For some people, working remotely is their MO. For others used to working in offices, recent government guidance in response to the spread of COVID-19 will be more challenging to adjust to.
At Nomensa, we've always championed collaboration in any form, whether we're working remotely or not. But we understand these are unprecedented times we're living in. We all need to find new ways to connect with our teams, our commercial partners and our clients.
Now, more than ever, it's important to reach out, work together and be human. That's why we've collated some of Team Nomensa's best tips for maintaining effective collaboration while working remotely.
Take a read and let us know yours on Twitter.
It can be difficult to feel connected to your team during video calls and virtual meetings, and not just of the Wi-Fi is lagging. Working remotely can mean we lose out on some of those lovely, but inconsequential conversations – in the kitchen making coffee, or leaning over to your desk-mate to tell a bad dad joke – that give brightness to our days.
This is why it's so important to keep checking in with the wider team. Aside from project specific meetings, something we have found really useful is organising general Teams video calls that anyone in the business can join.
We have one in the morning (artfully named 'the Breakfast Club') and one in the afternoon (dubbed the 'Water cooler'). They're a great opportunity to informally catch up and touch base on what we've all been working on.
But detach when you need to
It's vital you remember to take regular breaks and get up and stretch, even if you can't go outside. Just be sure you update your email/messaging status so people know when you're available and when you're not. You could also try using ‘do not disturb’ and status messages to show when out of the ‘office’ i.e. taking the dog for a walk, having lunch or finished for the day.
Cordoning off these out-of-work hours means you're more visible to your workmates and better able to distinguish between your job and free time. We'd also recommend switching off non-essential notifications for email, instant messages etc. as these can be distracting.
Keep your routine
It may sound trivial, but maintaining a routine that's as close to your 'regular' work one as possible can really help keep the mind focused. Some of our team use their exercise time in the morning to 'commute' with a walk around the block or local green space (respecting social distancing of course).
Getting dressed in what you'd usually wear for work also helps some people get in the right headspace. Our Head of Government Services is an advocate of this approach, especially donning statement earrings!
Give extra thought to virtual meetings
It can be hard to foster camaraderie with teams spread across the country. So, try to leave a little time either side of the 'official' meeting for small talk. This is really important and beneficial in developing an effective team dynamic, and ensuring that everyone feels supported and heard.
Be sure to plan effectively, too. Leave a little room for technical woes and, if you're running a meeting, don't ask “Who’s here?" You can see who's in attendance, so take the time to introduce everyone. If you’d like people to do personal intros, guide them through an agenda and let them know when to speak.
Some people may find it hard to adopt this new way of working. It could take them a while to adjust to being on their own rather than in a vibrant office. They could be a parent trying to find a new work/life balance now the kids are home, or maybe they're simply someone who prefers face-to-face interaction over screens.
But truthfully, most of us will struggle at various points over the next couple months. So, be considerate. We're all in this together. One of Nomensa's core values is 'Be human', which could be as small an action as taking the time to reach out to someone you would usually catch up with over coffee or lunch, or helping out in the community around you.
It will take time for us to find a new normal, but we will all learn the rhythms of these ways of working and how our habits fit into them. Troubling times are ample ground for innovation. So, we intend to use these challenges as a chance to reassess our internal methods and processes, and hopefully come out of this crisis working smarter and collaborating more closely than ever before.
We're already applying these principles to continue working effectively with our clients.
If you'd like to talk to us about an upcoming UX project, drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 117 929 7333.
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