Working from home: tips and advice for the arts industry
Working from home is new to many as the sector adapts to life during Covid-19. Ticketsolve shares tips and advice on ways to stay productive and positive.
Many of us at Ticketsolve work from home - so we know a thing or two about how to get the most out of it. As many in the arts may not be familiar with the best way to be effective working from home, we thought we’d provide some help and advice that will help you be more productive during this time.
Create the Right Environment
Working from home can be difficult, but a few things will make things easier:
- Find a quiet place in the house
You might be working from home with the whole family at home too which might make finding a quiet place difficult. Headphones can help - even if to just block out noise.
- Be sure you set up nowhere near a TV
And if you can, avoid working in the bedroom - leave your bedroom as a place to relax and not associated with work.
- If you can, a standing desk is a great option - even a kitchen counter can act as a standing desk in a pinch.
- If you can, dual screens will allow you to better manage your work online.
Use The Right Tools
Working from home presents some communication challenges - you can’t just lean over and ask your colleague a question. At Ticketsolve, we’ve tried and tested a few tools to help and we can recommend a few that really work well.
This is essentially a professional WhatsApp. Conversations have the immediacy and feel of real-life conversations. Unlike WhatsApp, conversations live inside of channels, so you can create channels for just about anything and add team members as needed. In Ticketsolve, we have channels for marketing, support, development, etc., and even channels for just casual chat and conversation.
Google Meet is a video conferencing app but with a business spin as compared to Google Hangouts. You can have up to 30 people on a call. The app allows users to join pre-scheduled meetings from calendar events, choose a link, enter meeting code and even dial in from their phones if the invitation includes a phone number.
Trello is a task management app that gives you a visual overview of what exactly is being worked on and who exactly is working on it. Trello is a system of boards, lists and cards so projects can be broken down and completed in a flexible manner. We use Trello to manage a variety of projects, as it is a great way to break projects down by task and assign them to remote workers.
This one likely needs little introduction. A popular music - and now podcast - streaming app, Spotify is great for background music when you are working from home. There are also playlists with white noise and even “concentration and focus“ playlists.
How to Manage from a Distance
Managing teams working remotely requires a slightly different rhythm. A few ideas that have worked well for us:
- Morning stand-ups
These are quick catch-ups that you should do each morning. You can use this time to set priorities, check where everyone is with various projects and see if anyone is stuck or needs help. These should be short - save longer discussions for separate meetings.
- List all your daily tasks and tick them off as you go. You can use Trello with your team to have transparency on everyone's tasks.
- Use Slack
Because conversations in Slack are divided into channels, managing your teams and projects will be far easier than if you use email. Slack also allows you to upload documents and other materials, so everything is in one place.
- Google Meet or Hangouts
Google Meet is great if you need to do a team meeting, but if you need to have a quick chat with one or two of your team members - Hangouts are quick and easy.
Right now, everyone is operating with a heightened level of stress. We are worried about our organisations, our friends, families and loved ones - it is unsettling to say the least. It is always important to take care of your mental health, but even more so right now. Our top tips:
- Start your day as if you were going to your venue
While it is tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day, start your day as you would any other. It will help you get in the mindset for working.
- Take regular breaks - ideally every 10 mins
Stretch, make a cup of tea, grab a coffee - anything to give you a mental and physical break.
There has been an explosion of free online workouts you can do from home. Or if you can, take a quick jog or walk around the park - keeping away from others.
- Talk to your colleagues on Google Meet / Hangouts
Organise an after-work Google Meet or Hangout. Have everyone grab their favourite drink and meet up virtually. It can help everyone to unwind and combat loneliness.
- Take a brain break
Working from home with your home family around plus stress with everything else that is happening can be hard mentally. Try a short meditation - deep breaths for 5 minutes - stand on your front step for some fresh air.
Ben Doyle, Customer Support, Ticketsolve