Amid the coronavirus pandemic, what was once a luxury to the modern marketing professional is now the new norm. Like many businesses in the digital economy, Saltwater has been fully remote since mid-March. While working remotely has long been a part of life at Saltwater, going 100% remote was new for us. And while it can be a treat, working from home can take a toll on your productivity, and this is especially true in an industry that thrives off collaboration and face-to-face communication. With the help of some of our Salties, we gathered a list of our 8 Essential Working from Home Tips to increase the productivity of your team.
Designate a workspace.
In the office, it’s easy to get into the work mindset when you sit at the same desk every day to get your tasks done. At home, it’s important to create a designated space where you work each day, whether that be the kitchen counter, dining room table, or desk in your bedroom. Similarly to your desk at the office, this will tell your brain that when you’re in your designated space, you’re ready to buckle down and get working.
“I have found what keeps me really centered and productive is keeping my workspace separate from the rest of my living space. This allows me to keep my mind focused on business ‘as usual’ during working hours, and equally important, at the end of the day I can mentally and physically step away.”Diane LaPorte, Creative Director
Adapt your tools.
When we were working in the office, plenty of tools and software weren’t necessary because face-to-face communication ruled the kingdom. Now, we utilize certain tools daily to facilitate communication both internally and with clients. It is important to analyze areas where your team may be lacking communication or efficiency while working from home and research tools that may be able to help your employees in these areas. For example, Slack allows us to communicate with team members more quickly than email and organize our conversations within channels based on department, client, or campaign. Zoom allows us to get as close as we can to face-to-face communication in the era of social distancing and take advantage of the screen-share feature to effectively share ideas and collaborate on projects.
“Slack has been my main platform for internal communication and Zoom has been primarily for client calls. I would like to start using the Share features in our Adobe Creative programs more, which allows you to share your artwork with other team members for review/feedback.”Kristin Burke, Designer
Dress the part.
Your attire when working from home can really affect your productivity levels. It’s tempting to wear your pajamas all day, and I’m sure we’ve all been there, but dressing up like you would if you were going to the office has a positive effect on your confidence and motivation. “Dress for success”, though cliché, rings true in today’s work from home culture.
“Make sure “going to work” is treated the same whether you’re going to the office or staying home: wake up early, eat breakfast, shower, and get dressed … as if you were headed out the door. (And yes, that means real pants.)”Jack Callahan, Marketing Manager
Communicate at home.
If you are working in a noisy, busy household, communicating effectively with your family or your roommates is essential in ensuring you have an environment where you can be productive. Be transparent about your workload and plan ahead of time where you will take calls and work on time intensive tasks to ensure you have peace, quiet and privacy for your important meetings and projects.
“With lots of noise at our house throughout the week, I’ve worked to over-communicate to my family when I have meetings throughout the week so we can try to find a quiet place for calls.”David Roy, Digital Marketing Specialist
When you’re working in the same place you relax and rewind, it can be challenging to separate your life from your work. We’ve found that taking breaks is essential to our team’s wellbeing, which in turn, affects productivity. Scheduling breaks into your day can help you manage your time around those breaks and ensure you get tasks done before you reward yourself with some ‘me time’. Whether that be going for a walk, doing laundry, writing in a journal, or cooking a new lunch recipe, scheduling time for yourself will help you produce more meaningful work.
“[It is] important to remember that we are “working from home” and not “living at work.” I find scheduling a daily 30-minute walk keeps me productive the whole day.”Kristen Walters, Director of Production
Understand when you are most productive.
Some of us are more productive early in the morning, while some of us peak late at night. Understanding at which point of the day you can perform better will help you manage your time and better organize and prioritize your tasks throughout the day. If you are more creative in the morning, schedule time in the morning for your more creative tasks, like writing or developing campaign concepts. If you’re not a morning person, schedule your important meetings in the afternoon to give yourself more time to better present yourself. While working from home, it is important to be aware of your time and structure your schedule, so you stay on track throughout the day.
“For me, being creative has to be separate from being administrative. There needs to be a clear divide in order to find creative inspiration.”Adam Flaherty, Executive Producer
Schedule weekly meetings and catch-up frequently.
It is important to schedule weekly status meetings with your team to catch up on each other’s workload, client updates, company updates and any personal news. This allows for that face-to-face communication that we are lacking in our everyday work lives. These interactions are so important in keeping open communication with your team and staying up to date in each other’s lives both inside and outside of work. For example, our Digital Experience team here at Saltwater has scheduled our weekly status meetings for every Monday morning. We have found that this sets the tone for the rest of our week and gets us into a productive mode to start the week.
Be transparent about your time and availability.
Over communication to your team about your workload, when you are taking breaks, and your availability. For me, I like to fill out my Google Calendar as much as possible so that my team is aware of how I am structuring my day and can get a feel for my workload. This helps to communicate if a need more on my plate, if I’m stepping away for a bit, or if I’m super busy and need to focus on higher-priority tasks before jumping into something new.
Working from home can be a challenge, but it’s important to adapt in today’s ever-changing work culture. We hope that these 8 working from home tips will help your marketing agency remain productive in these unprecedented times.