4 ways to relieve the pressure of working from home

Duncan Mortimer
Duncan Mortimer

According to the BBC, about 1.5 million people routinely work from home – but the coronavirus pandemic has made it a much more common experience. At Quin, we’ve been working remotely for the past two weeks, and it’s been a bit of a journey!


Here are some of the things we’re trying as we navigate these uncertain times…


Be deliberate about it


Since COVID-19 has pushed us all into our homes, we’ve been proactive about adapting – finding ways to work effectively together, and protecting the culture that makes Quin special. By acknowledging that some things we take for granted will be more difficult, it’s made it easier to put in the effort to find solutions.


In particular, we’ve made sure to hold dedicated retrospectives to check in, and keep improving how we handle things. We believe these kinds of alignment and connection activities are always important – but they become even more so when meeting face-to-face is impossible.


We’ve found that a combination of zoom and miro boards works really well for running remote workshops, and the free tier of Miro allows unlimited team members, and three “boards” for collaboration.


You can still show love, remotely


One of Quin’s core values is to “show love” – and one of the ways it comes out is in the day-to-day interactions we have as a team: from Chris bringing in delicious homemade doughnuts to share, to making each other coffees, to bonding over a board game.


Unfortunately the doughnuts are out while we’re working from home… but playing games online has helped us to stay connected as a team.


We believe there are lots of additional benefits, such as relieving stress and fostering creativity, but ultimately, it’s also just fun! Our game of choice? Broken Picture-phone.


Get coffees together


You can – virtually! One of the intangible losses that comes with working remotely is that you no longer have incidental conversations with colleagues you might not work with day-to-day. At Quin, we’ve decided to be deliberate about keeping those going.


As a startup, chances are that you’re using Slack. There’s a great plugin called Random Coffees which, every week, randomly pairs people up. We’re using it to link up “isolation buddies”: taking a break? Then ping your buddy and see if they’d like to have a break and a quick zoom call to catch up and chat.


Keep a routine


It’s tempting to go off your usual schedule- when you work from home the sense of time becomes skewed making it easy to distort your original work life balance.


One approach we’ve taken to make it easier to maintain a routine is to start the work day with a quick “hello!” on our company-wide slack channel, and finish with a “ciao!” in the evening. It’s a really simple thing, but it makes it easier to ‘lock in’ to the work routine – and to deliberately leave work behind at the end of the day.


We’ve also found that having two standups each day – a structured one in the morning, and a quick ‘catch up’ after lunch – has helped to keep us all in the loop, and retain a good working rhythm.


What’s working from home been like for you? If you have any tips you’d recommend us to try leave them in the comments below! We’d love to hear them. 

Duncan Mortimer
Duncan Mortimer