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Culture

How to make the best out of remote working

By Victor Pereira
Victor Pereira
Futuristic daydreamer. Infinitely curious, exploring the world with Adidas Campus on my feet.
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How to make the best out of remote working
Remote work (r)evolution 

In recent times, much has been said and written around remote work. Given the current COVID-19 outbreak, millions of people worldwide have left their offices and are now working from home.

Remote work is surely one of the hottest topics right now. Some people say it is here to stay, others even call this time the remote work revolution. But that is something we’ll find out in the upcoming months.

Although remote working is far from being a new trend in modern society, it’s never been considered as a plausible working model on such a large scale - until now. In the past few years, a great number of companies have tried to adopt both distributed and remote work models, in some way as a consequence of the hyper-globalization in modern societies. As more companies become successful with the implementation of these strategies, more and more workers now consider working remotely. 

The State of Remote Work is an annual report that showcases some interesting facts, based on a survey of 2500 remote workers. One of the most curious is the fact that 99% of the respondents of this survey said they would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. This makes clear that working from home is becoming a reality for more and more people through time. 

The same report also highlights other factors we should consider, because remote work is not only bells and whistles. Remote workers highlighted unplugging after work, loneliness and communication as the major struggles they face in their day-to-day. This shows us that productivity and engagement aren’t, in fact, the first aspects we should be concerned about. We should focus on finding strategies to create working environments that allow people to better manage their work-life balance and to feel connected and supported by colleagues, thus improving communication and collaboration. 

It is well known how stressful working conditions impact our health and well-being, which in turn can have a dramatic impact on productivity and engagement.



Our Experience at Farfetch
We’ve always been a globally distributed community.

Farfetch was founded in 2007 with the mission of becoming the global technology platform for luxury fashion, connecting creators, curators and consumers. Today, our platform connects millions of people around the world. 

All the amazing things we’ve accomplished so far are thanks to our global teams. Our community mindset has been driving our ambitions since the very first days. This is written in our name and coded in our cultural DNA, our values and vision to change the industry for good. 

Regardless of being distributed across the globe, in different offices and time zones, our teams have always been connected, sharing and living our values. And this is what really has been fueling the brilliant teamwork, collaboration and creative thinking that empowers us to do what’s never been done. 

Sure, there are differences between distributed teams and full remote work like most of us are experiencing right now, but they can be subtle and sometimes are just a matter of perspective. The success of both remote and distributed work models rely on pretty much the same aspect: a strong set of values and company culture.  

Farfetch has always been deeply committed to the creation of a strong culture that is clearly felt and lived every day by every single Farfetcher. We believe a  positive culture is all about happiness, creating the conditions for people to be authentic and to feel engaged and connected - creating a community mindset that really keeps empowering people to be brilliant and revolutionary.

Given the current crisis, it’s important that everyone feels included and informed of what’s really going on. Everyone should be aware of the challenges but also of the opportunities that may arise as we navigate this moment, as well as be allowed to contribute with creative solutions and ideas 

Our culture and values brought us here, but now more than ever they represent a safe harbour to guide us through these unprecedented times. Dealing with the challenge of supporting our business during this all-of-a-sudden remote operation has been revealing of the power of our Be Human and ‘Todos Juntos’ values. They really show us we are in this together and prove we can do amazing things, even when we are physically apart.

It’s also interesting and inspiring to note how living our values really goes beyond how we work together. Our culture and values extend to the way we work with all of our partners too. This is visible in Farfetch’s efforts to #supportboutiques - helping our boutique partners to better cope with the consequences of this almost global lockdown, always putting health and safety at the centre of everything we do.


How to adapt to remote work

In a context of global emergency and uncertainty like the one we’re currently living in, an overnight transition from working in the office to working from home can be really challenging, to say the least. 

It can put us face to face with complex and demanding challenges, which require a huge collective effort. These stressful times can be really exhausting and taking action to address this should be everyone's priority.

Adapting to remote work can be a real struggle, especially if we consider that not everyone has the same environment at home. Some of us share a home with other people, others can’t have a dedicated workspace with all the ideal working conditions and so on.

With this in mind, there might be no magic trick to better adapt to remote work. Being open to trial and error is a great way to start. Finding our own strategies is key to adapt. 

  • Work on your self-awareness and discipline
Establish a routine that feels natural and effective and replicate as many aspects as possible of your office routine. 

  • It’s important to have a dedicated workspace, but also to shuffle it up
Work from different environments, try your kitchen table or even your sofa - but don’t forget to keep a good posture.

  • Keep work and personal life in balance
Sometimes when working from home it's easy to get lost in time just to complete that last task.

  • Allow yourself to take breaks and give your brain time to rest
Step away from your computer, get some fresh air and stretch your body. 

  • Some apps can help you to manage your time
Take a look at Pomofocus - it’s a time tracker app based on the Pomodoro Technique. 

Besides, companies must also ensure they provide a supportive working environment. One that helps people to not only adapt to remote working but also to thrive while working remotely, taking advantage of the opportunities brought by these new work conditions. 

People Development teams play a pivotal role in this process by providing guidance that can ease adaptation to remote work. And, on the other hand, by giving access to learning resources and providing meaningful and engaging learning experiences to make sure employees have all the tools and skills they need to be successful in remote work.

Communication when working remotely

On remote work, communication becomes a key aspect of our work that can take a big hit on productivity and well-being, if disregarded. 

As we end up relying much more on written communication it is crucial that we all put some time and effort to communicate as clearly and transparently as possible to ensure no doubts remain and no misunderstandings arise. In this article, you'll find some valuable information about clear communication. 

Using video calls as much as possible is the best way to ensure good communication as they give a lot more context to our intentions. 

If we understand that physical contact may only be a small part of interpersonal relationships, we can realize how remote communication, especially in the current context, can open new opportunities for people to gather and to connect in many different ways. Physical distance doesn’t necessarily mean social distance.

As a simple example, when most of us are working from home, every meeting or virtual coffee break ends up being a virtual tour to another context of our colleagues’ lives. By welcoming colleagues to our home office, or even our living rooms, we share a bit more of ourselves than we do in regular work in the office. Think of having a virtual coffee break with your colleagues, or even people you don’t know, to talk about the things you love to do. Think how these new shared experiences can fade some boundaries and have great potential to create empathy and to promote healthy and positive relationships, both personal and professional. They can lead us to work more collaboratively and inspire us to innovative and creative thinking. 

Despite the challenges working remotely may bring us, it definitely doesn’t need to represent a lower-quality experience. 

All it takes is to be empathetic, respectful with others and mindful of their context, considering that not everyone is dealing with this situation in the same way. It’s as easy as being kind, supportive, and authentic, trusting yourself and those around you.

After all, great teamwork is all about strong relationships. This is how Farfetch has been building its success and that’s how it will continue to build our future, whatever challenges 
it may bring. 

When this global crisis is over, we’ll be able to come together and proudly celebrate all the amazing things we’ve done, because we never stopped learning.

References: 

The State of Remote Work, available at https://buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2019 (accessed March 2020)

The History, Evolution and Future of Remote Work, available at https://weworkremotely.com/history-of-remote-work (accessed March 2020)
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