Here at Zone we’ve long embraced a culture of flexible working, with many of our staff regularly working remotely. And with everyone in the UK being told to work from home if possible, we asked some of our team how they’re adjusting to this “new normal” and if they have any tips for how to stay productive and motivated. First up, we speak to our marketing manager, Ricky Wallace.
I’ve read so many articles recently on ‘ways of working’ from all kinds of businesses. With my marketer hat on, I think it’s because they feel uncomfortable publishing their usual content marketing and sales pitches for fear of appearing insensitive to the scary situation we’re in, and instead opt to share positive anecdotes of their ‘business as usual’ tactics.
These are unprecedented times and to push out content pretending that things are exactly the same seems a little strange. Yet with so much bad news in the world, a little positivity and normality as you scroll down your social media newsfeed can be a welcome relief. Yes, there are big changes afoot for all businesses in all industries but we also need to recognise that we have a commitment to our clients and our team-mates to put our best foot forward and reassure them that we will continue to deliver an excellent service and support.
So how am I finding working from home in the midst of this delicate health situation? Firstly, I’m aware there are many careers where home working is not an option, so I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to. Being a digital business, Zone has the tools and processes in place and I already work from home at least one day a week, so I’m well versed in how to stay motivated and organised when not in our King’s Cross office.
I live alone, so finding the space and privacy to get my head down and concentrate is a doddle. I often mix it up between the kitchen table and the sofa depending on the task at hand. Writing a blog like this, for example, is great from the sofa with some music on (never the TV — too distracting!) whereas if I have my head in budgets and spreadsheets, I’ll sit at the kitchen table and plug my mouse in to make it easier.
I find it important to stick to routine. I still get up at 6.30am to exercise, shower and get dressed (I’m amazed at how many people stay in their pyjamas when working from home — but each to their own!) and that gets me in the right mindset. I set an hour for lunch and try to stick to it — a status update on Slack usually helps so you can let people know you won’t respond for the next hour rather than have them worry that you’re finishing the latest box set on Netflix!
I also prefer to call my team-mates rather than Slack message or email. I find decisions get reached more quickly, there are no crossed wires and it just helps to feel better connected.
You can’t beat a face-to-face meeting but online works fine for us. Sure, sometimes there’s a few technical issues when it comes to bigger project meetings but in the main, these are usually fun and interactive. And with tools like Miro and Trello, we’re able to easily collaborate as if we were in front of a whiteboard in one of our meeting rooms.
Talking in person is so important, especially when building client relationships, but in the short term we’re looking at moving our events programme online. A recent Econsultancy and Marketing Week survey found that 44% of respondents working in the marketing and advertising sector believe the ability to adapt to a move to virtual meetings and events will be critical for competitiveness over the coming months, while a further 48% believe it will be important.
That’s certainly keeping my days working from home busy, but more importantly will hopefully provide some welcome distraction to our audience among all the doom and gloom in the news.
Read more from our #ZoneWorksFromHome series: