Whether we like it or not, the current global pandemic has brought about a 'new normal' for us all, the most notable of which is the remote working capabilities of businesses across all industries and disciplines. Working remotely and staying productive is as crucial now, as it ever has been before.
Wild Eye is certainly no exception! Although not in office, our team remains committed to changing the way our guests see and experience the world - we're just doing so from home. Notice I didn't say the 'comfort of home' - but more on that later...
Despite the recent global switch, remote working is not a new concept, and has in fact been in operation with varying degrees of success for many years already. Although, working remotely and staying productive often sparks much debate, and is consequently a source of consistent mixed reviews, it is difficult to deny that remote work is currently the biggest workplace revolution of our time.
Chris Herd (founder & CEO of Firstbase) has said, "being handcuffed to an office and expected to live in a high cost of living city with a low quality of life is a remnant of the industrial revolution". He also goes on to describe that the office as we know it, may have ironically become the worst place to get the isolation and focus required to really complete deep work. How often do we find ourselves distracted in a noisy office environment? How often do we find ourselves prolonging and procrastinating on simple, administrative tasks, let alone important business strategies? Can working remotely and staying productive actually work?
Well, remote working is far more than just giving up the office entirely and avoiding the often stressful daily work commute. It is the ability of employers, to provide their workforce with a sufficient amount of flexibility to be able to operate when, and where they find themselves to be at their most productive. Rather than a fixed, hourly-managed work day, the emphasis is on the employee to structure a work schedule that best suits his / her lifestyle, priorities, goals and aspirations.
Effectively, a remote working strategy is all about a successful work-life balance. The flexibility allows employees to focus on their work related outputs, whilst simultaneously working on their health (mental and physical), wellbeing, and also finding important time for family & friends, and other hobbies and interests outside of work, which would otherwise have been limited only to weekends, public holidays and annual leave.
The outdated thinking, that a measure of productivty was based almost entirely on the number of hours spent in a physical office, is fast being replaced by measurable output and productivity as new age metrics for success. Consequently, the idea that 'work' can only be completed at a geo-specific location, is a concept soon to be abolished all together.
It is believed that global business real-estate footprint may decrease by as much as 50% in the foreseeable future, as more and more multi-national corporations begin to realise the benefits a remote working strategy might have on their business efficiencies, operations, and economic growth.
Simply put, flexible working is the way of the future!
But, is it all positive? Certainly not.
Working remotely, be it from home or otherwise, has its downfalls, the most obvious being, that you miss out on the all-important office colleague relationships, and the daily face to face connection that I still believe to be of vital importance in any organisation. At the end of the day, most businesses are all about its people right? And what good are its people if they aren't regularly seeing and interacting with one another...
So, perhaps the most applicable solution, is to institute strategies that allow for a healthy balance between time spent in the office interacting with colleagues, having meetings etc, and the flexibility to be able to work remotely as and when it may be required. Either way, whether its formally 3-4 days a week, or just informally when people feel like they need the time away from the office, the measurable objectives have to be the same, OUTPUT over TIME.
But, seeing that we're all being confined to working from home, the world over, I thought I'd share some tips on staying productive whilst working from home:
Structure your day
First things first, you should be treating your day's during lockdown, the same way you would a Monday to Friday job. Wake up as you would during the week under 'normal' conditions, and go about your daily routine (minus leaving the house of course) as if you were getting ready to go to the office.
If you woke up at 5:30am, had coffee at 06:00am, breakfast at 06:30am, exercised at 07:00am and were in the office by 08:00am, then continue behaving in that manner.
Make sure you're sitting at your desk (not the couch) by 08:00am, and work the 'normal' office hours.
Get up, get dressed
Now, this may seem rather basic, and indeed it is, but it's also entirely necessary.
Get dressed, and look presentable the same way you would if you were headed into the office.
Be comfortable, sure, but avoid staying in your comfortable PJ's or favourite tracksuit and slippers all day - particularly if you have conference calls lined up for the day.
Get up, shower, follow your daily grooming routine and get into work 'mode'.
Find a workspace
As tempting as it is, to open your laptop in bed, and to slither on down to the couch in front of the tv with your computer open next to you, this undeniably is the beginning of an unproductive day.
Not everyone has a dedicated 'office' room or space in their homes, but find a space, preferably with a comfortable desk and chair, that you call your workspace.
Don't deviate from that space, and return to it consistently, day after day. You wouldn't arrive at the office and work one day in the kitchen, the next in the boardroom, the next at a colleagues desk, and then on the guest couch, so avoid doing it at home.
Find your space, make it feel like work, and associate that station with work only, nothing else.
Similarly to the point above, try and rid your work station, and schedule, of any distractions.
The TV, the fridge, the snack drawer, the swimming pool and the playstation, are all negative distractions. They are all disruptors of your daily work routine.
You wouldn't (necessarily) leave your desk at 10:00am in the office to play your favourite playstation game, so, don't do it at home.
Reward yourself after the day's work, by fulfilling yourself with as much and as many distractions as you'd like, but don't let it pull you away from your work during the day.
Eat well, sleep well, exercise and stay hydrated
Again, this may seem simple, but may often be overlooked.
Spend time preparing healthy meals, and if you can't help but snack (I certainly can't) then make sure you're attacking the healthier options, and not the junk.
Get to bed at a reasonable hour, after a quite evening whisky if you're like me, and make sure you're getting enough quality rest. Rest after all, will determine your ability to stay productive the next day.
Albeit confined to your home, or flat, try and find new and exciting ways to elevate the heart rate, and keep it fun. It's no surprise that exercising releases the 'feel good' hormones which not only improves your mood and general outlook on these otherwise negative times, it also keeps your body and mind fit & healthy.
To conclude, working remotely and staying productive is indeed the future, and businesses who chose to ignore this fact, will simply slip further and further behind their more agile competitors. But, it is also a strategy based on trust. Without it, no remote strategy, no matter how sound, would ever work. Employers must invest time in hiring the 'right people' and then need to trust that their employees have their work interests and associated outputs at heart. Similarly, employees need to earn the level of trust required to operate in a flexible working environment, by demonstrating that deadlines aren't missed, meeting aren't forgotten about, and important projects aren't delivered at half measure. Simply put, employees need to demonstrate that working remotely and staying productive is indeed possible.
The working world as we know it is rapidly evolving, and the speed at which businesses adapt to it, will determine their level of ongoing success.
Business Development Manager