Jenny Cross of Cross Productions shares her top tips for helping your business to stay connected and happy during the lockdown.
Working remotely is not a totally new concept. Many businesses had begun to incorporate a flexible working environment some time ago with the option to hot desk or even WFH (work from home).
With schools and businesses having to implement WFH structure at speed with very little warning or preparation along with the added pressure of a quarantined situation, the reality of “getting the job done” has intensified somewhat.
For Cross Productions we have always been open to a flexible working environment as we firmly believe in a happy work life balance however this is the first time the whole company have worked from home in unison.
Our team are particularly productive and with 60% of us managing to juggle home schooling too we thought we would share a few of our tips with you.
1. Dress for the office.
It’s easy to roll out of bed in a morning, make a coffee and sit at the computer in your pyjamas all day. This is an absolute no. The secret is mindset. Yes you might get a little longer in bed each morning but routine is important. Get up, get washed, get dressed, get organised and get your head into work mode. Set up a home working space where you can focus away from the everyday distractions of home life. Working from your bed or your sofa is a no good. You really need to set up at a table where you can sit comfortably and have a good posture. Dressing well will not only increase your self-confidence but it will also impresses and attract other people. Proper grooming and a professional appearance are important to gain respect in the workplace.
We firmly believe in working from a default diary. A “Default Diary” is a plan of specific times in your week that are dedicated to important activities. It's a plan of what you will do by default. You can look upon it as a plan for what you would ideally do when your week goes according to plan. We tend to use Google Calender which you can download for free from the app store.
Structure your day. You are responsible for managing yourself. We suggest you write a “To do” list. If it’s not written down then it doesn’t get done. Writing a list will save you time and ensure you have clarity around where you need to focus.
Communication is key at the best of times but with a whole team working independently from home it really is crucial you stay in touch, stay connected and remain to act and think like a team. At Cross Productions we have a WhatsApp group. At 9am each morning each member of the team messages outlining their focus is for the day. At lunchtime we each give a brief update and again at the end of each day everyone messages in with their “win of the day”. Small wins are just as important as big wins.
Our weekly departmental meetings are now hosted via Zoom as are the majority of our client meetings. Again dressing smart is important here as you are still representing a company. You need to demonstrate professionalism at all times as well as show you are flexible and of course capable of achieving the end results no matter what life throws are you. If you didn’t have a regular team meeting before now is a great time to start. Work to an agenda to ensure you’re not distracted and the time is used wisely.
4. Accept there will be some distractions.
In the office or working from home there are always distractions. The ones in the office tend to go unnoticed as they have become normal. If WFH is new to you it’s likely you will notice little things like the doorbell, the kids, the washing machine, the news flashing up on your phone. Many of these distractions can’t be prevented. Accept that it’s a new way of working and remain focused. Working to a default diary with a regular “check in” with your colleagues and a clear “to do” list will mean you get the job done.
As I write these tips I have an over tired 9 year old screaming about how unfair her life is! Don’t we know it! Life is changing, the way we do business is changing and we need to change or we will be left behind.
Posted on Tuesday 12th May 2020