Working from home tips - How to stay productive

Sarah Hiraki

 · March 16, 2020  · 03/16/2020

Recent events surrounding COVID-19 have sparked a lot of discussion about remote working, and at Revolut, we’ve been sharing lots of working from home tips with one another. In some areas, remote working has been mandated by the government, while in others, it’s been offered as an option for employees who are choosing to self isolate. It’s critically important that you follow recommendations from health professionals and reputable organisations such as the World Health Organisation to protect your health and the health of those around you.

At the same time, we know that even in a global pandemic, it’s important for the wellbeing of your employees and clients that you keep your business running as much as is safe to do so. For many, that will mean extended periods of remote working.

At Revolut Business, we know that flexible working is an important part of helping our team maintain a healthy balance of work and life. Here is some evergreen advice that we’ve found helpful along the way that we wanted to share with you and your team:

Working from home tips:

Maintain your normal schedule

Stick to your typical workday routine as closely as possible; wake up at the same time, shower, get dressed, make coffee, and walk the dog just as you would on a regular day. Sure, feel free to hit the snooze if WFH means you’re dodging a long commute, but maintaining a regular sleep and work schedule is good for your health, and for your productivity. This also applies to winding down properly at the end of the day – logging off when the work day is done will help you to separate the increasingly blurry lines between work and life.

As for attire, for some, working from home is synonymous with “working in your pajamas,” but we advise against this. Not only to avoid any potential embarrassment on video calls, but to help you feel more like you’re at work.

Set up your battle station

Try to recreate the office environment at home (minus that one guy on the desk pod that insists on tapping his foot to his music...). If you don’t have a home office already set up (full-time freelancers, we salute you!), set up your kitchen table with your computer, notepad, charger and anything else you use daily. If you’re in charge of the tools your team needs, consider allowing them to expense things like a second monitor, or laptop stand if they work from home over an extended period. If you’re a Revolut Business customer, our perks can lend a hand in getting your team the tools they need – from Apple and Amazon Business, for example. Having all of the necessities at your fingertips will limit distractions and help your team to get things done without the need for workarounds.

It goes without saying, but working from bed or from the sofa can often hinder your focus (and be bad for your back!) If you have no other option, make sure you’re sitting up straight, and taking regular breaks to stretch if your working posture is not ideal.

Practise good communication hygiene

Good “hygiene” on emails, Slack and in calendar events will be critical in ensuring everyone stays on the same page, even when they can’t be in the same room. Take extra care when setting up calendar events, shared documents, and email threads. It may feel like overkill, but including the who, what, when, where, and why of a meeting up-front can prevent future questions and confusion. Be sure to start calls with introductions and end by delegating clear "next steps"

This is also a great time to work on your written communication skills, which, in the age of open plan working, may be a bit rusty. When asked a question in an email, provide a clear answer in writing – yes, no, or I don’t know. When you need answers, instead of sending a message that says, “Does anyone know X?” or “If you know of X, please let me know” – ask for confirmation of information as directly as possible: “Tom N., please reply to this email to confirm that X is going ahead as planned.” or “Isabelle, I would like you to lead this project, please send out the meeting invite to K.K. and the rest of the B2B team.”

Use your tools and get creative

Remote working can be a challenge of leadership, communication and productivity – but it’s also an incredible opportunity to empower your team to get creative about how they handle tasks. Seize the opportunity to use technology to its fullest potential and to maximise your time with your team:

  • Instead of gathering around a whiteboard, consider brainstorming in a Google doc
  • If you typically have one-on-one meetings in a coffee shop, share a virtual cup of coffee with a teammate on a video call.
  • You may need to provide more detailed written briefs to designers and engineers instead of gathering around a monitor for a Q&A – tools like Pinterest or Google Slides might be helpful for mood-boarding.
  • Consider trying Figma instead of Sketch as a cloud-based design solution.
  • Use screenshots or screen recordings to help with troubleshooting issues or explaining processes.
  • Record meetings and training sessions if members can’t attend live, or may need to reference the conversation in the future.

Observe and record your team’s issues, think of some possible solutions, test them out, and see what sticks. By applying a bit of Design Thinking, you’ll be able to diagnose points of friction in your team’s workflow and help everyone to work a bit smarter when working remotely.

Take it in stride

You can prevent most issues with clear communication and regular check-ins with your team and customer base. Help each member of your team prioritise their critical tasks and set deadlines for delivery. Be sure to keep customers and clients updated about any delays or changes to their regular service via your website, email and social channels.

When life (or, you know, a global pandemic) get in the way of your business’ day-to-day, be sure to put people first. By showing compassion, flexibility and communicating clearly with your team, you’re empowering them to make the right decisions for themselves and for your organisation.

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We hope you found these tips helpful. From all of us at Revolut Business, we wish your team health, happiness, productivity – and good handwashing practices.