No Mind Is An Island: A Guide To Working From Home

BY Team HuckletreeMarch 18, 2020

Over the past days, we’ve heard our community’s concerns about self-isolating and the state of work in the near future.

We hear you – and we’re here for you. Here’s our guide to making working from home work for you:

CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR WORKSPACE

The first step to keeping productive and in a ‘work mode’ mindset is creating your ideal working setup.

  • Define a physical space for your work. Not your bed, not your sofa – those are for downtime (consider them your at-home breakout spaces!). Choose a space with minimal distraction, a comfortable, supportive chair and where possible, plenty of natural light. The sun will still shine – let it in.
  • Create headspace, too. Whether you’re an early bird or prefer starting late and working into the small hours, set your work times and stick to them. The more your working and downtime bleed into each other, the less productive you’ll be in the long run.

CREATE YOUR ROUTINE (AND STICK TO IT)

In the face of uncertainty, structure is your new BFF. Creating a routine will help you to treat working from home like a ‘normal’ working day.

  • Think about your Huckletree routine – what’s the first thing you do when you arrive? Do you always move to the Kitchen to answer emails at 11am? Never miss a meditation session at 2pm on Wednesdays? Replicate those behavioural patterns where possible.
  • Whether it’s Netflix, BBC News alerts, or general procrastination, it’s easy to be distracted from the tasks at hand. Rescue Time is a time management software that tracks your habits and shares info on when you’re most productive – and what’s sending you off-piste.

WELCOME TO CURIOUS

Seize this opportunity to learn and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available in digital form. Now’s the time to really knuckle down and tackle those “maybe-one-day” learning experiences that linger on your to-do list, but you never quite seem to find the time for. Assign yourself 30 minutes to an hour a day purely for learning – and get cracking:

  • Here’s a regularly updated overview of all tech conferences which, given the current circumstances, are now taking place digitally. Big thanks to Daphne Charles, Full Stack Software Engineer at American Express for creating this resource.
  • From workshops to breakfast, bringing people together is part of our daily lives at Huckletree. We wanted to help our members, founders and their teams, to continue to learn, grow and feel connected. For now, we’ve transitioned to a Digital Programme of events, including our first reading challenge with Rebel Book Club. Something you’d like to see? Get in touch.

Key Resources:

– Get your hands on an excellent free media kit template and more from startup PR and design experts, The Wern.

– Find out how to polish your Instagram bio and create content your audience actually wants to see in their feed with Grow & Glow’s freebie resources.

Found and Flourish‘s blog is a treasure trove of practical advice, inspiration and interviews with female entrepreneurs.

– Coding school for women and non-binary folk, 23CodeStreet, are taking their web development foundation course online for the very first time, relaunching their podcast, hosting one hour online workshops every Friday for all genders to virtually attend – and a whole lot more. Plus: they’re looking for mentors and freelancers/professionals looking to volunteer their time. Get involved.

– Creative educators Superhi are making their coding, project management and design courses more widely available, including taking 30% off coding fees and offering support to those currently on boot camps, whose learning has been disrupted.


INSPIRE THY NEIGHBOUR

“Only connect” – with thanks to E.M Forster. As human beings, generally speaking, we need connection. That’s certainly true when working from home ‘normally’, but especially so in this time of flux. We need to keep things as human as possible, even when screens are our main form of communication:

  • When checking in with your team on Hangouts, fight your desire to mute the video. Being able to see our teammates’ body language and facial expressions helps us draw conclusions and gauge responses far more swiftly than verbal cues alone. Not only do video meetups improve productivity, but face-to-face time is also crucial to helping battle loneliness.
  • Get engaged, and stay engaged with your community on Slack. Your Huckletree community Slack will be a key source not only of information but connection with fellow members. Reach out for advice on your current challenges, DM that founder you’ve always wanted to connect with and if all else fails, share the latest video, article or news story that made you smile. Case in point: social distancing isn’t so bad for one lucky penguin

    Key Communities:
    – Self-employed/freelance parent? Manchester community, The Village Creatives, are switching their next IRL meetup for a Zoom catchup – and they have a Slack channel, too.

    Women in Tech is a safe, confidential space for those who identify as a woman in a way that’s meaningful to you – and it’s open to non-programmers, too.

    – One for (mostly) London-based designers, Triangles is a thriving community bringing together UX/UI wizards. Right now, you’ll find W.F.M. resources, online workout recommendations and they’re keeping Covid-19 discussions to a specific channel, giving you space to opt-out if you need some space.

    – Manchester’s own Fuse Directory has just launched a Slack group which brings together the city’s ethnic minority creatives.

    Out In Tech unites the LGBTQ+ tech community, and aside from their supportive Slack, they’re hosting daily Zoom meetups, from wellness sessions to networking and a Ru Paul viewing party.

    Irish Tech Community is a supportive, empowering haven for those working in the Irish tech scene. You’ll find members discussing everything from jobs to beer, to java, to diversity… we’ll let you fully explore their epic list of channels.

    Have a Slack community you’d like to add? We want to hear from you.

BRAVER TOGETHER 

Right now, the temptation for many of us may be to burrow ourselves deep in work as a distraction. However, remember that rest is really important when it comes to protecting our mental and physical health – not just maximising productivity.

  • When checking in with your team, encourage them to be honest and open about how they’re holding up. Sometimes, hearing your peers voice their worries makes you feel far less alone.
  • Freelancing or self-employed? Join Leapers, a Slack created especially to support your mental health. Consider them your team – and delve into their thoughtfully crafted resources for those flying solo in this challenging time.
  • Mental health experts, Sanctus, have created a reassuring guide to managing anxiety in the face of Covid-19.
  • Need to talk? Mental maintenance professionals Self Space are offering sessions over Skype or Zoom for those self-isolating – and are ready to address any fears or anxieties you have concerning the impact of Covid-19 (and beyond)

Covid-19 specific resources for SMEs, startup founders and business leaders:

– Sifted has compiled a country-by-country guideline to governmental measures to support startups affected by Coronavirus.

– Need a Working From Home Policy for your team? SeedLegals have created a Coronavirus Workplace Policy for you, plus advice on how to communicate this to your team.

– Emily Austen, CEO of communications agency, EMERGE, shared a 13-step guide to protecting yourself and your business in the Evening Standard.

– Facebook has launched a $100million in cash grants and ad credits so support up to 30,000 small businesses affected by Covid-19. Apply here.

– Google is rolling out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities, including up to 250 participants in a meeting and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.

To quote Self Space, “The bottom line is that we need each other.”

These are trying and uncertain times, especially for those in the startup community. Whether you’re a Huckletree member or part of the wider ecosystem, we’re here to support you through the next period of uncertainty. 

Braver Together.

AUTHOR

Team Huckletree

www.huckletree.com