How to work remote
Find focus, and get stuff done while working from home
Lately many people all around the world have been facing the challenges of keeping up great work, while staying at home. At Hyperlab many of us have been working remotely for years. Being able to work on the same terms as anyone else, no matter where you are is part of our core values. Sure, it comes with some challenges, but it also has a lot of benefits. To help us all find our way around this new era, we have asked some of our colleagues to share their best hacks to find focus and get stuff done.
1. Learn to compartmentalise
It can be really hard to separate work and life when you're working from home, but little things can help. For example, one of our colleagues finds that headphones help him a lot. It might seem silly to sit at your computer wearing headphones, especially if you live alone, but to him headphones signal to others and himself that it's work time. If you are lucky enough to have the space, create a little 'work zone' that you use only for working. This helps focus, and also helps you switch off when the day is done.
2. Find your focus
It’s good to have a routine. You might want to try to start every day with arranging your work desk a little. It could make you feel like you're ready to get things done! You could also use a music playlist to boost your productivity. One of our colleagues says there’s nothing like rock n’ roll to make her think and type fast! Find your way to get in your best work mode.
3. Try the pomodoro technique
If you are struggling with staying focused for long, this technique could help. The idea is to simply break your work day into manageable intervals of focus (usually 25 minutes), between which you take a 5-minute break. After 4 pomodoros, you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes. This can help you segment your day into bursts of focus. It's also healthy to take regular breaks to rest your eyes, body, and mind.
Notifications will instantly steal your focus away from whatever you are working on, so be careful. Spend a day really taking stock of what notifications you are getting on your phone and on your computer, and consider which ones are important. Turn off all the ones that aren't.
5. Work asynchronously
If a colleague contacts you, in most cases it's okay to get back to them when you have time. Don't break focus to immediately respond to enquiries unless they're urgent. This point is a little harder to achieve, and needs to become part of the culture of any workplace that wants to succeed while working remotely. Talk to your team about this and come to an agreement. Standups are a good way for a team to raise any issues that are potentially blocking or that need feedback from others. Use that time wisely.
6. The classic to-do list
Another thing that could help you find your focus is to write a quick to-do list for the day, using old-fashioned pen and paper, and then work on one thing at a time. Our rock’n’roll-loving colleague states that she doesn't believe in multitasking (and others agree). When you try to do too many things at once, you might feel busy, but you're not focusing on anything. It's easy to get overwhelmed. So one thing at a time, one task at a time. In a while you’ll realize you've done a ton of things, and you did them with full focus!
If you get stuck with a problem at work, try talking to yourself out loud about it. If you work from an office, you could never do that. Imagine how that would disturb the others?! If you’re still stuck, you could do something you enjoy, like start drawing, go look at your plants or play with your dog for a few minutes. Often times when you're away from the computer and take your mind off of the problem, that’s when you'll get an insight on how to solve it. And if you don't find a solution to the problem on your own, your colleagues are just a video call away.
Skrivet av Elin Sundberg, Maíra Martins, Jayphen Simpson