Nowbridge’s newest feature

As you know, we’re always working to improve our remote working software and our latest feature allows you even more control.

Nowbridge is a desktop application which sits unobtrusively in the background and helps you stay part of the team. If you need to check whether your colleague is at their desk, you just click on the icon and Nowbridge comes to the front of the screen. It’s really useful for remote workers because it allows you to see your colleagues throughout the working day, send them chat messages, files and initiate Skype conversations with them. If you’d like to read more about the Nowbridge features and why we created the software, we wrote a blog about it recently.

Another key feature for people who work remotely is the ability to turn it off or press pause throughout the day, which is a useful indicator to your colleagues that you have finished for the day or are on a break.

Anyway, our new feature allows you to keep the application on top of the other windows, you can set the transparency to whatever you prefer so it’s not distracting, but you can quickly see who is there and if they’re free without having to switch windows or pause what you’re doing.

It can be a real time-saver! Plus, you don’t have to activate the feature if you’d prefer to keep it in the background. Like most of the features on Nowbridge, this option can be controlled by pressing the settings button and ticking the box next to ‘Always on top’.

What do you think of our new feature?

Ways to avoid burnout when you work remotely

Although we still firmly believe that working remotely can be great for companies and employees alike, people can have a tendency to work more while doing so.

When your home is your office, it can be hard to separate your work and personal life. Here are some ways to help avoid burnout and keep living the dream…

Maintain a routine

Whatever your working hours, make sure that you keep to the routine as if you were working in an office. This will make it easier to distinguish between work and non-work time and help to prevent you from doing too many hours.

Treat your working day as you would if you didn’t work remotely

It can be easy to slip into bad habits when you work from home, the aforementioned routine will help with this but seemingly little things like getting dressed for work, making a pot of tea or coffee and not just opening your laptop in bed and starting work as soon as you wake up, will make a real difference. Bear in mind that there is no-one to tell you to stop working, you need to decide when to stop.

Create boundaries

Relish the freedom that remote working allows but be proactive about setting boundaries and sticking to your priorities. Find the hours that work for you and make sure that your colleagues are aware of what they are. Working remotely doesn’t mean that you need to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it offers flexibility which you can enjoy if you have a few things in place.

Take breaks

We don’t just mean a lunch break, though that is important too. Throughout the working day in an office, think about how many times you get up from your desk to get a drink or visit a colleague, have a meeting etc. The good thing about working remotely or being at home is that you have the opportunity to make so much more of these breaks. Take a walk, do a spot of yoga, get ahead of the laundry, basically do whatever works for you.

Schedule some human interaction

As much as rowdy colleagues can be off-putting, it is nice to have some human interaction in your day. Whether it’s for a spot of gossip in the tea room or to discuss weekend plans, these small interactions do provide moral boosts throughout the day. This is one of the main contributors to burnout and can be easily avoided with a bit of social interaction. Nowbridge can help with this, you can see who is there and if they’re free, send chat messages and more.

One of the main ways to avoid burnout is to be aware of it. Practice self-care and make sure that you’re able to enjoy the perks of working remotely. Having a healthy work-life balance doesn’t purely come from working remotely, it comes from being in control of your working life and making sure that it works for you.

 

Why companies shouldn’t fear remote working

The subject of remote working is being bounded around offices all over the world at the moment. Although many individuals are embracing the movement, some companies may be understandably a bit apprehensive about the concept.

The main opinion going around the internet at the moment is that if you don’t trust your employees to work remotely, you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place, which is a good point but doesn’t necessarily help.

Many companies consider the move to open-plan offices to have been a substantial step forward for maximizing space while minimizing costs but as we’re sure many of you will agree, this doesn’t really do anything to improve communication between staff and boost the work culture. In fact some people, like the creator of Ruby on Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH), see it it this:

“The open office plan is a tyrant of interruption, a deep loss of privacy, and the death of productivity.”

Strong words yes,  but who hasn’t been frustrated by so and so’s phone going off constantly while they’re away from their desk, or those colleagues who seem to enjoy loudly discussing their lunch plans from 9am onwards.

Perhaps we’ve now gone full circle back to people wanting their own space, but rather than wanting a physical office, they actually want their own space.

With so much work being done on computers anyway and the increasing costs of public transport, gas and electric, office space rental and more, embracing remote working even for some of the week could be a sensible move.

Nowbridge was developed so that people working remotely could still feel connected to the office and feel a part of the team. It’s free software that creates the illusion of being in the same room together. Try it today and let us know what you think!

 

Remote working – is it right for you?

Remote working is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world. Obviously it isn’t a viable option for some industries but for others, it can be more convenient than ever for both the company and the individual.

In order to work remotely, the very least you need is a Wi-Fi-connected laptop and self-discipline. Anyone who has worked from home on the occasion will tell you that it can be tough to stay focused but if you embrace the opportunity to work when you feel productive rather than forcing yourself to stick to the 9-5 from home, you might find it hard to refuse.

In addition to the money-saving benefits (no commute, no expensive lunch to buy, no temptation of the local coffee shops etc.), you can also feel quite smug about reducing your carbon footprint. In fact, did you know that an employee who works just two days a week from home can save up to 390kgs of carbon emissions annually!

It has also been suggested that employees who don’t commute, live healthier, happier lives. Think about it:

  • You’ll get more sleep.
  • You’re less likely to catch the office cold or be exposed to germs
  • You’re more likely to get up from your desk and have a wander around the house (whether you’re hanging your laundry up or not, taking regular breaks from your computer is very important!

Without the usual office interruptions, you might find it a lot easier to actually focus on your work. You might find that you’re more productive in the morning so with your company’s discretion, you could potentially start and finish your day outside of the 9-5 preset.

Of course, remote working isn’t a one-size-fits-all model, but those who have the option to enjoy it and make it work for them can thrive. It means that you can make your work, work for you and relish a better work/life balance – which ultimately makes you happy, which means should make your company happy too.

To sum up:

  1. It’s easy
  2. It saves money
  3. It helps save the planet
  4. It can increase productivity and focussave

Do you work remotely? If not, are you tempted?