Work from home life and remote workplace culture. Is this even a thing?
Bet your ass it is! Remote workplace culture (aka Work From Home culture or, as we prefer to call it Work From Home Life—WFHL) is something Pepper excels at. Totally braggin’ it up here, but Pepper’s virtually killin’ it…see what we did there?!
Pepper Has Work From Home Culture Nailed!
Well before The Virus That Shall Not Be Named (any other Harry Potter fans out there?) made working from home cool, Peppers were living the WFH dream! For two years, we’ve been half in the office and half scattered across the globe…okay, not exactly the globe—more like Western Canada—but you get the gist.
And because we’re so spread out, we Peppercorns kinda have no choice but to embrace the work-from-home vibe and give our all to developing the culture of our remote workplace.
That’s right, the Peppercorns were Zooming it up, Slacking, and getting shit done (sans pants) while much of the world was still rollin’ outta bed and rushing into the morning scramble to shit, shower, shave before hitting the door running. And, since we’ve had a while to perfect our remote work game, we’ve learned a shit ton about working from home—both the highs (No! Not THOSE kind of highs, but YES, you can totally smoke weed when you work from home) and the lows.
Firstly, working from home definitely has some perks (Hellooo adorable orange kitten snuggling on my lap while my dog licks his butt behind me and we all listen to Chris Stapleton’s soulful voice booming in the background while I’m writing this), but it can also be HELLA challenging.
Common Issues That Can Pop Up With Work From Home Life:
- Staying productive and tracking productivity
- Communication breakdowns
- Feeling a lack of connection/camaraderie/collaboration
- Losing the pulse on how your team is vibing
- FOMO, feeling lonely & isolated
- Losing motivation & enthusiasm
With so many distractions and ways to get off track when working remotely, it’s even more important to keep your shit together and set yourself up for success. And the spicy Peppers have learned a lot of this through experimenting and revamping based on the results. And, even though we’re still learning and growing, we think we’ve got a lot of this dialled in! But before we get into our list of rad tips for working from home, let’s talk about the humorous side of WFH life!
Funny shit about working remotely:
- Pants are totally optional but highly recommended for meetings. We say this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but if you’re all business up top in a meeting and you get distracted (by, say, one of Pepper’s 42 dogs) and jump up…well, oopsy! Nice orange boxers, dude!
- Workplace communication through GIFs. For reals, there’s nothing more amusing than trying to carry on a conversation in Slack using nothing but GIFs. (Try it. You’re welcome!)
- Bodily sounds. Working from home means nobody hears you burping, farting, chewing your food loudly, peeing with the door open, or taking a mid-day poo poo (without that weird, awkward, office shyness).
Also, Zoom tip for the newbs: The mute option is your new bestie! 😆
- Talking to yourself. Let’s face it, voicing a running commentary of everything you’re doing as the day progresses can get annoying af to your office coworkers.
- Napping. Nobody gives a rat’s ass if you fall asleep at (or under) your desk while working from home.
- Working in the bath. Three words: social media engagement.
- Teach your pets to respect you. Nothing shows your pets how hard you work to put food in their dishes like having them watch you work at home all day. #ungratefulbeasts
- Music & podcasts. Love blasting tunes while you work or listening to your fave podcast? Ya can’t annoy your coworkers by singing along to Weird Al Yankovic in your home office or listening to The Joe Rogan Experience.
- Mid-day quickies. Yah, you heard that right. Afternoon delight, people.
- Day drinking. Cracking a beer at 3 pm on a Friday…or a Tuesday! (No one has to know…or, in our case, your boss will probably join you! ).🍻
Pepper’s Rad Tips for Rocking Work From Home Culture
Discipline & focus are key. We know, it seems so obvious, but it’s extremely easy to get distracted while working from home. And, if you get distracted, you don’t get shit done and—if you’re part of a team who all depend on each other—that can really suck for the rest of your coworkers.
Don’t make things suck for your coworkers.
One of the best ways you can stay on track is by using time management software that can not only keep your team in touch and up-to-speed on projects but can also keep them connected personally.
Pepper uses TimeHero and Bernie and the rest of the TH crew are fucking fantastic peeps who always bend over backwards to accommodate all of our crazy requests for software updates and changes. One of the best things about TimeHero is that it has timers that track our time, so Stace (aka Head Peppercorn) can always see what we’re up to and how things are progressing. If we didn’t use a time and project-tracking system, we’d probably be wasting a lot more time eating candy (cough, cough, Kelsey…), taking adorable dog selfies (ahem, EVERY PEPPER…), and enjoying all the highs of work-from-home life.
