A thousand days at home: Insights from a practiced remote worker

Brent Smith, Brand Strategies Director

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My remote working experiment began three years ago in a 680 sq ft Vancouver condo that I was sharing with my soon-to-be wife, who also worked from home. That March of 2017 happened to be Vancouver’s highest rainfall in recorded history, so with consistently “bucketing” rain pouring down, limited light due to dark skies, and two professionals going full-blast on their daily work responsibilities, I quickly became aware of both sides of the work-at-home coin.

 

Lots of good things came from working at home:

  • Top-notch and accessible snacks
  • Daily showering was now optional and became a reward for completing tasks
  • Writing to-do lists on the couch felt like I was getting a hug while I worked
  • Zero time invested in commuting
  • Working in an incredibly peaceful environment definitely reduced my anxiety and did my heart good

 

On the flip side, I began to truly appreciate the good I’d left behind in the office environment:

  • The juice and buzz of our office is invigorating
  • Friendly exchanges and jokes at the coffee machine
  • Ability to turn to someone who can help you instantly if you’re stuck
  • Hearing the banter of coworkers giving each other a hard time and laughing
  • The ability to have a break from my own thoughts and get lost in the interests and needs of others

 

I’ll stick to a few personal observations that may be of relevance, should you find yourself working in your pajamas in the weeks ahead.

 

It is a skill

When I first began, a few work-from-home veterans told me “you’ll get used to it.” Which is another way of saying “give yourself some time to figure it out,” and “it is a discipline to learn that you don’t have unless you’ve done it.” The good parts are obvious. The hard ones are not. Be patient.

 

Set meeting times 

It is healthy to have at least one discussion time set with others each day because it creates some structure, provides some motivation, and keeps you from feeling too isolated. Set up more if you can, and I say set up because it needs to be in someone else’s calendar or it won’t happen.

 

Keep a consistent schedule

It is helpful to be rigorous about your start time each day, otherwise you’ll feel guilty (which helps no one) and you won’t get the stuff done you need to get done, which causes anxiety (which also helps no one). Stop time is also important; don’t let it drift into the evening. You need a break.

 

Remove distractions

Sure, one of the liberties of working from home is playing the music you like out loud and making a pancake if you need one. But giving yourself project component completion goals for specific times throughout each day is important to remaining on task. The TV on likely won’t help you. Speaking to you mom three times a day or walking your cat four times won’t help you out. And loved ones in your life need to know you’re no more available than you would be at the office.

 

Do the dishes 

It is valuable to get up every 90 minutes at minimum and move around. Do a quick physical task, even as simple as folding some laundry or taking out the garbage. It helps you accomplish something you normally wouldn’t enjoy and gives your body and brain a break.

 

Maximize your lunch break

Do some yoga, take a brief run, meet your dad for a quick coffee. You’ll find there are some break options available while working from home that you couldn’t do at the office that will enrich your day and give your brain a break. The trick is to restrict those activities to an hour or it extends your work day too much. Try and focus on things that are replenishing. Ideally out of the house!

 

Social media: Friend and foe

Feeling isolated and cut off from people can sneak up on you, so your favourite social platform can give you a valuable connection with others during the day. Use it as a reward when you complete something. Careful, though, as it can quickly get away from you. Turn off vibrating and audio notifications and recognize that increasing your Instagram followers is not generally the key to vocational prosperity.

 

Be available to colleagues

At work we have the advantage of often being able to get in front of people whenever we want. Don’t obsess about checking email every five minutes, but try to check them every half-hour. Hangouts/Microsoft Teams/Slack will really become your friend, since apps like these provide a real-time sense of working with others and help others keep moving on their stuff when you’re not in the same space.

 

What’s better? 

People ask me all the time if I prefer remote work vs. being part of an in-office team. Truth is that both have their significant advantages and both have their difficult parts. You’ll likely come to miss and appreciate some of the people you work with. You’ll likely come to realize the power of focus and be amazed at how much you can get done without distractions.

Re-investing your commute time into something that actually gives you joy, sporting a sombrero while you work, wearing yesterday’s pants, petting your cat during a conference call, and experimenting with no deodorant are all pleasures that await you.

2019 Cannes Lions

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The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity celebrates the very best in marketing and advertising from all over the globe. As we watched winners and runners-up for the highest honours in the advertising industry on the big screen at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, we felt enormous pride to be a part of such a dynamic industry that makes real connections with people through masterful storytelling.

We love to share our favourites every year in the hopes that they inspire others to create great marketing for their clients or businesses.

 

Mercedes Benz 2019

The Journey That Changed Everything | Bertha Benz

Vikings

Vikings - Great Shows Stay With You | Prime Video

Wade

This Bud's For 3 | feat. Dwyane Wade

jackryan

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan - Great Shows Stay With You | Prime Video

Perseverance

The Truth Is Worth It: Perseverance | The New York Times

lacta5star

SKI | LACTA 5STAR APRESENTA

Gaydr

Screen The Blood, Not The Sexuality | The Gaydr

Spark Generation Voice is here

Generation Voice is here | Spark

A WORLD WITHOUT BORDERS

A World Without Borders

Generation Lockdown - March For Our Lives

Generation Lockdown - March For Our Lives

Rang-tan: the story of dirty palm oil

Rang-tan: the story of dirty palm oil

Winter is coming

"Winter is coming"

Flossa - Nordea Sverige

Flossa - Nordea Sverige

John Lewis | Bohemian Rhapsody

John Lewis | Bohemian Rhapsody

 

Spock is Not Your Customer

LP header Tech Dec v1

More Gold Nugget Advice from Tech Marketers in Vegas

By Brent Smith, Brand Developer & Marketing Strategist

Earlier this year, we shared our list of six key takeaways from the seminars we attended at CES 2018. As we are getting closer to CES 2019, we are reflecting on some of the gems that really rang our bell from the event last year. In our first article we expanded on the first half of the list and we’ll expand on the second half of the list:

Read more: Spock is Not Your Customer

2018 Cannes Lions

2018 Cannes Lions - Feel The Creative Pride

 

Celebrating brilliance in marketing and communications, the Cannes Lions are the most prestigious awards in the advertising industry. On November 21, 6P joined local industry members for a special sneak preview of the 2018 winners.

Every year we share our favourites, as we hope to inspire others with what strong marketing can do. These commercials prove how tapping into consumers’ emotions can make an unforgettable impression.

Seeing winners from all over the world made us proud to be part of an industry that can evoke such strong feelings through creativity and imagination. We hope you enjoy our top picks from among the winners.

Read more: 2018 Cannes Lions

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