So we’ve all been in lockdown for 7 weeks now, and wow, who would have thought annoying virtual calls would become the norm and the constant thinking of “when will I be able to get a haircut” become a question that simply can’t be answered. Not me that is for sure.
Our business like many tech companies is remote-first anyway, that said pre-lockdown Tillo as a company and team always used to be in the office, rarely did people work from home. It’s times like these where you are forced into a position of planning on the fly that makes you wonder, being thrown into the deep end is sometimes not as bad as it seems. Clearly, if tasks, roles, responsibilities and results aren’t measured or outlined then naturally you’ll begin to sink.
But we’ve found we’ve managed to adapt quite well to our new living arrangements, from keeping things fluid to get the team engaged in our fun and sometimes silly tasks - it keeps things fresh and positive helping to forget all the global pandemic issues that maybe are at hand.
It’s times like this because of the forced nature of this pandemic and the need to stay at home, you absolutely HAVE to adapt fast, it’s hard, of course it is, from communicating to finding that routine that works for you. I mean I don't mind virtual calls, but it is annoying, there's nothing like grabbing a brew and chewing the fat about a subject! Not even when I was in the Iraq war with my regiment were such strict rules on the local people, it’s hard to believe but here we are all at home dealing with it.
Here are somethings we have found that are working well for us as a team;
🤓Have a routine 🤓
- Try your hardest to create a workspace and space for free-time To be ultra-effective and focused on having an organised desk space or area is key. Moreover, it’s so important to have a space and area that isn’t work-related, to take time out to relax and get out of work mode. This can be tough, but it’s important. If you don’t have a separate room to use as a designated workplace use a space you don't really usually use in your free time. Try not to do work in areas where you normally do fun stuff in your free time. Chop and change it up too if you can!
- Create that “right” working environment: Have a place you go specifically to work. It could be a certain table, chair -- someplace that's consistently your 'workspace.' It helps you get into the right frame of mind.
- Create morning and evening routines: Routines are a good thing, even more so right now so having a morning and evening routine can help start and stop your day as a remote team member. Keep it simple and consistent.
- Stop the distractions from work: If you can delete slack from your phone or enable do not disturb mode from a certain time it is obviously going to help you switch off. That said, I don't want my key engineers to do that! :)
- Plan out a to-do list before you start: Keeping it fluid to some extent is important but if you can have a plan of your schedule before you attack your day/agenda so that you’re committing to completing it. You’re accountable for it almost, then once you accomplish it you’ll feel like you’ve had a mini “win”. That feels good, then on to the next one!
🏃♀️🏃♂️Keep fit and healthy🏃♀️🏃♂️
Team motivation is key, we recently had a fitness challenge where each member took part in their own mini-challenge. Some ran 5 miles, others trekked with the kids to a new woods they hadn’t been to. All different and everyone motivating each other - for those that really like their fitness a dedicated slack channel could be a nice touch.
We also had a nice workshop where everyone was invited to a Zoom meeting and our team had mental health and positive mindset professional for two hours - breaking into groups to discuss each subject. She helped everyone with mini bite-sized nuggets of information to help during this tricky time. It was great and a hit with the team.
Seriously though, it’s important, drink water, eat well and stay active! Even try guided meditation!
🗺️Culture during Covid19 🗺️
It’s in everything you do, right? We know it’s not just words made up that sounds great and powerful, it’s more than that. As a leader, you need to behave and act like you want your team to behave. We’re helping millions of people right now providing technology to help the most vulnerable - so we need our team to be conscious to the fact we’re servicing both brands and partners who in turn are helping millions of people. We need our team organised and conscientious - that said we all need rest so we try and have fun too!
From taking a picture of your; fridge, window view, best recipe, workspace, competitions and sharing on slack for all to vote it's what makes things interesting and personal - these are just a few of the things we do to spice things up.
Only the last week we had a fancy dress Wednesday which was fun whilst doing a work call.
Other things we have done are;
- 🤔Quizzes - we do these every Friday at 1pm for those that can take part
- 😂Ask me anything - a new thing our Head of People introduced so our team could get to know another chosen member in a 30min slack quick-fire question asking sess!
- 🥡Lunch on us - instead of doing our normal company lunches we’ve been issuing Uber and Just eat vouchers so the team can have lunch on us.
- 📝Coffee and learn sessions - 30mins and a chosen team member can choose a subject on their work or something totally unrelated that they can chat about to others. Nice way for members of the team to talk in an informal way to their peers.
Trust is the foundation of how a team will succeed remotely: Remote teams have to trust their peers. It’s as simple as that. Most people really want to do a great job and trusting your team will allow your peers to trust you in return thus rewarding you. Try to take the time to thank someone every day. Let your team or teammates know that you notice how much they do and recognise it. Differences of opinions are resolved on video or phone calls, not on IM and chats!
📢Communication and the working week 📢
- Working hours Naturally as the office is shut and generally we a “set” working hours when we're in, these now need to be adapted. It’s important to have “working” hours and time to have that balance where work and home are the same places - try to find that balance and sticking to timings that work to you and your business roles.
- Company-wide meeting to start the week off, in fact, this hasn’t changed from our time in the office. We do this to set the plan out of the week and motivate and energise people that this is a fresh new week and highlight any new developments or things we’re working on. This is pretty regimented and nice to see everyone.
- Its the weekend and on Fridays we have a 430pm cheers a-clock time! Basically just a chance to close off the week and have a chat. It’s really nice actually, most people join but it’s not a forced. We also have a Friday morning 9am catch up to chat about the wins we have had in the week too.
- Catch-ups are just as important during the week and we empower the managers to have these regular with each team respectively. That said, our coffee and learn meetings are on Wednesdays and our tech team, as well as the finance, normally have daily catchups or standups. Basically - over-communicate is the rule we go by.
These are just a few of the learnings and things that are helping Tillo during Covid19 and how we’re keeping ourselves not just busy, but healthy and happy. This lock will come to an end and at the end of this time, we want to look back and be proud of how we conducted ourselves.
Here’s to getting through 2020 and to a glass of wine in the not too distant future in some faraway European villa! 🍷