Isaac's tips to creative collaboration
The internet’s inundated with tips from working from home, and the importance of sticking to a routine - but I found what was most useful for me was being open to using new technologies.
By Isaac Chan
26 May 2020
I’ve worked from home a number of times in the past - but it was never more than 1-2 days at a time. So, it was definitely a shock to the system when I needed to start doing it everyday.
The internet’s inundated with tips from working from home, and the importance of sticking to a routine - but I found what was most useful for me was being open to using new technologies, willing to try whacky ideas to stay connected, and taking a moment to appreciate what we have.
7 : 3 0 A M
I wake up to the familiar soft tunes on my phone, and untangle myself to hit snooze on my work alarm (some things never change). I take a deep breath, and stand up straight for a minute, and slowly waking up as the blood rushes through my body.
Normally it’ll be a mad rush to eat breakfast, but without the need to commute, I take a moment to enjoy the day - and say hi to whatever critter just joined my balcony. Today, it’s a spider on the top left - it spun an incredible web overnight! Hope this keeps the mosquitoes away.
7 : 4 0 A M - 8 : 30 A M
What will I make today - Peanut butter? Oats? Cereal? Bacon and egg? Smoked salmon? Smashed avocado? Eggs and soldiers?
I’m very thankful for this extra time to prepare a solid, hearty breakfast, and a nice hot cup of coffee. I tune into Sorted Foods (a favourite YouTube cooking channel) as I enjoy my breakfast. After that, the usual hygiene routines, and I get ‘dressed’ for work - a comfortable tee, and track pants.
8 : 3 0 A M - 1 1 A M
My set-up at home isn’t all that different from work - it’s both a choice (to keep it minimalist), and a necessity (space restrictions as I’m parked on the dining table).
The day starts with me calibrating - reviewing my to-do list and my scheduled meetings for the day - so I clearly understand where I need to be (virtually) and what are my main goals.
Then it’s down to business - fingers on the keyboard, earphones in. I start responding to emails and slack messages, updates to Confluence pages. I found having proper collaboration tools such as these really helps everyone stay on the same page (quite literally for Confluence - their editor functionality allows multiple users to make changes at the same time!).
Throughout the flurry of activity, I’m fortunate enough to have two stand-ups to allow me to connect with my Technology team, and the Marketing team.
We use Zoom to keep us connected, and a fun way to keep banter and conversation is to update our virtual backgrounds. Lately, I’ve been reminiscing previous holidays, and cycling through pictures of houses I’ll love to live in.
1 1 A M - 1 1 : 15 A M
Time for a quick break - a stretch and a snack. I definitely haven’t been getting as many steps as before, and need to be more careful with spending too long in front of a screen without moving.
A brisk walk inside the home, stepping out to see the plants, and a few stretches later - I claim my reward of a light snack. I try to be good - sometimes it’s fruit, and other times it’s chips - whatever it is, it’s sustainable and it is something to look forward to.
Then, importantly I refill my water bottle - it’s a nifty design, with timestamps written on the side so I always know if I’m not drinking enough water. I know water can be a bit boring, so some cold-infusion teas from T2 might be just what you need!
1 1 : 15 A M - 1 2 : 3 0 P M
After the short break, I’m right back into it.
Emails, Slack, Confluence, Jira, Zoom - previously, I found it can be challenging when only one or some of the team is working remotely. Now that everyone is in the same boat, it’s a good reminder to practice good virtual meeting etiquette.
A good suggestion my team had for stand-ups, was to have the current presenter nominate the next speaker. Everyone needs to pay attention to who has already spoken, and also it stopped people talking over each other when deciding who to go next.
1 2 : 3 0 P M - 1 : 3 0 P M
Lunch time! I do miss all the food options I had in the city - but food delivery and stocking up a variety of ingredients means it doesn’t need to be boring!
Today, we tried a virtual lunch with the team over Zoom - we even went as far as setting up similar backgrounds of the restaurant, from different angles. Everyone had a lot of fun - so maybe the ‘dumb’ ideas aren’t so dumb after all?
1 : 3 0 P M - 3 : 0 0 P M
More emails, Slack messages, Confluence and Zoom meetings.
My bottle reminds me to stay hydrated, and you can ask Google to set random reminders for you to keep active and not rooted in a seat for too long.
3 : 0 0 P M - 3 : 1 5 P M
In these times, it’s really difficult to maintain the small social chats you normally would have in the kitchen, lifts, etc.
It’s 3 PM so now it’s par-TEA time. I brew a cuppa' and check-in with my team. “How is everyone’s day going?” we laugh, we let off some steam, we keep each other company. We are a support network.
3 : 1 5 P M - 6 : 0 0 P M
The last part of the day is much of the same - emails, Slack messages, Confluence and Zoom meetings.
As the day closes, I do a stocktake and see what I achieved, and then make the list of to-do for tomorrow.
Interestingly, I found I really took for granted how easy it was to ‘sign-off’ and say good bye to the team when I was in the office. It’s a little trickier to do that, but I’m starting to make a habit of it on the Slack channel, and letting the team know I’m off. Not only is it a way to stay connected, I found it’s an effective way to put a mental ‘stop’ to your work day, and allow yourself to pick up other of your life’s activities.
I am enjoying the bonus of not having to commute home and make dinner - it’s allowing me to tap into my inner chef and try out new recipes.
Maybe it’s because I miss going out for dinner, but lately I’ve been trying out a number of restaurant favourites - there’s no shortage of amazing recipes out there:
- Made my own Kimchi
- Homemade “san choi bao” (lettuce cups)
- Steamed whole Barramundi
Secondly, with working from home - I’m not surprised my daily step count has barely passed 4,000.
Even though it’s the same movement, for me going to the gym or walking around the park is completely different to running a marathon in my living room…
Lucky for me, Nintendo released a fitness role-playing game called Ring-Fit adventures - with the right difficulty level, I actually work up quite a sweat as I sprint, squat, and crunch my way through the levels.
With the Ring-Con in hand and Leg Strap equipped, it's time to set out on a fitness-filled quest! Explore a fantasy adventure world to defeat a bodybuilding dragon and his minions using real-life exercises in Ring Fit Adventure, a fitness video game for Nintendo Switch!
The information provided in this article is general in nature and does not constitute advice. Please consider your own personal circumstances prior to making any decisions