As the Coronavirus pandemic situation continues to blow up, it may seem as though the world is ending. Fortunately, we are far from an apocalyptic situation, regardless of how the mass media may portray it. There has even been some good news as of late, as China closes its last virus hospital and the cases in Italy seem to be gradually slowing down. Likewise, almost 83,000 people have successfully recovered worldwide, including a 103-year-old Chinese grandmother and a newborn infant in the United Kingdom.
Regardless of the social media and mass media hysteria, things seem to be gradually looking up. The world has come together to fight off the pandemic, bringing unity to the globe and restoring important values that become lost in the rush of everyday life. People are learning to thrive in a time of social distancing, staying at home and bettering themselves through books, films, free online courses and more.
Before you click off, we are not going to bombard you with anymore news about the current situation. On the contrary, Ucraft is here to help make your life a little bit easier during a time of social distancing, which can actually be utilized to your advantage. Let’s dive in!
Tips for Working Remotely
Ucraft, alongside many other offices, has shifted to a remote working schedule, which means all of our employees are currently working from home. Due to the current situation, many companies have either switched to this schedule or will be doing so in the nearby future. For those of you who have not engaged in remote or freelance work prior to this, we understand that this may be a significant change. This is why we would like to provide you with some helpful tips on how to be productive in a home environment, both for you and your organization. But before that, make sure to check out our article "How to Make Money Online During Self-Isolation".
Necessary Tools for Remote Work
Thankfully, we live in a day and age that is equipped for shifts to remote work. The Ucraft team has relied on a helpful set of tools for productive work and careful monitoring for quite some time now, which has allowed us to make this shift without any major problems.
If your organization has not been using such tools prior to this situation, now is the time to become familiar with them and incorporate them into your remote working schedule.
- Slack: an excellent communication tool which allows colleges to remain in contact with one another. You can open individual chats, create channels and even organize group calls.
- Geekbot: a useful monitoring tool, and somewhat of a virtual scrum master. Geekbot can be used as an addition to slack, and will be integrated as a separate chat. The bot sends you a set of custom questions and then posts your answers in the channel of your (or your management’s) choice. That way, employees can complete their daily standups online, as well as keep track of what others are doing..
- Jira: a task management and product tracking tool – great for software companies. It allows you to open tasks, create tickets, follow workflow, track bugs and much more.
- Google Docs: a browser-based document, spreadsheet, presentation and form tool. We suppose you are familiar with Google Docs, but now is the time to make the most of it. Edit documents, leave comments and corrections and more.
- Zoom: a great tool for organizing online video conferences, screen-sharing and remote meetings. Can be used as somewhat of an alternative to Slack, or alongside it.
- Time Doctor: an excellent time tracking software that guarantees increased productivity when employees are working from home. See who's doing what, which sites are employees visiting, how long they spend working on specific tasks and so on. Time Doctor also provides a variety of useful features that can be customized for each employee.
How to be Productive at Home
We understand that such major changes can be overwhelming, but with the right tools and instructions, a remote schedule will soon feel very normal, and possibly even more productive than an on-site schedule. After all, there are less distractions, less noise and you are in the comfort of your own home. Use this time to catch up on any tasks that might have fallen behind, especially since you no longer have to waste time on travel. The current situation will pass, and you will also have completed all of your tasks. But before that, we would like to give you some tips on optimizing your productivity whilst working remotely.
Post your daily standups using Geekbot, keep in contact with other employees using Slack, monitor tasks via Jira and using Google Docs/Sheets to leave and receive feedback. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. Ask questions when necessary, just like you would do in the office, and organize calls if anything remains unclear. Avoid irresponsible actions like missing messages from your colleges or closing Slack – your working hours are still your working hours.
Organize a clear plan everyday. Use tools like Geekbot and Jira to stay on top of your tasks and complete everything on time. Avoid falling into a messy work schedule, where you are unsure of what you are doing. Use this time to catch up on any tasks that have been left behind. Even though you are at home, maintain the same sleeping pattern to avoid getting off track and missing important announcements.
Staying on Track
Working remotely may knock you off track for a second, but it doesn’t mean you have to lower your productivity. Make sure you are staying on top of your schedule by dividing your workday up into bursts. Remember how you used to work at the office – an hour or two at the computer, then a coffee break for five or ten minutes. You can follow the same schedule at home with ease. Avoid distractions during working hours: log out of social media, close any tabs with entertainment on them (until it’s time for your break) and set up a space somewhere quiet.
Moving Your Business Online
Whether you are running a small business or a physical retail store, now is the time to move your business online. Although most countries are already practicing social distancing by closing down establishments, or will be doing so in the near future, there is no need to slow down your business operations or lose your customer base - just move it all online.
At Ucraft, we offer a variety of options - from business websites, to portfolios, to eCommerce. Choose from a selection of pre-designed templates, and create a professional website with our drag-and-drop interface in just a couple of hours.
Our best offers for this time:
Our support team is always available to answer any questions via chat, so make the most of your time at home and create something great.
The Mental Aspect
Most of you are probably anxious to some degree, and might be struggling to adapt to such huge changes. It cannot be denied that the current situation is far from optimal, but it is also necessary to remember that everything is temporary. As long as we follow all of the precautions and listen to the advice of officials who know what they are talking about (instead of our friends on Facebook), everything will blow over sooner or later.
Use this time wisely. If you are working from home, you are currently being gifted with increased productivity: less distractions = a higher rate of output. As we mentioned above, use this time to catch up on any overdue tasks you may have. Put on your favorite music, gather the tools we listed and start.
Avoid going on social media, or falling into the hysteria trap. This is nothing new – pandemics have happened before. If you need to calm your anxiety, listen to some meditation music during both working hours and free time, and even consider doing a bit of yoga. Video sharing websites such as YouTube are perfect for this; there are dozens of meditation channels, self-help videos and uplifting content - all just one search away.
Staying at home has many benefits. You can take advantage of this opportunity by engaging in hobbies such as reading, watching good films, taking online courses, working out, meditating and spending time with family.
If you are still wondering how to stay healthy and productive, remember this: Panic will not do you any good, and will only weaken your immune system. So try to find the positive in social distancing, and then come back into society as a rested, better version of you.
Let’s support each other!