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Working from home: top tips & tools checklist

Published on Wednesday, 25th March 2020, contributed by Gravitywell

Ever since COVID-19 reared its extremely ugly head, swathes of businesses across the UK — and worldwide — have taken the wise move of having their employees work from home (or #WFH for those who speak insta-lingo). But unless you’re an ergonomic keyboard-clutching Mark Corrigan, turning your cosy home into a functioning office can be tricky. Everyone has their own techniques for making the remote workplace work for them, but if you’re struggling for productivity then here are some top tips from the Gravitywell team, as well as a remote working tools checklist. Pull up a sofa.

Laura, Studio Manager

I need to get outside before I start work — whether that’s in the garden to throw a ball around for Mishka (Laura’s cute shiba inu), or going for a walk. In the current state of affairs, that may get more difficult, but we’re lucky to have a number of parks and large green spaces where you can get outside without compromising on social distancing. I try to do this both in the morning and at lunchtime if I can.

Matt, Lead Designer

Stick to your usual morning routine and start the day by taking a shower and getting dressed. Don't spend all day in your favourite joggers, no matter how comfortable they are. It’s also important to check in with your colleagues. Make these communications as rich as possible — ideally video, if not then audio, and if all else fails, then text.

Julian, Full Stack Developer

Keeping motivated and productive is key to working from home. Given the current situation, going to public spaces such as cafes and libraries isn’t really an option, so you’ve got to get a bit more inventive. Getting some plants is a great place to start — not only do they make your workstation a nicer place to be but they also have proven benefits for your mental health. Also, getting regular exercise improves your mood helps you concentrate for longer — if you can’t get out for a walk, try following along with a yoga / workout video!

Remote working tools checklist

Slack - The likelihood is you use it already, but Slack is the ultimate instant messaging platform for teams. You can set up public and private channels for group discussions, direct message your colleagues, and the quality of files you share aren’t compromised. Get me that JPEG, ASAP!

Discord - Arguably the best of the bunch. Discord is usually associated with gamers, but its video, voice and text chat capabilities make it the perfect tool for recreating an open-plan office environment. Oh, and it’s free. We added Discord to our arsenal on day 1 of remote working and it’s been a revelation. 

G Suite - Not using G Suite? You really should be. Google’s business package includes Gmail, Docs, Drive and Calendar, and is a must-have for company collaboration. The ability to share and edit documents directly in your browser in real time, makes you contemplate life before the ‘Suite.