8 things we learnt in 8 years of working from home

David Glennie – CEO

Productivity should increase with homeworking, not decrease. If you see a downturn it’s either tech, process or attitude, you can fix all three of these. So don’t accept poorer performance from a homebased team than you’d expect from office workers.

To help you here’s 8 things we’ve learnt in the last 8 years of remote working…

I couldn’t believe number 7!

1 – Get Decent Tech

There is no excuse for not being heard and seen. If bandwidth is an issue consider getting a dedicated connection for conferences (costs less than you think) and even a bonding router that will take advantage of multiple ADSL connections blah blah blah (This bit is boring, you should just Google it)

2 – Use video if at all possible

85% of communication is non-verbal, it says here, so being a disembodied voice is only going to get over 15% of what you mean. This was in a book so it must be true.

3 – Don’t mute your miC

Don’t mute your mic unless there’s a technical need for you to do so. Muting your mic (which everyone can see) is the equivalent of getting your phone out in a face to face meeting. Sometimes you have to do it, but it always looks a bit rude and edgy. 

4 – Have A Virtual Office

We use Sneek.io and a dedicated Slack channel called ‘The Office’ to give people a tangible sense of being part of a team. People were a bit sceptical at first, but now everyone loves it. It’s nice to know when people are going for lunch and everyone loves it when I ask them to pick something up for me because I am a good boss and very funny.

5 – Clean Your Screen

Always assume you will end up sharing your screen during a call and take appropriate action. For instance, closing any unnecessary browser tabs. You know exactly what I mean, don’t pretend you don’t.

6 – Notifications Off

Turn off notifications and close Slack. I guarantee a colleague will Slack you something appalling when you’re sharing your screen. Perhaps drawing attention to one of those “unnecessary” browser tabs, or just “why are you lying?”.

7 – The Virtual Water Cooler

Contact colleagues for no reason. Just like you do in the office when you’re bored. Go and chat with your friend for a bit. The worst thing about homeworking is that often people only contact you if there’s a problem. This makes communication feel like a negative thing. You should spend at least 10% of your day stopping other people working. They will thank you later.

8 – Give Something Back

Homeworking is not a perk. It sounds like fun at first, but you’re asking people to work with less support, recreation and interaction. We’ve seen a big increase in productivity at Voodoo since we created ‘YooDoo’ – 4 hours a week that employees can take off to work on their physical, emotional, mental or spiritual health. We’ve seen sickness effectively drop to zero since we implemented this. Recently we’ve upped it to 6 hours a week so people can support neighbours during the pandemic.