Life at Freeletics
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Life at Freeletics

Remote Hacks: How to Home Office

Tips and Tricks from our Scrum Master, Lena

Working from home. More sleep, no morning commute, wearing sweatpants all day and taking as many breaks as you like. Sounds like a dream at first, right? Well, over a month after “going remote,” we can tell you that home office is not always as easy as it sounds. Especially in the long run. Luckily, we have some home office experts right inside our company. We gathered some insights from our Scrum Master Lena to inspire you to get more productive and stay connected during these home office times.

Work Together

For a team that is working together remotely for the first time, there are several initiatives to set up. First, it is essential to clearly map out the short and long-term goals of the team. This will add clarity between team members and keep the direction of the team moving forward. It is also crucial to have a tool that can help the team visualize and organize the projects they are working on. Especially now, teams should strive to keep information in these tools up to date with current progress and obstacles they might be facing. We like to use Asana, JIRA, and Google Sheets to name a few, but take time to find what works best for your team. As for the social part of your setup, try to schedule digital check-ins and to share your daily schedule. Talk often and lean on each other! If you need help or think someone might be struggling, reach out. Building these habits together can help you feel more united as a team.

Turn your Video On

Losing connection with your colleagues is a common misconception when working remotely. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Today we have access to so many awesome tools and resources for staying connected! My first tip is to turn on your video during meetings. As non-verbal cues make up about 55% of overall communication, it’s always a great idea to use video when calling as much as possible. If not, you might misinterpret what your colleague is trying to say. Of course, if you‘ve been looking at your screen all day, simply explain to your colleagues that you prefer to have a walking meeting or simply a voice-only meeting. The key here is simply to communicate your needs.

Get Chatty

The second tip is to speak as you would if you were in the office. This is easier if you use a messaging program like Slack. When you turn on your computer in the morning, send a ‘good morning ☀️’ message to your teammates. Throughout the day, keep talking to your colleagues. Little messages like ‘off for lunch 🥗’ or a simple ‘goodbye 👋, have a nice evening!’ in the team channel are often enough to boost the social vibes amongst your colleagues. When working remotely, it’s also useful to set your status to reflect your availability in the messaging tool of your choice. This makes it clear for your team and the rest of the company when they can reach you. The less we have to wonder, the easier it is to communicate. Some examples for helpful statuses would be ‘In a call 📞,’ ‘DND 🚫 until 2 pm,’ or ‘Gone to lunch.’

Stay Connected

As humans, we crave and require a connection to others. If you have the feeling that your routine meetings start lacking that social aspect while working from home, try extending the meetings by 5 to 10 minutes and use this time to talk about something other than work. Or, you could also set up remote coffee breaks, breakfasts or lunches to have some additional social interaction with your colleagues. We recently implemented remote ‘Watercooler Talks’ at Freeletics as a fun way to keep the connection alive digitally. Just as it would be in the office, colleagues can simply join the remote session any time and are able to socialize with different people in the company.

Respect your Colleagues

Now that we are working remotely, it is more important than ever to respect our colleagues. This starts with meeting etiquette. If you are the meeting organizer, get into the habit of checking your tools and tech before the meeting. This way, no precious time is wasted in figuring out the tech on the go. Make sure you look over your meeting notes beforehand so that this time can be used for thinking and creating together, not just consuming information and talking in circles. Also, as remote meetings tend to pile up, always ask yourself what the goal of the meeting is and how you can shorten the message. Or even better: Is the meeting really necessary? #thismeetingcouldhavebeenanemail.

If you are a meeting participant, be aware that you can easily get distracted during remote meetings. Make sure to snooze notifications, set a status like “in a meeting until…” and don’t multitask — this is disrespectful to everyone in a meeting and to yourself.

Take Breaks and Develop a Routine

Make sure to give yourself plenty of breaks throughout the day. Without a commute in the morning, you are likely to wake up, open your computer and immediately start working. This can make you feel tired and dull during the day. Instead, try to wake up early and look after your body with a nice breakfast or workout. Find your new routines and stick to them. Keep giving your eyes and body breaks frequently. This can be a quick stretch, a walk around the block or simply tearing your eyes away from the screen.

While it‘s true that there are lots of uncertainties during this new home office era, try to work on what you can control. Keep collaborating and talking with your colleagues and friends and find new ways to work better together. Hold onto your positive vibes and keep looking towards the future. We hope these tips can inspire you to become your own #homeofficeboss.

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