How Riley transitioned into a positive and productive virtual team

May 14th,2020

It’s likely a morning commute in as little as 30 seconds sounds appealing to most. However, it’s not until we are forced into it that we begin to see some of the less alluring aspects of working remotely. Like many businesses, the Riley team has been working from home full-time for the last 8 weeks.

We are bringing you the top practices and technologies that have allowed our team to stay positive, productive and ensure we look after ourselves, and each other during this unfamiliar time.

Communication is key

Riley Recommends: Virbela

Working from home brings less opportunity for interactions with the people around us. Those unplanned conversations with colleagues over coffee and games of table tennis, that played an important role in breaking up our workday, have been lost. Reduced interaction and knowledge sharing are some of the main hurdles to be faced when we aren’t in the office. It makes a significant difference when we can interact with one another personally. So how do we create a sense of presence, virtually?

While the immediacy of face-to-face communications may be gone for now, we at Riley we have done pretty well to create a sense of presence throughout the workday. As you may have seen in our previous blogs, we implemented a virtual reality office. Our VR office has assisted in preserving our culture, relationships and the casual interactions that characterise our teams, by enabling us to interact and work together as if we are in the same room.

In addition to our VR office, we ensure tasks are coordinated and social and professional isolation is reduced through daily standups, instant messaging and, regular calling and screen sharing.

Taking the time to not talk about work

Riley Recommends: Zoom

Can you think of any better way to wrap up the work week, than a dedicated Happy Hour? Remote work certainly has not put a pin in our love for a drink (or five) after work on a Friday, the only difference is that we now use Zoom. These days, we entertain ourselves with virtual trivia nights, house and home office tours and utilising the background features to pay tribute to our favourite pubs (and potentially block out naughty kids as a bonus).

In addition to Happy Hour, we have a Slack channel dedicated to ‘Rona Recommendations’ ensuring we all catch the new must-watch TV shows, restaurants open for delivery, and the occasional funny (and sometimes questionable) videos and photos.

Creating morning routines, and knowing when to switch off

Riley Recommends: Nike Training and Calm

It is known that remote workers can often see themselves working longer hours. When you are unable to leave the day’s worries behind at the office it becomes difficult to ‘switch off ‘ your work thoughts. Getting outside at 5.30 pm for some fresh air, or utilising one of the many meditation and workout apps available can greatly assist in minimising stress and coping with the difficulty of separating your personal and work life.

One of Riley’s Tech Leads, James, puts the rest of us to shame by completing a morning run before work to help transition into his workday. Waking up at the same time as you normally would and using your ‘commuting hours’ to do something that has a positive effect on your wellbeing, has a direct impact on your productivity and mental health. If like me, and the chances of completing a 5k run before 8 am are quite slim, you could start small by simply heading out for a brisk walk or listening to some music to wake you up and elevate your mood.

Dive into cooking

Riley recommends: NYT Cooking

Having the time and resources available to make a healthy lunch is an upside to being home each day. It’s often easy to eat out for lunch multiple times a week whilst in the regular land of 9-5, especially when the options surrounding our offices are seemingly endless. Opting for a healthy homemade alternative to some of your favourite dishes can work wonders on both your wallet and your health.

Riley’s Customer & Partner Engagement Manager, Stephanie, is a whiz in the kitchen. She spends a lot of her spare time these days producing insta-worthy dishes inspired by sources such as ‘Pinch of Yum’ and ‘NYT Cooking’. We could always rely on Stephanie to supply us with something decadent to get us through the afternoon!

Staying positive and productive

These are a few of our favourite practices and technologies that are allowing the team at Riley to stay happy and healthy with ease during this quarantine, with many of our newly discovered habits to be sustained in the future.

With many businesses now adapting to allow employees to have the option to work from home permanently, this forced ‘practice run’ has proved this to be entirely possible.