We love the flexibility and freedom of remote working, and we’re keen for all our team members to take full advantage of its benefits to enjoy a happier, healthier, more balanced life.

The Benefits of Remote Working

There are numerous benefits to remote working, including:

  • Freedom: you can work from anywhere
  • No commuting: saving you time, money and stress, and reducing pollution
  • Smaller offices: reduces overheads, pollution, and pressure on prime office space
  • Fewer distractions: leading to increased productivity and less stress
  • More comfort: design your own personalised workspace
  • More diversity: work with clients and colleagues around the world
  • Better work–life balance: you can walk your dog, go for a swim, pick up the kids, do your shopping at a quieter time, etc.
  • Empowerment: flexible working empowers you to take control of your life

To learn more about the benefits of remote working, see Tom’s talk at WordCamp Brighton 2016 on Happiness and the Art of Remote Working.

Successful Remote Working

While remote working is fantastic, it can throw up some challenges such as communication with the team, and keeping track of where work ends and your personal life begins. To help you navigate these challenges and make the most of the benefits offered by remote working, have a read through the following tips, guidelines and rules.

Set up a personal workspace: Having a defined workspace makes it easier to switch between working and not working. If you work from home, having a separate room is ideal, so you can close the door outside of work hours. Of course, not everybody has this luxury, but even setting up a desk in a corner will work. As long as you can walk away from it once you’ve finished work for the day and switch back to relaxation mode.

For more information on setting your workspace up, see the healthy working section.

Communication: One of the most important skills you need for working remotely is good communication. Your teammates can’t see you, so you need to make an extra effort to communicate effectively online. Ensure Mohib knows your usual working hours, so he can pass this information onto anybody who wants to know when you’ll be online or in the office, and embrace collaboration tools such as Slack, Skype and the good ole telephone!

Distractions: Working remotely can be just as distracting as working in the office, with messages and notifications buzzing at you. If you have trouble focusing, try an app like Freedom. If you really need to get your head down to finish something, you can come off Slack temporarily as long as you tell the rest of the team and ensure we have a telephone number for you in an emergency. For more information, read our rules further down this page.

Embrace team time: While we love working remotely, nothing beats proper person-to-person interaction. We usually work from Somerset House at least one day a week and have team days and events as well. Use this time to get to know each other and spend quality time together. We also encourage you to go to workshops and conferences to meet other people in our industry to share good practices and give you a break from working alone.

If you’re one of our overseas team, please make the most of online calls to get to know the rest of the team and, if possible, arrange to meet up with other team members at international events.

Coordination: Coordinate with your team members where possible so you can meet in the office or be online at the same time, especially if you’re working on a project together. Likewise, when travelling to meetings, team days or team events, travel efficiently by coordinating and sharing journeys where possible to minimise the length and number of journeys required.

Trust: Remote working will fall to pieces if you don’t trust each other. This means being open and honest about your work, especially if you need help or assistance with something. (Read our rules for remote working further down this page.)

Safety: The same principles apply at home as in the office. Ensure that your working area is safe with no trailing wires or precariously balanced cups of tea or coffee, don’t sit on that chair with the wonky leg, and don’t use a bright screen in a dark room.

Please also read Wholegrain’s Health & Safety Policy.

Saving Energy

There are several ways you can reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions when working from home. As this is something that’s very important to us, we’ll support you as much as possible.

Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • If possible, work from a position with good natural light.
  • Don’t leave equipment on when you’re not using it (check your power management settings).
  • Use energy efficient equipment (which we always aim to supply you with).
  • Use low energy LED light bulbs in your workspace (just ask and we’ll buy them for you).
  • Switch to a renewable energy supplier such as Ecotricity, Good Energy, Bulb or OVO Greener Energy. We offer an incentive to all permanent team members who switch to renewable energy. See Wholegrain Benefits to find out more.

Remote Working Rules

For remote working to be successful, we ask that you follow these simple rules.

Rules for all team members:

  • Agree your default working hours with a Director and advise Mohib so he can note your file. If not defined, we’ll assume you’re working standard UK working hours.
  • Only deviate from your default hours if it won’t cause disruption to clients or other team members.
  • Inform other team members via Slack when you won’t be available during your default hours.
  • Be online on Slack and reachable by phone during your working hours, unless you are engaged in an offline activity such as a client meeting or have otherwise agreed this and updated the team.
  • Ensure your correct phone number is in your Slack profile.
  • Ensure you’re in a quiet location when making client calls.
  • Ensure you have a stable internet connection while working.
  • Ensure that you’re not uncontactable for periods longer than one hour during your default hours, unless you’re in a meeting or have requested permission to do so.
  • Deliver work on time and be proactive in flagging problems or delays to other team members so that they can help you.
  • Put all meetings, holidays, work events and absences in your Wholegrain Google calendar.
  • Report your working hours honestly and accurately.

Rules specific to semi-remote team members:

  • Attend the office in London whenever required at short notice.
  • On ‘team days’, when the London team meet to collaborate in the office, you should be in the office by 9:30am and stay until 5pm, unless otherwise agreed.
  • Be available to attend client meetings in and around London at short notice unless otherwise agreed for specific dates.