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20 tricks we’ve learnt to help you remote work better

Here at Innofactor, we’ve been remote working since the middle of March. Needless to say, as a company dedicated to the digitalization of society, we’ve managed to make the transition relatively smoothly. Nonetheless, this is a new world for everyone, and in the last months we’ve all been learning. With this in mind, we surveyed our employees in Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway to find out how they’d been coping with working from home.  We had 377 responses, from which we've picked 20 insights. We hope they’ll help make your remote working both easier and more productive.

On workspace 

  1. If possible, invest in a good chair and desk. Ergonomics is key to keeping yourself productive and healthy.
  2. If you can create your own space and equip it with things like an electric desk, blinds, and a good-sized monitor, life will be a lot easier.
  3. Adding a separate mouse or keyboard or additional screens can also help you work better. Noise cancelling headphones are useful for staying focused and taking calls.
  4. Make sure you have a good enough internet connection for video calls.

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On meetings

  1. Spend a couple of hours training everyone on the ins and outs of how to use Microsoft Teams. You’ll save a ton of time and even a few embarrassing moments.
  2. When having a Teams meeting with more than 4 people, consider appointing a moderator to oversee the agenda and organize contributions. It makes things run a lot more smoothly.
  3. For effective Teams meetings, having an agenda and clear goals is more important than ever. This is helped by allocating each person time to make their point.
  4. If you have a dog, why not try combining a walk with your four-legged friend with a meeting by wearing mobile headphones. Fresh air and nature can help you think differently.
  5. To try and make up for the lost social element of work, have a daily Teams coffee break meeting colleagues.
  6. Alternatively, try having a virtual lunch meeting with colleagues to chat about work in a more social setting.

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On scheduling

  1. Be sure to keep your calendar up to date and make sure people know when you’re available. In these unusual times, people often have irregular work patterns.
  2. Try working in sprints. Focusing can be harder when remote working because of all the distractions. If you work in sprints of an hour and then take a break for a few minutes, you can fully focus on the task at hand.
  3. Have a shutdown ritual. When you check out in the evening, having a specific ritual can help you decompress and make that transition into the evening. This could be anything from writing up what you did during the day, planning (using pen and paper) what you want to achieve tomorrow, or simply shutting your laptop and tidying your desk.
  4. Create and share lists of the most useful apps, talks and webinars on remote working with colleagues. This pooling of knowledge can make a big difference to collective success.

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On work/life balance

  1. Take lots of breaks and lots of walks around the house. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re in your own house.
  2. Make certain you still take a proper lunch break, rather than snacking throughout the day. You don’t want to have to put a lock on the fridge!
  3. Ensure you maintain clear boundaries between work and leisure time. It’s easy to mix them up when remote working.
  4. Change the scenery, whether that means moving from room to room or sitting in a park. One of the major benefits of remote working is the freedom it gives you to move your “desk.”
  5. If you have children in the house, it’s a good idea to create a clear set of family rules, including the division of supervisory responsibilities.
  6. Remember that colleagues with children will face more disruptions and interruptions. In short, be forgiving and understanding if Teams meetings suddenly feature unexpected guests.

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Needless to say, in these unprecedented times, experimenting with new ways of working is a necessity.  So, we hope these insights help you adapt to our new reality. Good luck!