Given the evolving COVID-19 situation, businesses are being forced to adapt in new and different ways. And that includes our team here at Vaimo.
With offices spread across 15 countries, we’re more than used to our fair share of Slack chats, Workplace groups and Zoom meetings to get things done. But remote conversations have obviously increased given ongoing government guidelines around social distancing and flattening the curve. Working from home has now become the norm for our business and many others.
So, what’s the impact?
Well, we’d like to think that there’s zero impact on our clients. Yes, our offices might be a little quieter, and our homes a little fuller, but that doesn’t mean that anything’s necessarily changed. We’re using our toolkit of collaboration tools (with the help of our dedicated Internal IT Team) to keep up the high levels of communication and collaboration that we pride ourselves on.
So whether it’s 5, 30 or 300 colleagues on a call (see below for said mugshots), we’re continuing to work in our teams as we always have.
On top of our work, it’s important as a company that we engage more informally with our colleagues too—just as we would in an office setting. At Vaimo offices across the globe, we’ve seen virtual morning coffees, yoga, meditation, advice sessions and even our CEO leading a 5-minute energy-boosting dance! (Yes, we’re not lying!) Teamwork is one of our core values. And while we’re at home it’s important that we keep up our energy and collaboration—be that in a work or social situation.
Did someone say, morning yoga? (Thank you, Liis, for the class!)
And what about working from home?
Working from home for an extended period is new for a lot—if not all—of us. And our home lives are all that little bit different. An apartment? A house? Chores? Pets? Kids? Pets and kids?! But it’s a challenge we’re all working through together to ensure that it’s business as usual.
Research indicates that pets improve productivity, reduce stress and bring employees closer together. I think these two agree...
Just this week, a Vaimo Sweden team took a call where each participant had either a child or a pet on their laps—talk about starting them young! And at the end of the meeting, the respective kids began their own little meeting without the parents. Collaboration to the fullest we’d say...
On a serious note, though, working from home can take a little getting used to. Because it’s home, it can be tempting to think it’s easy. But challenges exist. Yesterday morning in one of our virtual morning coffee meetings, Megan Riley (Country Manager, Vaimo International) walked us through some key reminders for long-term working from home. You may also be new to your home office setup, so let’s take a closer look at these tips:
Make a comfortable workspace for yourself
- Be sure you have all the equipment you need to get your work done.
- Have plenty of light.
- If possible, choose a spot where you have some privacy from interruptions.
Maria's home office: Equipment✓ Light✓ Privacy✓
Set clear boundaries for yourself
When working from home, it’s very easy to slip into an “on all the time” rhythm. Avoid the temptation to always be connected and responsive.
- Set a regular time for waking up and go to sleep at a reasonable hour to feel well-rested.
- Get dressed, even if it’s tempting to stay in PJs all day long...
- Don’t forget your hobbies—make time for what you love outside of work.
Get moving… and some fresh air (If you're allowed to)
- Whether it’s a bike ride or taking the dog for a walk, fresh air is great for your energy levels. Einstein famously took walks daily while working out his theories. We’ve seen plenty of Vaimoers recharging their batteries with a lunchtime run. See Merit's pictures below from a sunny jog on Tallinn’s coastline.
- If it’s rainy out, take time for stretching or yoga.
- Parents: incorporate this into your time with the kids—yoga is great fun with kids.
One of the main drawbacks to working from home is the lack of naturally occurring breaks, be that coffee breaks or chatting with your desk mates. The secret to keeping productivity high is to take breaks throughout the day. Mental breaks give your brain a chance to rest and process what you’re working on more efficiently. The good news is that technology can be your friend:
- Schedule breaks in your calendar, and stick to them. A good rule of thumb is 5-10 mins per hour of focused work.
- Schedule your lunchtime, and take it… away from your mobile and your laptop.
Melanie's setup in Belgium!
Stay connected… to people
- Use your lunch break to have a catch up with friends and family.
- ‘Meet’ your friends for a morning coffee. Just choose a video platform and agree on a time.
- For teams, agree in advance to turn on the camera for daily stand ups at least 2-3 times a week.
In these times of isolation, it’s more important than ever that we take care of ourselves, look out for our colleagues and keep up open lines of communication. Check back on our blog for more stories of how our global teams are collaborating at Vaimo (including many more candid Zoom photos).