Working from home is the dream for many. But the reality is often quite different. Sure, it’s nice to roll from your bed to the desk in the morning. And swerve the ahem, joy, of your colleague’s newest playlist.
But remote work from home comes with its own set of challenges. When you’re working remotely, it can be hard to keep pace with what your team is up to. And if you’re self-employed, you might worry about how to keep your clients happy without being present in person.
The good news is, the freelance economy is booming right now. There’s never been a better time for entrepreneurs to work from home. If you want to run a small business remotely, the technology is there to do it. You just need to know how to navigate it.
Here are five great ways to streamline your remote working habits for a better connection and flow:
Shut Down Attention Seekers
We all know them. The time-wasters hellbent on draining your energy and focus. When you’re working remotely, there are lots of distractions but by far the worst culprits lurk online.
This is typically because you’ll set yourself up with five different apps to “help” keep you connected with the outside world. Or you might have six different clients, each of whom use their own internal and external platforms to communicate.
What does this mean? It means that you’re in a constant rotation between platforms like Slack, Trello or Asana. Never mind productivity: your entire focus is shot. You can’t possibly give a task your undivided attention when your mind is engaged in a tug-of-war with multiple bleeps and alerts.
The first thing you do when you work remotely? Shut down every single thing that might distract you. Put your phone in another room. Disable Facebook. And crucially, get rid of those apps and tools you thought might help you. The very fact that you have so many means they won’t.
Make Email Chat the Only Chat
So, what do you do in the place of your Microsoft Teams or ToDoist? You bring everything on to email. Not just any email, but Spike (hello there ??).
Spike is the world’s first conversational email app that combines the best of email and instant messaging. You don’t need to waste precious time swapping between chat apps or collaborative tools to get a task done, since everything you need is integrated into one place: your inbox.
Unlike siloed platforms such as Slack, you can communicate with anyone who has an email address on Spike. This makes it perfect for bringing together all communication. That’s true both within your own team, and for external clients and contacts. It’s a framework for focus and flow.
Not only that, but Spike balances instant messaging (synchronous communication) with email (asynchronous communication).
Spike’s real-time awareness means you can see when your message has been read, so you feel reassured. But at the same time, because it’s email, there’s no pressure to respond straight away. You can chat easily when you want to, and focus when you don’t. It’s the best of both worlds.
The instinct to be “always on” is killing the dream for many remote workers. Spike helps to redress the balance. You can be present, but not to the point where you burn out.
Prioritize Your VIPs
Good communication is the golden god of remote working. You have to be able to stay on top of conversations with your team and clients. And prioritizing your VIPs lets you do exactly that.
Spike’s Priority Inbox puts your most important conversations front and center. It filters out the fluff for you, so only your key contacts and chats remain. You can also choose to pin your VIP messages and chats to the top of your inbox. That way, there’s no way of missing them.
Real-time technology helps here, too. When you chat on Spike, you can see when someone has read your message, and when they’re in the process of responding. As a remote worker, this puts your mind at rest. You don’t have to second-guess whether an important client has seen your message – you know they have. You can see it at a glance.
You can preview file attachments within Spike, too, which simply saves time and makes everything run more smoothly. Instead of trying to open and close files to find the right one, you can immediately see the correct version that your client needs (and scan their files instantly in return).
In fact, you can find any info you need at lightning speed using Spike’s super-powered Advanced Search which scans all your emails and files in seconds to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Snooze Like a Pro
No, we don’t mean a daytime nap – though they’re fun too. Instead, you need to get snoozing on your messages.
Rather than just letting emails flow in and pile up, you can use Spike to be proactive about your inbox. Got a message that’s urgent? Pin it to the top of your inbox. Can it wait? Snooze it, and set a reminder for a later point. This means you can deal with messages in your own time. And you don’t risk your brain overflowing from too much info (the freelance struggle is real).
The same goes for scheduling replies. Say you have a client in a different time zone to you. You don’t have to wait up all hours to send your email when they wake up. Simply use Schedule Send to schedule your reply instead.
And rather than rushing to reply to people whenever their emails arrive, you can set time aside during your day that is dedicated to responding to emails – in a process that builds boundaries and adapts to your timetable.
Taking the initiative like this means you reclaim time and prime your work habits for a distraction-free flow. As a remote worker, that’s your biggest asset.
Find Your Tribe
So, you’ve cut out all the distractions. You’ve prioritized your VIPs, snoozed like a pro and are running all your conversations from your inbox. Awesome work! You’ve got everything you need for smooth-to-groove flow and sleek collaboration.
But there’s one extra thing you need to nail the work from home gig. Remote working can be a lonely business. The rise of co-working offices helps. But guess what? So can Spike.
Spike makes communication a breeze. We’re the fun guy in the dorm. With us, you can send doodles, voice notes or GIFs in an instant. You can use Groups to share projects or ideas with your chosen team of anyone from one to one hundred. And you and your group can gain instant access to files and message history, along with real-time replies, all in one spot.
All this happens without the need for added software. We at Spike are a sociable bunch, so anyone with an email can use Groups, even without access to the app. It’s never been easier or more fun to reach out and find meaningful connections with your virtual tribe.
On top of this, Spike sets the stage for distraction-free flow. By having all your messages in one place, with a slick system for prioritization and snoozing, you save time on remote working. Time you can spend getting out in the real world to meet your tribe there, too.