Search any stock image library using the keywords ‘remote working’ or ‘digital nomad’ and you’ll be flooded with photos of beaming, beautiful people in equally beautiful places; turmeric lattes in hand, MacBook Pros balanced precariously on tanned thighs.
Of course, if the #remotelife was this good, offices all over the world would have lay abandoned since the invention of WiFi!
While remote workers, or companies which promote a remote work culture, enjoy a host of perks; the most obvious con is pretty major: you can’t tap your favorite colleague on the shoulder when you just need them to sanity check an email real quick, or figure out how to recover that Excel sheet you accidentally wiped (we’ve all been there).
Apart from plenty of ‘in the moment’ discipline, remote working demands a surprising degree of forward-planning. You need to make several decisions which are usually taken care of for you. Where will you sit? Is it okay to wear a bathrobe all day? When do you break for lunch?
There are a few trickier ones, too… how can you achieve work-life balance without an office to leave at 5.00pm? How do you make sure you’re getting your daily fix of face-to-face interaction?
And, if you’re part of a team, it’s important from a communications perspective to keep availabilities, schedules, WiFi signals, time zones and much more in mind in order to hit optimal productivity.
This might sound complicated, but don’t worry—because we’re on our third year of #BynderRemoteWeek (and the Netherlands was recently voted the best place in Europe for remote working), we can share a thing or two!
Top tips for remote working
According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, while a ‘Flexible schedule’ is the biggest benefit of remote working, ‘Unplugging after work’ (22%) and ‘Loneliness’ (19%) are two significant struggles remote workers face.
Here’s how to make remote working work for you…
Keep your work and living spaces separate
It’s hard to escape the work mindset when you’re crunching numbers on the exact same sofa you unwind on at night with Netflix and a bowl of ice cream. Whether you set up shop in a library, a cafe, or have a dedicated study at home, being able to leave your ‘desk’ at the end of the day is a key way of maintaining your sanity.
If you’re strapped for space, have a particular desk set up for work in the corner of a room—just make sure you only use it for work, and it’ll soon become second nature to leave it there when you’re done.
Take enough breaks
When given the freedom to set your own schedule, it’s easy to overwork. Set clear work hours, clock off when you’re supposed to, and truly relax in your spare time.
There are plenty of productivity timers out there to help you manage your time, and your time off.
Get away from your screen(s)
Taking regular breathers from any and all digital displays is a sure-fire way to avoid injuries and get a better night’s sleep. Go out for walks, do some stretching/light exercise, or read a book during breaks.
But even if you do take frequent breaks, the reality is that most of us still spend more than 8 hours in front of a screen every day. Wearing a pair of high-quality computer glasses can help to alleviate some of the negative effects of screen use such as eye strain, blurred vision, and headaches.
Don’t skip the paperwork
To-do lists, timesheets, invoicing, process documentation… they may not be fun, but they’re often key to staying organized, and, if you’re a contractor, getting paid on time! Carve out 15 minutes every day for admin, and you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t be a hermit
The Copywriter Club has over 8,000 Facebook Group members who share tips, insights and jokes with each other on a daily basis. There’s a high chance that there’s a similar community—whether online or offline—out there for you. Join it.
While it’s tempting to work from home, make it a point to visit a co-working space or cafe for at least part of the day. Get a WiFi hotspot set up on your phone so you can work from social, sunny spots like the park or beach. Consider a solo ‘work-cation’, or take a day trip to a neighboring city to enjoy a change of scenery.
If the only interaction you have with your team or clients is via email, ask for virtual meetings. Find others in the same boat as you, and connect (in real life, if possible). And, of course, make sure you see enough of your family and friends in your downtime.
Top tech tools for remote working
“Does my tech stack stack up?” is the million dollar question. That’s why we decided to launch Bynder Remote Week in the first place—to see if we’ve got the tools to allow us to be productive, creative and engaged when we’re not all under the same roof. Only then can we consider ourselves a truly flexible and future-proof workplace.
The remote workforce is growing exponentially, which has led to the development of a slew of cloud-based tools to help far-flung teams collaborate. Whether you’re looking for reliable video calling, instant feedback on a blog draft or a real-time code editor…there’s an app for that.
Here’s our pick of the tech tools that make long-distance (working) relationships a success, some of which our team will be using during Bynder Remote Week.
TYPO3 is an open source Enterprise CMS providing the basis for websites, intranets and web and mobile applications worldwide. It’s got a large and dedicated global community, and integrates with Bynder. This means you can finally say goodbye to manual desktop uploads, and search for and import Bynder files directly within your TYPO3 environment. Simply fire up your Bynder asset library within TYPO3, filter for what you’re looking for, and import with a click of a button.
Every social media specialist knows the struggle of scheduling, posting, monitoring and reporting on content across several different channels (and time-zones). Hootsuite centralizes and simplifies social media management, and, better yet, integrates with Bynder.
A CMS with a twist, PrestaShop is targeted at e-commerce start-ups wishing to found and scale their business quickly. Its online stores are beautiful, and integrate with several best-in-class CRO and payment solutions, such as Stripe and Shopify.
Leveraging Facebook’s familiar interface and features (News Feed, Live Video, Groups, Messenger, Events), this one’s a no-brainer and requires minimal set-up. And no, you don’t need to accept your manager’s Friend Request first—it still allows for a separation between work and play.
We use Slack religiously at Bynder and give it five stars. Say goodbye to spending half your day clearing your email inbox and say hello to an intuitive UI, productive conversation and a cute slackbot reminding you to drink enough beer.
Zoom is a video-conferencing tool that’s a great alternative to Skype and Hangouts. It has a higher threshold for the number of people who can join a meeting at once, and, anecdotally speaking, never freezes.
Cloud storage and file sharing
Ideal for small to midsize teams, Drive needs no introduction. Store and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, slideshows and more, all with your Google account.
As long as your storage or media requirements aren’t through the roof, Box is a great tool for securely sharing files, and creating, editing and reviewing documents with your co-workers in real-time across any device.
Bynder is a cloud-based digital asset management solution that provides a centralized hub for your branded content—documents, videos, logos, presentations and more. It’s similar to Google Drive and Box, but with far more functionality; allowing anyone in your team to better create, organize and distribute company assets. Plus, handy add-ons such as Bynder Express provide quick and safe file transfers from wherever you are in the world.
Deadlines are a lot harder to miss with this enterprise work management tool, complete with issue tracking, time tracking, and document and portfolio management. Workfront also plays nice with others, integrating with the likes of Microsoft Outlook, JIRA and Bynder. Even the messiest hot mess will feel on top of things with this one.
Workflow provides creative project management software that allows design teams to streamline content creation and get campaigns to market in record time, cutting down on admin and painful back-and-forth approvals.
Cleanly designed and easy to use, Trello is perfect for project and task management, with a killer mobile app and a little-known bonus feature: remote product feature prioritization sessions.
Development and design
This app by the well-known Evernote allows remote teams to annotate, markup and speedily sketch out ideas.
This is a nifty tool for building prototypes and sharing them with your team, with contextual comments making collecting feedback a snap.
A growing online community for showcasing user-made artwork; perfect for a spot of self-promotion, networking, or finding your next co-creator. Covers graphic design, web design, illustration, photography, and more.