Keeping Calm and Productive: Our Best Tips for Working Remotely

The world is facing an unprecedented threat at the moment. People are trying to keep healthy, sane, and their heads above the tumultuous waters in nearly every other way. While the short-term effects of this virus on our economies, lives, and social structures are apparent nearly every minute of the day, the long-term effects remain to be seen. Jobs that have even the most minimal ability to be done remotely are, thankfully, being done that way. For those who are new to working remotely, the shift from office life to working from home can be a bit of an adjustment.

Here at The Bannermen, we’ve always had the set up to allow our team to easily toggle between working remotely and from the office to accommodate our team’s personal lives, weather considerations, or unforeseen circumstances, such as the one the world is dealing with now (though this specific one definitely never crossed our minds).

Regardless of where your team is in the world, we’re all lucky enough to have access to some pretty incredible technology that we can harness to keep our team connected and in good spirits until we can all meet again.

Keeping spirits up, efficiency high, and communication lines open is paramount to personal sanity and professional success in times like these, and we’ve got a few tips to help make this happen!

  • Utilize all the platforms and apps you possibly can

There’s a pretty solid stack of great apps and platforms that exist to support business of all kinds. Whether it’s a project management platform—we love Slack—or a new way to do your conference calls—like Zoom, there’s no shortage of ways to manage and communicate with your clients and team members. Collaborate with your team members on important projects and pitches using Google Drive. You can even take full control and responsibility of your productivity using apps like Serene. Regardless of the demands and needs of your daily work routine, there’s almost definitely an app to help you get it done!

  • Prioritize team bonding

We know we’re all here to work and get our jobs done but setting aside a bit of time every week or every second week, to keep your team sane, focused, and feeling connected will go miles in upping morale and keeping their minds on the task at hand.

How TBM does it: our team briefs over a Slack call each morning so we’ve got a bit of chit chat back and forth each day. What we’ve started doing in light of this pandemic and to keep close bonds in the future is “TBM Bonding Week.” We started this around the time Canada’s Daylight Savings ended, coincidentally right before COVID-19 started to make big waves in North America. Each team member had to do a 10-minute presentation on something they were doing work-related and a Pecha Kucha-style presentation about something personal. The result was a team that not only understood each other’s job better but also a glimpse at the inner personalities of each of our team members.

  • Have a schedule

As much as possible when you’re commandeering your time at home, set a schedule for yourself. It’s easy to get swept up in household chores, snacks, pets, phone calls, or any other distractions that can eat up your time when you’re working remotely. If you set a schedule and timeline for yourself for each workday that is similar to your workday when you’re in the office, you’ll find yourself being far more productive.

  • Plan your day

As much as working from home is a blessing, it can be a bit daunting to keep on with your normal tasks without your coworkers there to bounce ideas off of or your regular support system to keep you in check. Start the day with a rundown of where you left off yesterday, check in with your colleagues over email or Slack, and start from there. Usually, this is enough of a push to get your mind back into the game and you’ll start remembering emails you need to send, clients that need to be checked in with, and projects that need to be up kept.

How TBM does it: In addition to client work we’ve got, we’ve always got a backlog of internal projects we rotate and tackle. Making sure your team has side projects that are engaging that add value to the company in addition to their core role is beneficial for everyone.

  • Make a comfortable workspace

If you’re a veteran of working remotely, you’ll know what wonders a dedicated workspace does for your mentality and productivity. If you’re just starting to work from home, you might be amped to be working from your bed in your PJs—and that’s OK! But eventually, you’ll want to create a space in your home where you can sit comfortably for a few hours and be productive without too many distractions. Even if you’ve got a small space, a turn of your coffee table and TV can transform your living room into a productive workspace.

With COVID-19, we’re all facing something unlike anything our generation has faced before. Working remotely for those who are just starting, and even for those who always have, can be isolating, lonely, and frustrating with the outside world in the turmoil it is. So above all else, remember to be gentle with yourself and your team. We’re all trying to make it through this together. And you can get some other helpful tips on working remotely here!

And remember to express your infinite and unending gratitude (from at least 6 feet away!) to hospital workers, pharmacists, postal workers, grocery clerks, cleaners, and all other people continuing their very crucial public work for the rest of us that can’t be done from home.