Digital Detox's style ten top tips for remote working

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Digital Detox's style ten top tips for remote working

It’s been two weeks since we’ve moved to a full working from home model for the whole team. Here’s what we have been up to.

We started advising our team to work remotely on Friday, March 13th as our primary focus was to reduce the risk of becoming ill and the possibility of passing the virus onto any of our family and friends who may be more vulnerable. We wanted to be a bit more proactive and asked everyone to work from home slightly ahead of the curve, in our bid to help flatten it and to make sure we protect our team as well as the businesses we work with.

Although we’ve been on the flexible and remote working journey for a while, this was an unprecedented situation. The first steps we took were towards a smooth transition to working from home with minimal changes to our operating model, using existing tools and processes already in place.

We’ve learned quite a bit over the past couple of weeks about how to stay connected and do our best work even when not in the same room.

Here are ten top tips for remote working, DD style of course.

Business as usual

1. Keep talking

In an effort to keep business as usual, everyone joins their team or project stand up first thing in the morning, not just to kick off our day with a plan, but also for everybody to make contact with each other and ensure there is support in place if we need it.

The next catch up is the SOS (scrum of scrums), which happens after the stand ups and is focused on the activity planned at DD for the day, but also an open invite to anyone that has something to raise or a question to ask. And yes, sometimes we also join it if we want to see people’s faces and hear them talk - just makes us feel better around this time of ‘holiday-at-home’. That’s why we encourage everyone to do all these calls with the camera on just to give us that bit of human contact that we miss from being in the office.

No client meetings? Then PJs are of course allowed.

VideoCall Luiz working remotely

These meetings, as well as most of our client calls, take place using Highfive, a great video conferencing tool we also use for a quick chat with anyone from the team if we work together on a project or simply to catch up.

2. Stay in touch

We’ve always used Slack to keep connected with our team, but now more than ever Slack has been extremely helpful to have quick and easy communications.

Thanks to Alex, our Lead Developer, we now have appropriate slack statuses to reflect whether we are in a meeting, having lunch or taking a coffee/tea break. Headphones mode is used when working on something that needs full focus and won’t probably reply to messages right away.

Up for socials is a new status that we encourage our team to use, especially towards the end of the day to have a chat or a drink with someone. We can just join the hangout Highfive channel and hang around with who’s available!

3. Get together

Our weekly team meeting is still happening every Wednesday afternoon and it’s become more fun since we discovered that with Zoom you can see everyone’s faces on the screen if you click on the gallery view!

We use this time for key updates and announcements, hot topics or quick heads up on DD matters as well as shout outs and thank yous to the team. Remote working seems to have also introduced a ‘who can create the best video background’ challenge, too…

4. Remote Lunching

We are replicating the usual kitchen table lunch happening every day in the studio with the Highfive virtual room which we can join and have a remote lunch. Cooking lessons have been requested after one of these sessions!

Team wellbeing

5. Look after your back

StandingDesk Improvised standing desk

Not all of us had a properly designed place to work remotely; we realised that sitting on the sofa all day or on one of the vintage kitchen chairs won’t do too much good to our backs. We’ve sent around a desk assessment for remote working questionnaire in order to see what we can do to help those who haven’t been able to find a space to work.

So, while some of us started buying comfortable chairs, the rest improvised using what they already had in the house. The above is a standing desk that Nina put together and her back is definitely thanking her now!

P.S. We love the way the flamingo is peeking over: “Errr, excuse me!”

6. Take care of your mental health

MentalHealth Healthly body Healthly mind

Thanks to Tony, one of our Developers, our weekly yoga session is still a thing. Well, a remote thing.

We are trying to stay healthy in mind and body when working from home during these difficult times. While stretching our bodies, the breathing and meditation help to clear our minds, increase body awareness and create calmness, which is much needed when there’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty around.

7. Stay cultured

Given that our usual monthly culture club won’t be happening anytime soon, we’ve decided to switch to a remote one. The Royal Opera will stream opera and ballet for free every Friday until April 17th. How amazing is that? First streaming is today so tune in to its Facebook page or YouTube channel at 7 pm and watch the production of family fave: ‘Peter and the Wolf’. If we’re going to be locked up, we might as well become dead cultured while we’re doing it.

8. Learn new things, Spanish in our case

Nuestra primera clase de Español fue fantástica! That says ‘our first class of Spanish was fantastic’! This lesson isn’t just open to everyone in the team, but their families and children too and it’s led by Marta, our Finance Manager, who’s a native Spanish speaker. I think the kids enjoyed it the most, although some of us knew as much as they did or even less!

Having to stay in the house for a long time calls for action, and learning new things is a great idea to use some of our time productively, whilst having fun at the same time if possible. Learning a new language while keeping our kids distracted – works like magic, even just for a snippet!

9. Keep your kids entertained

Spanish lessons might not be enough to keep your kids entertained, especially when they don’t have to go to school. That’s why we’ve put together a survival guide for parents with kids at home, where we add online sources, YouTube channels, board games, books recommendations, and advice for fellow parents. We do love it when kids suddenly join our meetings or creep from a corner trying to understand what’s going on.

10. Friday socials are still a thing

If we are trying to keep everything in place as much as possible, one thing we can’t forget about is our usual Friday drinks. Yes, they are still happening, but in a different shape and form than usual, which we didn’t expect.

So far we’ve learnt how to change our backgrounds in Zoom, which has been both funny and creepy! If you’re feeling lonely and want a Qumber next to you looking out the window, just let Alex know and he will sort you out!

WorkSocial Friday Social

A big one for us is stay connected with your team! What keeps the wheels moving around? Communication and seamless technology. Regular, open and honest communication is key to employee wellness and happiness, plus the delivery of outstanding work of course.

And this couldn’t be better said than by Marisa, our Talent Manager: “Like most companies, moving to fully WFH has been a huge adjustment for all of us here at DD. It’s early days but so far we’ve seemed to make it work pretty well and the main thing I put that down to is our deeply embedded culture of supporting each other and putting people before profit. There’s no doubt this is going to be a challenging time for all of us but we’ll get through it by working together, sharing our concerns and celebrating our successes, and hopefully having a bit of DD-style fun along the way.”

We believe we’ve done pretty well so far, but any feedback, suggestions or questions are welcome. Tell us how you’re getting on working from home.

We’re also quite good with making digital products that bring clarity to complexity, making you more productive and happy. Need some help with yours? Get in touch.