It’s been more than six months since the NgageContent team went fully remote to keep our team and clients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, the transition in March was pretty seamless for us, as we’ve operated at 60% remote for years and had already developed some great work from home best practices among our team.
But with how long the pandemic has lasted, our team members have found themselves in a variety of relatable WFH (work from home) situations, including becoming part-time homeschool teachers; sharing office spaces with family members and partners; and I was even hired, onboarded, and trained remotely!
Now that we’re fully settled in our home work spaces and routines, we want to share our team members’ favorite work from home best practices. Read on for our WFH tips on everything from effective communication and collaboration, to productivity and staying motivated, to keeping the company culture alive from afar (and if you want even more WFH tips from our CEO and co-founder, check out this thread).
Brittany Bradford — Account Manager
1. Use video in your 1:1 emails
WFH presents new and unique challenges to everyone, and if you’re in a business development role, I’ve found that including a quick personal video in my email is helpful when you’re missing that in-person interaction. While there are many tools available to accomplish this, I personally use a tool called Loom.
2. Communicate extra at home
As JD later mentions, it is so important to over communicate with your remote work team, and I’ve found it’s equally important to communicate clearly with my work from home team. My partner and I have learned to communicate our work schedule and block off “do not disturb” times at home. We’ve tried to include our dog in these efforts, however, we understand the mailman’s presence can be very distracting when he’s trying to be quiet during our Zoom calls.
3. Get out of the house
While social interactions need to be limited, I find it very helpful to my work/life balance to find other opportunities that get me outside during the work day. Take a bike ride, go for a run, or walk the dog when you have a break.
Mike Cottrill — Partner/Strategist
4. Know when you work best
Being fully remote lets you better batch your schedule around when you work best. For example, I do my best thinking early in the morning. Without a commute, I build my day around having mornings as free as possible to knock out big strategy projects.
5. Save money and eat leftovers
Leftovers FTW! I’m all for dining local, but nothing beats microwaving last night’s dinner for lunch. Whether you make dinner or order it, being at home means full access to your kitchen at lunch to spruce up leftovers. That saves time, money, and energy in the long run.
6. Put work down at the end of the day
Loren later mentions having a dedicated space for work. That’s important, and it’s also important to leave that space at the end of the day. Turn off the light, flip down the laptop, and “go home.” It’s so easy when you’re working remote to let 5 turn into 6, turn into 7… you have to make an effort to break off from work and live your life.
JD Eaton — Partner/Creative
7. Over communicate
Make sure everyone is crystal clear on what is in the docket and what their responsibilities are. This will mitigate costly mistakes and frustration down the line.
8. Nurture morale
Being stuck in your home for weeks or months on end can be soul crushing. Let everyone know that the work they are doing is good, appreciated and important.
Scott Finkelstein — Director of Content
9. Take more time and care with new hire training
If you’re hiring during this unique time, it’s critical that you spend more time with your new team members to ensure they understand what they need to be doing, how your processes work, what tools are available, etc. Have calls with them to review the work they’re completing because you can’t meet in person. It takes more time, but it’s worth it.
10. Wake up at a regular time
It can be easy to let yourself sleep in till 10 minutes before you’re supposed to start working, but that just slows you down. Whether you still get up at the same time as you used to, or you just carve out an hour before starting work to exercise or read, having a morning to yourself will help you start the work day refreshed.
Hayley Glessner — Junior Copywriter
11. Ask more questions
I just joined NgageContent remotely, and it’s been helpful for me to frequently get clarification on what’s being asked of me and check in regularly with coworkers and supervisors to make sure I’m following company best practices. It takes way less time to communicate more on the front end of a project than it would to go back and correct it at the end if I’m not on the right track.
12. Remind coworkers you’re there to support them
As one of the first items on my day one onboarding schedule, I had one-on-one video chats with everyone here. Every team member ended their meeting with me by saying that I should come to them with any questions, and they’ve also reminded me of that frequently when I’m starting on new projects. Those repeated and direct assertions removed hesitation in moments when I felt like I could use someone’s help or advice, which has been especially important in a fully remote situation where I’m not receiving in-office support.
13. Take a coffee break
This was mentioned in Mike’s Twitter thread, but you definitely have a cup of coffee on the counter right now, it’s definitely been sitting there all day, and it’s definitely cold by now. Take the minute-long break you need to microwave it and bring it back to your work space. Unfortunately for me, I’ve found this more often true than not.
Marko Janjetovic — Marketing Coordinator
14. Still get dressed every day
As a part of your WFH morning routine, change out of your pajamas or whatever clothes you sleep in when you begin work for the day. It’s really easy to be lazy and keep them on, but even just putting on a fresh t-shirt and shorts/pants helps your brain shift into work mode.
15. Stretch your legs
Be sure to get up from your work station every so often and take a walk to stretch your legs. Whether it’s to the kitchen or a different part of the house, it’s important to give your brain a quick “refresh.” We normally do this in an office setting by walking up to go get some water or going to the bathroom, but it can easily be forgotten when you’re working from home. Short breaks throughout the day can help you stay fresh and keep you focused on the task at hand.
Jacob Olle — Senior Inbound Strategist
16. Keep up your hygiene
You may not be on video every day, but keep up that shower schedule. It’s a surefire way to have a few relaxing minutes and get away from tech for at least a little bit (unless you’re rocking that waterproof iPad case).
17. Be grateful for the extra time
Be mindful of the time won back from the lack of a commute. Time previously spent stuck in the car can go a long way! Just knowing you have an extra 45 minutes a day to sleep in or feed your kid Spaghettios (or whatever parents do) is a real silver lining in this mess.
Loren Shumaker — Graphic Designer
18. Designate a workspace
If you are able to designate a space in your home as the office, make sure to only spend time there working. When you take a break or eat lunch, try to do it in another part of the home or take a walk outside.
19. Keep up a morning routine
Getting up, making breakfast and coffee, or spending time waking up away from work will make the rest of the day much easier to get through.
20. Practice stronger task management
Make sure you know what it is that you should be working on and what needs to happen with it once it’s complete. This can be done throughout a team with project management software like Basecamp or by making a personal checklist every day.
We hope that by sharing our team’s work from home best practices, we can help your business as you continue to adapt to the new normal. If you’re looking for online marketing solutions in today’s remote environment, contact us! Our experienced team is here to help your business thrive.