How to make working remotely possible and enjoyable during the Covid-19 Lockdown

Text: Céline Tykve, Mai 7, 2020

The world seems to have held its breath due to Corona / Covid-19 during the last weeks. With the numbers of new infections and deaths going down (btw, thanks fellow citizens for crushing the curve!), a new normal seems to be just around the corner here in Switzerland. However, home office and remote work will probably be here for quite a bit longer – and it’s here to stay.

Our Livingdocs team members have always been enjoying the advantages of home office and working remotely. Our own Head of Design even lives in Berlin, Germany. Thus, we as a team have a lot of experience when it comes to working together from different places. And not only that: we have built our product Livingdocs with the functionality of working collaboratively from various different places at the core.

Obviously, working exclusively from home has also been a new experience for us and our team. That’s why we have collected the different experiences of our team members during this lockdown. We have asked the following four questions:

When you look through your home office window: What's the most interesting thing you see?

The majority of our team members have a nice view of trees and nature in full bloom during this spring. But some of us have a more spectacular view, such as:

A Christmas tree nursery.

Ralph, Software Engineer

A still surprisingly empty Langstrasse but also a bright blue sky.

Sven, Designer

An office of a group of architects... and in the past few weeks I have seen one guy doing a personal training session in there, a woman giving an hour long yoga session and one of them bringing his kid & dog to work. Never gets boring!

Céline, Head of Sales and Social Media

Our tip: find a place to work from in your home where you actually enjoy being, and a nice (or entertaining) view never hurts!

What do you miss most while working remotely (besides your colleagues, of course)?

Yeah, besides our colleagues, most team members miss the lunches together and the lunch time discussions - and obviously playing pool billiard at the office. Other than that, people also miss the following:

Commuting by bike through the city.

Beni, Senior Software Engineer

The office coffee.

Okan, Software Engineer 

The scene change during a day.

Meinrad, Software Engineer and Project Manager

I miss direct interaction, without screens between our faces. And natural encounters on my way to work and just generally seeing other human beings move around. And of course lunch at Piccolo Giardino.

AJ, Head of Marketing and Communications

I was already a remote worker before the quarantine. What I’m missing most is traveling to Switzerland once a month to meet my colleagues, close friends and family members. Also the change of scenery was always a big plus. It never gets boring that way.

Genc, Head of Design

Our tip: host little social get-togethers via online conferencing tool to allow the team to reconnect over topics that have nothing to do with work!

What's the best video conferencing solution you know?

90% of our team agrees on this one: the one and only Zoom is our prefered tool here. Beni, however, is also a fan of BigBlueButton.

BigBlueButton is an open source solution. As it can be self-hosted it offers possibilities to learn something about video conferencing software which fosters decentralization of technology. BigBlueButton provides several features very useful for remote teaching setup that are useful for workshops as well such as management of shared slideshows, shared whiteboards, or shared notepads and public and private chats.

Our tip: find a tool that everyone likes to use - and that performs well. Nothing is more annoying than video calls with bad quality.

What is the most important/helpful app or website for a remote worker? Why?

Again, one tool was favoured quite clearly: Slack. It’s an easy way to communicate with the team from basically anywhere and after all communication is more important than ever when working remote – but in any event it's a very valuable communication tool for teams.

«The tool doesn't matter, I think 3 things are important.»

  1. «The access to the assets of your company must be easy (our tool is Github

  2. «You need to be able to asynchronously communicate with your team (our tool is Slack)»

  3. «You need to be able to 'synchronously' communicate face to face, because written communication is much harder (our tool is Zoom)» - Ralph, Software Engineer

Github. For software engineers, that keeps us productive. From the code itself, to project management or tracking bugs, everything is possible.

Okan, Software Engineer

Our tip: Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Even more than normally.

Although we as a team are used to working remotely, we are also excited about finding back into a new normal in the coming weeks and months. For the time being, we will keep working together remotely. And it’s truly a blessing that the editorial teams of our customers are able to do the same, while producing the news and articles for our society, from the safety of their homes because Livingdocs enables them to do so. Features such as real-time collaborative editing, comments and track changes, as well as creating to do lists make it not only effective but also enjoyable for an editorial team to work remotely.

So we just can't help but make the best of this situation!