The Nativo team has been working remotely since mid-March. We are a company dedicated to creating connection across the internet and our new remote policy poses new and familiar challenges - and opportunities - for our team.
With both New York and California officially keeping us home until May 15, we asked our employees what they’re doing to make the most of remote work in this unprecedented environment.
You’ve read it a million times, but it’s true: setting yourself up for working from home (WFH) success starts with, well, your actual setup.
“For me, having a desk setup that mirrors my office setup has made all the difference. I have both my monitors on a small folding table with my laptop like I do in the office,” says Dan Yates, senior publisher account manager.
“It might sound odd, but I scouted my apartment for the strongest wifi signal before setting up my space. Once I figured it out (turns out it’s actually in my kitchen) I organized my space to match my office setup as closely as I could - complete with photos of friends and family,” says Erin Hock, content marketing manager.
Tip: Find a spot to set up a workstation that suits your business needs. Try to mimic your office space as much as possible. Providing your brain with a shot of familiarity in an unfamiliar situation can warm you to your WFH setup.
A million new distractions exist that didn’t before - the laundry beckons, your kitchen whispers “snack break,” the couch calls your name - and if you’re self-isolating with youngsters, their schedule essentially overtakes your own. No one is immune.
What’s helping Allen Tran, solutions & activations engineering lead, is making a plan - and sticking with it. “What helps me stay productive and focused is having a game plan going into each day. Set goals bring structure and a sense of accomplishment to the day while remaining flexible enough for meetings and ad hoc requests to fill in the gaps along the way,” he says.
Tip: Jot down a list of what you want to get done. Not only will a list keep your workday structured, you’ll also get a dopamine boost from crossing an item off at the end of the day.
We all know that over communication is essential to remote work success. In the current environment, this advice extends beyond video conferencing your colleagues.
“One thing that works well for me, with a full family at home, is communicating within my house. I have a four-year-old, and she sees me at home and thinks, ‘hey, it’s time to hang out with dad.’ So the first thing I did was set up an area and communicated to my family that if I’m at my desk, I’m most likely working. The second thing was communicating meeting schedules - ensuring quiet time. Lastly, I usually don’t set up any meetings after 4 p.m.; this allows me ample time to wrap up the day by 5-6,” says Danish Ahmed, senior product manager.
Dan echoes Danish’s sentiments: “Since both myself and my wife are home working and caring for our son, we’re giving each other Outlook invites so we know when our meetings happen.”
Tip: Keep your avenues of communication open - both for colleagues and family members/roommates. Set clear expectations for what working from home will look like for you and communicate frequently within your living space for longer term WFH success.
At the office almost everyone has a routine. At home, things are inherently less structured, making it difficult to divide work and personal time.
Joon Lee, vice president of strategic accounts, tackles this problem with a specific WFH routine: “Creating consistency when working from home has been critical for productivity. Designating a specific location in my home as my ‘office’ has made all the difference. When I'm in my office, it's all business. If I'm not in my office, I don't work.”
Tip: Humans crave routine. Find one that works for you and that creates a clear separation between work and home life. Not only will this help you stay more focused during the day, it’ll allow time to take care of your mental health.
Working from home indicates, rather directly, that you’ll be merging your professional and personal life. With that merger comes the risk for burn-out - something that media and advertising professionals are already predisposed to. For that reason Danish, Hayley Frankel, human resources coordinator, and Sheridan McCafferty, director of marketing, are paying special attention to their mental and physical health.
“I needed a hobby that would allow me to take my mind off of all the chaos, spend time with my family and yield something positive. So, my four-year-old daughter and I started a vegetable garden. It’s been very therapeutic to see something go from seed to plant to our plate (only chives and cilantro currently). Every day we go out to the garden, see how the plants are doing, water them and look for what has changed. What I enjoy the most is that it takes me outside versus being in front of a screen. There is also a sense of fulfillment in knowing exactly what went into growing my fruits and vegetables,” says Danish.
Hayley has also been focusing on spending some social distancing appropriate time outside. “For me daily walks in my neighborhood have been super helpful. I still see kids out riding their bikes or people walking their dogs. It’s a really good reminder that life is resilient and continues on,” she says.
Sheridan lights candles in her workspace to help keep her cool, calm and collected during marathon meeting sessions: “Something I’ve been really enjoying is lighting candles in my workspace. Especially right now, it feels like a nice luxury.”
Tip: Find a daily activity that is good for your body and soul. Whether it’s connecting with nature, reading a book, taking an online exercise class - or something completely different - fold in an activity that brings you joy.
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