As of 16th May 2021, Singapore has gone into Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), bringing about new measures such as no dining in and not gathering in groups of more than 2. This also means that 100% Work From Home (WFH) has become the default for the majority of us office-goers in non-essential services.
Like the rest of Singapore, the team at Oangle is no stranger to working from home after 2020’s Circuit Breaker measures. In fact, even before last year’s Circuit Breaker in April, Oangle has long been operating on a flexible half-home, half-office scheme.
As a web design agency, Oangle is privileged that our main medium of work is the web, and hence we are very comfortable with utilising the web for all functional activities. In fact, the majority of the softwares we use rely on the cloud or web to function.
Yes, we’ve written on some WFH tips before in the past year, but seeing as most of the population is reentering the WFH phase again, why not add on to the list of WFH lessons we’ve learnt?
1. Manage Your Team Morale
Our first WFH tip as a web design agency is to manage your team morale. There’s really no virtual replacement for what that rowdy lunch-out or that silly pantry gossip does for team morale and dynamics. When things go online, it is easy for everybody in the team to switch to a “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mentality.
Yes, the majority of your team will enjoy the fact that they do not need to wake up early, travel to work, dress up for work, be in the line-of-sight of the manager/boss etc. However, most people do not realise that the random minor office socializing activities matter to them and their productivity as well.
To keep team spirits up, our web design agency holds team bonding activities regularly — even online. The most recent team game that we played was Gartic Phone.
2. Hit That Call Button
It is incredible how much time is wasted when you’re waiting for somebody to reply to a text. This story must sound familiar, whether you’re from a web design agency like us or not:
You are working on something in which you need input from a certain colleague. The matter is not urgent, and in fact, very minor. However, you require his input before you can continue on with your work.
You text to ask him the question. Understandably, he does not reply immediately. As this is not an urgent matter, you move on to another project.
Your colleague might be stuck in another meeting, out for lunch, or too focused on his work to notice your text. By the time he sees it and replies to you, it might be a couple of hours later — even though you’re both “at work”. When he replies to you, you might be unavailable as well, and it might be another hour before you see the reply.
Perhaps you need some clarification from him, and you text him again. The same thing happens, and after a couple of rounds of back and forth, by the time you finally get your answer and can continue on with your work in this project, it is close to the end of the day, and you have to finish your work the next day.
Imagine if you are working on 5 projects at the same time – all requiring you to liaise with different people, and this happens for all 5 of your projects.
Our recommendation: Establish a “call culture” within your team. A mutual understanding is necessary — you don’t want to be calling too early or too late and disturb your colleague on non-critical matters while they are still sleeping or spending time with their family. If your colleague is unavailable, he or she will not pick up. Or if you prefer to give a heads up, text and ask if they are available for a call and let them know when you’re available for a call (in case they only see your text hours later).
Even better, if you have a team you’re working very closely with, have a shared calendar and tell each other if you’re going to be away for any reason like lunch or a meeting.
3. Segregate Work And Play At Home
Our final WFH tip as a web design agency is to segregate your work and play. This is easier said than done, especially for those with limited private space at home. But even if it’s just a chair, a desk or a beanbag, segregating your work and your leisure will be beneficial for your health and productivity.
A) Do Not Work On Your Bed
It is comfortable and that IKEA KLIPSK table is incredibly useful, but working on your bed is a bad idea for so many reasons.
Health-wise, it is bad for your back. Sleep-wise, it decreases your sleep quality — our body recognises our bed, and if you work on your bed regularly, you may find yourself having difficulties falling asleep at night. Work-wise, there’s probably no greater distraction working from home than your bed, so it’s really a bad idea to be working while sitting on that massive distraction itself, even if it’s nice to slump onto your bed when stuck with a project.
Our recommendation: Get up, go to your desk, and stay away from your bed during your working hours.
B) Work Away From Your Bedroom
Perhaps you don’t work on your bed, but in your bedroom, with a mere few steps away from your bed. This may not be possible to some because of the lack of private space at home — especially for those who work at home with other family members or housemates who work or study at home as well. However, if possible, try to work away from your bedroom. The bed is a temptation and a distraction. By extension, your bedroom is a symbol of your place of rest — which is important to still maintain and protect, even when you bring work home.
If it is impossible for you to find another space outside of your own room, then try to assign a space in your bedroom that is purely for work, so that there is a segregation between work and rest or leisure even within that confined space.
Better yet, find a spot at home that you can decorate up a little, put a little couch, and go to it whenever you need a little break from work.
C) Dress Up For Work
This may sound like an impossible task to many. Why bother making up your face, doing up your hair, or ironing your work attire when you may not even have a single video call while working from home?
The recommendation is to do at least something so that there is a ritualistic symbol of starting the work day. It may be as simple as brushing your hair (so that you do not go on your morning video call looking as if you just woke up) or just changing from your pajamas to a more decent looking casual shirt. Whatever is doable and sustainable but still gives you a clear indication of starting work is sufficient. The key is to make sure you are able to stick to it.
Working From Home Can Still Be As Productive
With these tips, hopefully you can make the most of your time working from home. Just because we’re not in the office doesn’t mean our productivity level has to go down. Keep in mind to take care of yourself in every aspect and set clear communication rules with others and boundaries that will help you focus better.
For more information on our WFH tips or our services, feel free to drop us a line! As a web design agency in Singapore, we also want to help out local businesses during this trying period by strengthening their online presence through what we do best.