Tips For Successful Remote Work

Ginger is a New Brunswick based digital marketing agency. While the majority of our team works from our office in Fredericton, we have years of experience working with remote team members with rare specialties that are difficult to find locally. At Ginger, we use remote work to connect with world class talent and to connect with clients at home and across Canada. As the world becomes increasingly connected through technology, remote work will be an important part of our collective future.

Ginger’s CEO, Andrew Bedford, has many years of experience with the challenges and triumphs of remote work. If your business is considering taking steps to work remotely, here are some of his tips to help you succeed. 

How do you remain productive while working remotely?

If I were to give you the short answer, it would be that it’s easy when you love the work you do. But really, it’s all about taking the steps to set yourself up for success. This comes down to having a designated workspace with good ergonomic configuration and the necessary technology to do your job. Invest in a comfortable chair, ensure you have strong internet connection, a laptop/tablet and video conferencing software to stay connected. Furthermore, productivity goes all the way down to the basics. Stay hydrated, take mental and physical breaks and fuel your body with healthy foods.

How do you and your team keep up communication and collaboration while working remotely?

Using the right digital tools and platforms is crucial for remote work, email just doesn’t cut it. At Ginger, we use cloud based tools for managing and assigning tasks back and forth amongst our team. As we work in an agency environment, we have billable work. For this task, we use an intuitive cloud based time-tracking platform. This promotes accountability to our clients and keeps our efforts organized. Additionally, our team remains connected through a cloud communication platform which allows for instant messaging and video chats.

Do you find there is a difference in productivity with working remotely versus at the office?

In my experience, remote work can be more productive. If you’re set up properly at home and have the right mindset, ultimately, there should be less distractions. With several people in an office setting who are taking meetings, phone calls, collaborating and socializing, you are bound to be sidetracked. Compared to face-to-face meetings, conversation’s online are typically shorter and to the point. It’s easier to exit out of a video chat or instant message conversation and refocus than it is to remove yourself from potential distractions in an office environment.

Do you and your team work standard office hours when you work remotely?

I think it’s important to give people the flexibility to decide when and how they are most productive, when appropriate. Our creative team can enjoy some flexibility, but our project managers do a good job at aligning their schedules with client needs. 

If someone feels more productive from 10am-7pm, why not accommodate that? We believe in the philosophy of meeting people where they are. We can achieve more when we allow our process to adapt to the talented people on our team, versus forcing our talent to abide by a strict process. However, we understand that business will always require certain things, and we do have to ensure we are keeping disciplined in our approach to work.

Is it hard to “unplug” at the end of the day when working remotely? How do you deal with this?

This is an individual thing, everyone should have the ability to avoid burnout. Being in a position where you feel like you can never stop working is never a good thing. Keep a watchful eye on your team if you notice signs of burnout and set boundaries. Though, if you work in an environment built around trusting your team in achieving organizational goals, it should reflect in your ability to unplug.

Is feeling lonely and/or isolated is common with remote work? How do you and your team avoid this?

Ensure you have the right tools to connect with your team. The communication platform we use allows for easy communication among the team. We are constantly checking in, joking and reassuring each other. Our team culture connects our people through computer screens and we all consider ourselves a part of the same work family, whether we are in the next office, or the next province. 

Furthermore, Ginger leans hard into gratitude. You can build a deep bond with people that can reach across any distance. Strong bonds can be formed naturally by demonstrating kindness, patience, gratitude and vulnerability with each other.

Another important way we help our remote team members ensure success is to ask how they’re doing often, and find out what they might need in order to be happier and more productive. We try our best to really listen to what our team needs, and prioritize giving it to them.

What measures do you take for yourself and your team to keep up with mental and physical health while working remotely?

I believe this relates to building a company culture that encourages healthy living. The role of leaders in the organization is to set an example and try to encourage people to look after their needs. 

How important is company culture with remote work?

Regardless of how and where you work, culture is giving people what they need in order to feel secure and happy. This can come down to physical aspects like ergonomics and technological tools, or more importantly, support, encouragement and trust. Our company culture isn’t solely based on direct performance measures or productivity. In my experience, the amount of trust you have within your team will align with their performance. 

Ginger’s culture is created through honesty, integrity, vulnerability and psychological safety. With this, I believe our team has the confidence to achieve both personal and professional goals and to deliver work they are proud of for our clients. 

What advice do you have for businesses considering remote work?

As a small business in Atlantic Canada, we understand the challenges in finding experienced and talented staff that can cater to your company needs. 5 years ago, Ginger saw an opportunity to make a shift and bring remote, world class talent to our team. It stepped up our game and opened the door to a whole new level of talent and clientele. In fact, we’ve had multiple remote workers relocate to Fredericton to work more closely with our team. With the shift that is occurring in our world today, I would highly recommend considering the benefits of remote work. 

Written by Nina Nicholson