How to win at Remote Working

Tips from the CEO of a company which went fully “remote”, nearly 10 years ago.

 With millions of we Brits now working from home, amid the spread of the Coronavirus, we thought it might be helpful to share our top tips on how “The Constant Media “ (TCM) has managed, successfully, to run and grow a remote based development agency for over 10 years. We hope the following helps – somewhat. Certainly: our company has noticed a significant increase in productivity since going fully remote!

Going remote could be one of the best things you do as a business. That said : it could be an absolute anxiety-inducing nightmare. It all depends upon how you approach the start (and the pathway) of each and every day.

What we can say with confidence is that the pros absolutely outweigh the cons. I, as CEO, am personally really proud of our super productive and talented global team. Their energy levels, especially first thing in the morning, are phenomenal; much of that simply comes down to the absence of a long, draining commute.

Effective communication is our not so secret, secret weapon. We’ve tried and tested umpteen different tools, over the years, to find the perfect solutions for our business and they are at the heart of how we work.

Here are our Top 10 ways of surviving the lock down without losing your mind and your mojo in the process.

1.Dress to Impress

It may seem like a perk to login in your loungewear, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Get up, get showered, get dressed. Getting dressed for your day adds a dose of professionalism which will extend to your workday. How you look really does make a difference to how you feel.

Properly prepared, I find that, when I step into my home office, it feels like a professional place of work and I’m off to a productive start.

2.Get Moving like you’re Commuting

Nothing starts the day on a more energetic note than a little exercise. Use the time, which you would normally use for your daily commute, to squeeze in some “me” time. This could involve some light yoga or a full on hard-core boot camp session that streams directly to your TV – or, if you are able to isolate yourself from others – simply take a walk.

3. A Quiet Place & Great Tech

It’s important to have a space that is a dedicated workspace. It doesn’t have to be a full-on office but you will need to have the basics, such as a laptop / desktop and a really good Internet connection.

If you can push the boat out a little, a good headset goes a long way when taking calls from clients and colleagues, as does a good webcam.

I personally use a wireless Jabra Evolve headset which does an incredible job of getting rid of any background noise (including screaming kids).

Your keyboard and mouse matter too, depending upon your setup. If you’re using external displays you won’t want to be stretching across your desk to use your laptop’s keyboard. Not only are the extra devices more versatile, but they can do wonders for your working at home experience.

4.If you Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Before you hit the thick of it, take a few minutes to work out what your priorities are for the day. This sounds like a no-brainer but more often than not, we’re pushed and pulled away from core priorities into lots of distracting directions.

Whilst there is always room for spontaneity, contingency, and the odd emergency, there is also huge satisfaction to be derived from ticking off items from your do list. Continue reading “How to win at Remote Working”

Preparing for GDPR: What does it mean for you?

Take action on your websites and data management now.

Hang on, what is GDPR anyway?

The GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – comes into force in the UK on 25th May 2018.

This new EU regulation replaces the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998.

The GDPR has similarities with the DPA as well as new and additional requirements for the handling and processing of personal data. Anyone with day-to-day responsibility for data protection needs to be aware of it.

Failure to comply with the GDPR carries with it some serious fines so now is the time to start preparing for its introduction.

Everything you need to know can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website. We’ve pulled out some key points to get you thinking about what your business will need to do about its digital properties.

Have you got explicit consent from your subscribers?

Can you prove that everyone on your mailing lists – whether customers, prospects, fans or followers – have given explicit consent to be on those lists and marketed to?

Businesses must be able to prove subscribers have positively opted-in to be marketed to. If they filled in a form with a pre-ticked box or simply failed to respond to a call to action (e.g. if we don’t hear from you we’ll assume ….) that’s not good enough.

Implied consent isn’t good enough for the GDPR.

Are your subscribers humans?

If your sign up and opt-in box or page doesn’t have a reCAPTCHA form or confirm your subscription by email process, you might be marketing to robots or unwittingly spamming people. This is not good.

What about those Cookies?

You’ll need to get a handle on exactly what data your website or app is collecting from users.

An understanding of the fair and lawful basis for acquiring that data is required by the GDPR and again, you’ll need explicit consent to do so.

Make sure you’ve got a decent message about Cookies that your users can opt-in to proactively.

You’re going to have to review your privacy policy.

The GDPR is about transparency and accountability. Your website privacy policy is going to need a review.

Businesses must be clear about why and how they are handling people’s personal data, how they ensure it is adequate (not excessive), accurate and kept up to date.

They must also be explicit about how long they keep personal data and what the removal, archiving or deletion process is.

The GDPR reinforces the rights enshrined in the DPA for individuals to request access to the data an organisation holds on them. Individuals also have the right to rectify inaccurate information and have it erased in certain circumstances.

Have you got procedures in place to allow for deleting personal data wherever it may be stored in your business? You’ll also need a protocol for providing personal data to users who request it.

When your privacy policy is up to date do share it with other staff and offer training where appropriate.

Don’t forget to update it on your website or app too.

What about your digital partners with software integrations on your website?

It’s time to review which third parties have integrations on your website or app. Are they taking steps to be compliant with GDPR? Have you got proper agreements or contracts in place with them about handling personal data?

There are some helpful recommendations about Digital Vendor Risk Management available from the Media Trust.

Do you know who’s responsible for Data Protection in your business?

Could it be you? Find out. It’s not legally required to appoint a Data Protection Officer but the buck stops with someone. Make sure you know who’s responsible.

These are just some of the things you need to be thinking about now to ensure your business and website are GDPR compliant by May 2018.

For more information visit the Information Commissioner’s website. We can help you get compliant. Contact us today.