.
How do you stay focused and what environment is best for you is there for you to decide. If you can stick to a routine, motivate yourself and ignore your favourite new series dropping on Netflix – remote working might just be a winner.
Every company is different
It’s important to remember that if this set-up worked for everyone, we’re quite confident there would be no such thing as offices. For us, it has passed the trial period and is here to stay.
We’ve increased productivity due to the need to be more efficient in our planning and company structure. And I suppose you could say some other bonuses have helped our transition as well…no commute, no expensive meal deals, flexible schedules and our bid farewell to rush hour traffic. Winning!
If you fancy a chat about our move to remote life, or want to apply to be part of the growing team, please get in touch today.