Here’s the one thing I can say the current Covid-19 pandemic has shown me! That we are living organizisms – fragile humans and we need to take this opportunity to spend time with ourselves, our families and friends. Block out the distraction, filter the noise, choose the right information to protect yourselves, loved ones and community and just be grateful for life. Now you may be asking what the best way to do that when we have been asked to #flattenthecurve, and practice social distancing. Most organizations (where possible) have been encouraging their staff to work from home and people are choosing to self-isolate.
I’m sure we’ve all worked remotely at some stage in our working lives, but not on a prolonged basis. We at Matoyana are quite fortunate, as due to our organizational structure and nature of our work, remote work is a norm for us. We thought we would share some tips on how we stay connected, motivated and on track with our daily work outside of the traditional office environment.
1.Have the right communication tools: Proper communication is the most important part of “remote” working, especially if you work within a team, and your work is largely dependent on other people, and vice versa. Hence it is important that you are familiar with the tools you can use to help you stay in touch and connected with your team. The great news is that there is no need to invest in new and expensive tools, as most of us have these and just need to know how to utilise these optimally.
- WhatsApp – we love WhatsApp because pretty much everyone has it and we can use it to share documents and video call. The good thing is that you can also do group call of up to 4 participants.
- Skype and Zoom –Both amazingly functional for solo or group meetings, and you can record meetings on both Skype and Zoom.
2. Data usage – yes you may be reading this and thinking, this is all well and good, but what about the cost of data (in SA we have crazy data costs compared to the rest of the world) and not everyone has the luxury of uncapped WiFi in their homes. It is all about smart usage. Switch off mobile data when you don’t need it. And turn it on for the Apps when you need to use them. I would suggest getting a Rain sim card because it is the most inexpensive option we’ve found, but do your research.
3. Find ways to stay focused. When I first started remote working, I’d find myself sitting on a sofa, and next thing three hours have gone by, flipping channels or watching some show. We encourage you to plan the day and not wing it. If you don’t have a home office, create a workspace for yourself.
4. If you have children and you are required to stay at home with them – do the same as the above, create a schedule/routine for them. A friend shared a cool schedule she found online for her daughter, so do your research.
5. If you’re like me and you live alone, in a complex where you don’t know your neighbours, it can get hellava lonely. Schedule calls with family or friends. Our digital content manager suggested the following: Have a 10-minute cup of coffee with a friend via Zoom or Face Time. So, if you’re missing your office BFF– schedule that virtual coffee time with them.
6. Have fun! Do stuff you would not do in the office. Work in your pyjamas. Create a great soundtrack and let that play in the background (no need for headsets).
7. Move, move, move – take the time to do some jumping jacks, go out and stand in the sun for five to ten minutes. I won’t lie – I realised that I get so in my zone, and next thing the day has gone by and I have hardly had any movement.
8. Time: Remote working will show you how much time you actually have to complete your work. You will find that you will complete your work much quicker than you would have done at the office, and you will see that you have time to work on your side hustle or passion project.
We’d love to hear from freelancers and other professional remote workers on how they are able to hack the system; stay connected with their teams and deliver the best work possible.
Founder of Matoyana Business Solutions and Matoyana Media and Creator of the Warrior Women Series
Note to the Editor:
Matoyana Media is a subsidiary of Matoyana Business Solutions;an entrepreneurship development consultancy based in Johannesburg.We produce content for creatives, freelancers and small business owners to inspire & empower them to grow and thrive.