Regularly checking in with your team is essential. This can be one of the toughest issues with working remotely—the lack of daily, in-person interaction with our coworkers. Some of our Peppers are in the office all the time, so they have the perk of seeing each other. Just by being around each other, they’re able to feel if a team member is a bit off and needs a little extra encouragement or a heartfelt hug or a high five and a cold beer (yes, Peppers are totally touchy-feely and we also keep the company fridge stocked…duh). The rest of us—the remote work crew—miss out on that close proximity each day, but, amazingly, it never feels like we’re missing out. Why? Because ALL of us pay close attention to each other and all of us make a point of checking in with each other regularly.
We use Slack for daily internal communication and that makes it easy to pop into anyone’s DMs and ask them how things are going. We also have a team Zoomie at least once a month. Most of the time, our Zooms are all about the biz, but—not gonna lie—when one of us is going through a shitstorm, our team Zooms can turn into a full-on pour-our-hearts-out sharing fest that always lifts us up and helps us reset and get our shit together. Not saying EVERYONE needs to have weekly heart-to-hearts with your coworkers—some shit is for your therapist, ya know, and can get a little heavy for your coworkers to carry—but regular check-ins and follow-ups are a must.
Check in Tip: If you notice that a coworker isn’t as active as usual on your internal communication system or if they aren’t participating as often as they usually do, send ‘em an, “Oh haiii, how you doin’?” Sometimes, when someone’s in a bit of a work-from-home funk, all it takes is one person checking in to perk them up and bring them back into the team fold.
Pro Slack Tip: To make sure you get shit done AND you stay connected to your team, designate times each day when the team mutes slack or turns it on. If everybody on the remote team knows when the rest of the team is available for questions and communications, everybody is a lot more productive with their time and a lot more thoughtful with their questions.
Setting working hours and sticking to them is a no-brainer. Even if your hours change each week, it’s important to set them at the beginning and let everybody know what they are. This kind of circles back to being disciplined, but it’s also necessary to be able to find a balance between flexibility and routine. If you have a super chill boss (like we do) who lets you set your own hours and work around your life (kids, dogs, naps, binge watching Yellowstone on Prime), it’s a no-brainer that you have to let your coworkers know when you’re available and then be available during those time slots. On the flip side of that, it’s equally important to make yourself UNavailable in your off-hours. It’s too easy to get in the habit of checking your biz channels after you’ve clocked out for the day and getting sucked back into the vortex of “just one more email”. 😜
Kayleigh—rad Content Creator here at Pepper—says that the flexibility of the work schedule is a huge bonus, especially since most of her work is creative. She can take a break if she’s feeling uninspired, and if she gets in the zone from 7 pm–11 pm, that’s cool too. Kayleigh likes that she can also work a bit on the weekend—if she wants to have shorter workdays during the week—or work a couple long-ass days and leave early Friday.
TIPS FOR BOSSES TO GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR REMOTE EMPLOYEES
Keep the door open. Since your employees are spread out, but you still want them to feel part of the bigger picture, do your best to keep an open door policy, where your workers are welcome to come to you with their ideas for changing up procedures and processes. Ask your team to tell you if they feel like something isn’t working, and ACTUALLY listen. Ask your team for solutions and ideas. If you have an idea or solution, share it. Implement changes that make sense. Don’t be afraid to recognize issues and PIVOT or try new things.
We are all learning about this WFH thing and there’s always room for improvement! It’s really important to make this clear to remote workers so they feel involved and so all perspectives are heard.
Create easy-to-follow processes. Either meet with your peeps to come up with processes that everybody is on board with or come up with them on your own and allow your employees to add their input and suggestions. The more you allow your remote employees to contribute to the processes, the better productivity you’ll see out of them. Why? Because, psychologically, people will put more effort into things that include their own ideas, so being part of the process creation will help your employees feel more invested in their work and more willing to step it up to get shit done.
Don’t be a micro-managey butthole. Yep, you read that right! Since you don’t have eyes on your employees at all times, you may be a bit worried about productivity and efficiency. What are they doing? Are they actually working or are they mucking a bag of all-dressed chips and watching New Girl? First of all, hire people you TRUST and then give your remote employees the opportunity to show you what they can do. Set them up with time management software and processes and then trust that they’ll deliver the goods.
And, if you give them all that and they just aren’t performing, give ‘em a call. Have a face-to-face chat about how things are going, what you’re noticing, and how you’d like them to tweak a few things to improve their delivery and performance. Nothing says, “I care about my people” quite like a real, live connection.
Working From Home is a Learning Curve
Remember, this work from home life is new for A LOT of people—employees and bosses—and not everyone is going to be a whiz at it from the get-go. Cultivating a rad remote workplace culture takes patience and a willingness to find a way to get the best out of ourselves and each other. But, as the Peppers have shown, it’s TOTALLY doable.
Did you know that Pepper is made up of a team of creative peeps who specializes in modern marketing and content creation for creative entrepreneurs around the world? #truestory If you run a creative biz and think you could use some help taking your biz to the next level with some fun, innovative, and fairly hip peeps, hit us up!
Posted by Jo Johnson
Content Lead at Pepper, craft beer lover, human connection craver, and doggo worshipper.