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Gorrion’s take on remote work: thoughts, tips and tools

How it started for all of us

What we’ve learned

Our solutions

Tools

What’s next?

As we’re living in a digital age, remote working was something that we were aware of. We even practised it from time to time or all the way, such as in the case of Michał. And then, the pandemic hit. It all began quickly and unexpectedly, and we didn’t think that it would last so long. But now, here we are. Almost a few months later, most of us is still working from home.

How we adapted to the change, and did it influence our effectiveness? What tools helped us in transition? Is remote working the future? Today we’re going to answer all the above questions, give you some tips and solutions to make the process more efficient and reflect upon the subject.

How it started for all of us

Let’s come back to March when we had to lock ourselves at our houses and work from there. From that point on, we had to adjust to a new reality. For some, it was natural as others needed more time. One way or another, this transition touched all of us.

We were aware that teamwork is much better when we trust and know each other. We had to find a way to maintain the feeling of community in cyberspace so that our values and goals stay the same. And we did it. How? Let’s see.

What we’ve learned

For this section, I asked few Gorrions about their opinion on the work-from-home situation. Was the transition easy? What changed? We talked about the challenges of telecommuting but also about the opportunities it gives. Some of them told me about their routine. These bits and pieces are the results of the conversations.

Monika, Head of Marketing: For me, it wasn’t a hard transition. I always found it easier to work at home, where I can focus and be in total control of the environment. Also, telecommuting means that you can work from anywhere in the world, which I also appreciate. Even before it all started, I liked to stay at home once a week or better, travel somewhere and work from there. It’s refreshing. But I miss seeing co-workers and this ease of exchanging ideas.

Ola, Software Developer: The biggest challenge? Lack of equipment. Some of us had to go back to the office to take their stuff to the houses. Also, the communication barrier posed a problem for all of us. Because of that, the conference calls are much longer. But as for efficiency, I think that’s the same as in the office, maybe better. I do everything I have to do in the peace of my house. That’s also an advantage for working from home – no distractions. Cause sometimes, in the open space can be quite loud.

Patryk, Frontend Developer: In the beginning, it was hard to focus. It turned out that I had to create a workplace to be more efficient. And now, I have my routine, and I believe that I’m more productive than ever. I also started to move more. Seriously. The remote work made me do it. I’m lucky because I have a forest near my house, so when I need a break, I go for a walk. A little exercise and fresh air do wonders. I also like the orderly manner of doing things. I know when I have a call with somebody when I have to be available. It’s great. And although I miss my co-workers and the atmosphere of the office, I like to think that we can work this way.

Dawid, Product Owner: I’ve learned over the years that I have to separate work and free time. This work-life balance keeps me sane and motivated to work. At home, I have a dedicated space for my office and a computer on which I only keep work-related issues. I also like to have a routine, so my schedule is repetitive and consistent. Every day I wake up at the same time, and I do the 1,5-hour work-blocks. After completing each of them, I stand up from my desk, move around and then I do some less-engaging tasks.

This routine keeps me self-disciplined and differentiating work from my free time. The concept of working from home seems easy, but in fact, you can get lost and fall into the trap of working all the time. That’s why I have my calendar, where I plan a week ahead of meetings and tasks to do. Thanks to this, I’m not stressed that I’m forgetting about something. Also, I have a fitness band that reminds me to get up from the computer once in a while.

Bartek, UX/UI Designer: What are the pros of working from home? Well, for one, saving money and time on daily commuting. Plus, I can focus on work without any distractions. When I’m at the office, I have to put headphones on to get into my ‘work mode’, but sometimes I don’t feel like it. At home, it’s quiet. As for productivity, I still stick to 8 hours of work. No more, no less. When it comes to cons, I’d say communication and internet speed, especially when it comes to video calls. Sharing the screen during video calls usually diminishes its quality, so it’s much harder to see the details.

Mariusz, Partnerships Manager: My routine hasn’t changed much. Instead of having video calls with clients in the office, I have them at home. Sure, I miss travelling to other countries and doing business face-to-face, but what can you do? As hard as it can be, we always make sure to make the most of the situation – we do video calls to give the client opportunity to meet our team and stay in constant contact via emails. 

One of the advantages of remote work are calls with clients. Or rather, their organization. At the office, it’s sometimes hard to find a quiet place for this kind of activity. While at home, I lock myself in a room, and I can peacefully talk to the clients. I also like that when there’s a need, I can ask one of the developers to join the meeting. Thanks to this, we can provide the future client with even more clarity about his project. During my travels, this arrangement is out of the question.

Our solutions

How we maintained our team spirit and strengthened our relations? Here’s our secret – coming up with activities and engaging as many people as possible. A big part of these practices we’re already a part of our company culture, but some of them were created solely for remote working.

Slack channels

Coffee break channel, where once a day we call each other and talk about everything, just like we do it at the office. Gaming channel was created to compensate for PlayStation games that we held at Gorrion. Such after-work activities also strengthened our teamwork. There’s also a meme channel, and a sports one that I think need no explanations. 

Monthly company’s recaps

They also had to be transformed into one big company call during which we make a monthly summary of projects, sports competition and essential issues. Also, we fill out a form in topics that we’d like to discuss during the meeting so that we have a plan to follow. But, of course, there’s always time for some stories we want to share with others.

Sports competition

At one point, one of our colleagues proposed it. Since we can’t go to play football or squash like we always do, what do we exercise on our own and compete? That’s how another tradition was born. We even post about it on our fanpage, so go check that out.

Recognizing the work

We made sure (and still do) that everyone is recognized for a good job. Whether it was done in private conversation or during a meeting, knowing that your work is appreciated keeps us motivated and enhance the feeling of belonging.

Tools

Here is everything we use or started using during remote working. The tools vary from collaboration through communication to purely creative ones. Most of them I’ve already described in previous articles.

What’s next?

I hope that you enjoyed this article and maybe we gave you some interesting insights into remote working. If there’s one thing that this year has taught us is that everything can change in the blink of an eye. However, we will always work towards bringing the best value to our clients, no matter where we’re in the world. Whether we do it on-site, telecommuting or perform hybrid work, we always try to be transparent with all our actions, thus preserving the company culture.

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