Oh. The endless trials of lockdown. Between trying to figure out how to wear a mask and perfecting your homemade pizza, many of us are also educating children in small apartments and trying to establish new office boundaries. We hate to break it to you, but working from home might just be your new normal.
These sure are unusual times. Take it from us
, we’re living the paradox!
Indaba means discussions. Pronounced “In-dah-bah” it comes from the isiZulu word meaning "business" or "matters". Normally, this requires great gatherings. It’s all about ideas. Sharing innovations. Bringing people together
No. Not meat ups
- although we’re great at that too!
As meetings go virtual, we’ve looked to our business professionals for their expert tips on working remotely.
How to set up a productive workspace
Find a place with limited noise (we know, easier said than done if you’re sharing the house with the cooped-up kids), great light and near to a well-lit window. Sunlight is said to boost productivity and is better for your mood that that dark corner. So is a comfortable chair. Create a space of your own. This way, it’s easier to distinguish between work and unwinding. How do you know if it’s good enough? You should be able to leave/pack up/ignore your workspace at the end of a day, but easily resume the next morning.
Lumka Dhlabo, Key Accounts Manager for Indaba Group recommends a regular schedule and may other professionals agree. “My tip for working from home during lockdown is to have a routine. I wake up at the same time every day, take my bath, prepare my workstation and make myself breakfast. I find that this helps because I wake up with a purpose every day”.
After you’ve gotten dressed (all the expert agree on this one - nothing screams futility as much as working in your PJs), grab a coffee and sit down clear your inbox. Give yourself 45 minutes to suss out what’s vital. After that, limit your email-checks and alerts to two or three times a day (again before lunch and lastly before the end of the workday for urgent matters). This is step one to freeing up actual work time.
Another neat hack to try is the oldest productivity trick in the book - the Pomodoro Method. Your brain needs short periods of rest. Set a timer for 25-minutes and assign yourself a task. Focus on it for the period without any interruptions. When the beeper rings off, take a five-minute break to regroup. Make a cup of tea and refocus or set up the next task. Knowing there’s less than half an hour per session means you’re likely to work at your best. Studies show that this mental attitude can increase your output. Give it a try with the Tomato-Timer.com
Since we’re talking about rest. Likewise, lunchtime is not a treat, it’s a necessity. Remember to give yourself a proper break - a shared lunchtime is also an opportunity to be present for your family.
New to Zoom? Here’s your etiquette education
Candice Geyser, Key Accounts Manager for Indaba Group, has some useful tips.
“Think of a Zoom Meeting as a face-to-face meeting and conduct yourself as you would if you were all present in the same room. Join early – up to five minutes before the meeting start time. If you haven’t used Zoom before
, be sure to download the program beforehand. Check your position and try to avoid backlight from bright windows. Mute your microphone when not talking”
Even though you might be wearing your pantoffels
(let’s be honest, we all are) don’t forget you are on camera. Remain professional and try to avoid doing other tasks, such as looking at your phone.
Candice also suggests we get creative. “COVID-19 is forcing lots of businesses to cut back on travel and in-person meetings. That means web-based presentations are more important than ever. Start repackaging your pitch into a full-blown virtual presentation. Be prepared to do more of your pitch over the web instead of on-site meetings”.
Free online resources to up your at-home worklife
Need a crash course in managing your team remotely?
There are some great free resources for creating beautiful presentations and advice for grappling with this new balancing act. Here are our favourites.
- LinkedIn, The Learning Blog: From free career courses to mindfulness trick, this is a great collection of professional working advice.
- Canva: The easiest and free graphic design platform around. Use it to ramp up the beauty of your next presentation.
- Slack: This is the go-to business chat for many companies, but even more useful is this compliation of remote work tips.
- Hubspot: If you're in marketing, this blog is packed with tips, resources and how-tos.
- Google Drive: Beyond search, this is a wonderful collabration platform. Create with your co-workers using a shared document, a video meeting or by creating an email list or a chat room. Here are more of Google's tips for working remotly.