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Working From Home – An Insider Guide by Small Businesses

Part One: Getting Creative

Working from home has been a way of life for years for many SMEs. For others, it’s a whole new ball game. From marketing experts to IT whizz kids to remote nutritionists, we’ve asked a mix of small business owners to spill the beans on what creative activities and habits they use to get through the working week. 

Gemma Renton, owner of marketing agency Vine Street Digital believes in the power of positivity. 

Many people find public praise for a job well done a great motivator. When you’re all working from home, accomplishments are less obvious and praise becomes private. 

Every Friday Gemma and her team have Shout-Out Fridays where each team member highlights the hard work of someone else and gives them a shout out. 

It’s a wonderful feel-good way to end each week and it means people are getting acknowledged for all their hard work. 

Wayne Moore of service provider ct4 likes to take a lighthearted and hairy approach. 

We have encouraged staff to share jokes and memes on Yammer as well as setting up some competitions. We have the Hairy COVID competition for the men in the company to see who can grow the best beard while working from home. We’re already seeing some scary results!

Ct4 have extended their work from home community to include the children of the staff by having a Microsoft Teams channel for them to chat, share pics and videos with each other. Having staff located across several countries it’s an opportunity to keep the kids entertained while connecting with other kids across the world.  

Michelle Daga, telehealth nutritionist, online hypnobirthing practitioner, owns The Real Foodies and suggests to ‘ditch the nine to five model’. 

Instead give staff the flexibility to choose their own hours when working from home so they can work when they’re feeling inspired and creative. Ditch the daily check-in meetings and give your staff the trust they deserve to do their work autonomously. 

Michelle also recommends setting up different workstations in your home in places that you will enjoy working from like outdoors or near a window. Make it comfortable and uncluttered. 

John Schultz has been working remotely for over three years for Lawn.com.au and likes to keep things light-hearted.

“We have recently started doing pub trivia once a week. Each person in the team grabs a beer, jumps onto a Zoom link and we do a game of trivia for 20 minutes.”

Sara Mansour runs migration and legal consultancy firm Legal Co and surrounds herself with motivational reminders. 

“I have collated several motivational quotes and messages and printed and hung them in my home office so I can look at them every day to remind me of my goals and to remind me of who I am.”  

Like many other small business owners, Sara’s concerns over her business and its ability to survive has affected her mental health. 

“I really needed something to reignite my belief in myself and boost my motivation. These quotes have kept me on track”. 

Alex Porter of Search it Local, an SEO strategy agency, travels the world in his team meetings virtually! 

To make sure we all play our part in maintaining productivity we like to have regular meetings across Zoom to provide updates on each project. This ensures all team members are held accountable and productivity doesn’t slip.

Using the video conferencing software of Zoom, the team create virtual backgrounds to things lighthearted, with team members pretending to dial in from all corners of the world.

Your teammate is jumping into a meeting from the Northern Lights? Then you better be ready to tell us what temperature it is, how one catches their first fish through an ice hole and what methods can be used to escape from polar bears.

Have you got a creative tip on how to make working from home more fun and productive? We would love to hear from you by leaving your details in the comment box below.

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