Rossum Learns a Thing or Two While Working From Home

We’d like to take you home with us. That is, we want to bring you into the homes of Rossum employees during lockdown to give you some insights into our remote work best practices. Not everything about remote work has been positive, but we’ve continued to collaborate and reinforce company culture effectively. Read on to see how we’ve been faring these past few months – hopefully you’ll pick up some useful tips that will benefit your remote teams now and in the future.

The Internet is bursting with great advice on remote work best practices. We’ve covered the topic here in our blog; we’ve also hosted helpful webinars like this one:

For a change, we’d like to get a little more personal and give you an idea of how we at Rossum have been persevering during work-from-home orders. We conducted an informal (and anonymous) internal survey and got some interesting and helpful insights into remote work, which we’re about to share with you here.

How Rossum Has Been Coping With Remote Work So Far

Since the abrupt start of the coronavirus lockdown, we’ve managed to keep operations running fairly smoothly. Being a tech company that does much of its work online anyway, it didn’t take long for us to adapt to working remotely. But that’s not to say we didn’t have our challenges.

Working from Home: The Good, the Bad, and the Bingeing 

Most of our survey respondents say their biggest struggle while working remotely is achieving a healthy work/life balance. Thirty percent of them find it difficult to unplug from work; we know this is great for productivity in the short term, but eventually results in diminishing returns. To help solve this issue, we have daily virtual coffee breaks for informal chatting and switching off for a while.

Successful Balancing Acts

Our survey respondents shared some handy tips on harmonizing work and life, including:

  • Start and stop working at the same times every day
  • Avoid doing household chores during working hours
  • Leave your phone at home and take a short walk or do some exercise

I don’t have a problem with it.

Response to “What’s your biggest struggle when working from home and how do you address it?”

Rossum staffers had other great tips like dedicating a space in your home purely to work or working somewhere else, like a cafe or co-working space. Most of our survey respondents work outside their homes to maintain a work/life balance. Of course, the availability of these options depends on several factors, such as the size of your home, the number of people (and animals) you live with, and the lockdown status in your area.

Staying Focused and Getting Sh*t Done

Concentrating on work can be hard enough in an office setting, what with all the distractions we have at our disposal online and in break rooms. At home, maintaining focus sometimes feels like a Herculean task. Kids, partners, and pets can easily pull you out of your groove. Even if you live alone, there’s always a room to clean, a meal to cook, or a nap to take (naps are great, but, like anything great, in moderation).

Don’t work from bed.

Response to “How do you stay focused and productive; what are your personal remote working life hacks?”

Creating and sticking to a routine, and proper planning, is what nearly 60% of our survey respondents say they do to stay focused on their tasks. Other useful tactics include

  • Dress like you’re going to work, not to bed or the couch
  • Take short, frequent breaks using e.g. the Pomodoro technique
  • Turn off Slack (or whatever communication platform your team uses) briefly at regular intervals

What’s Our Motivation When Working From Home?

Job satisfaction is a powerful motivator according most of our respondents. Then there are those of us who are naturally driven. Checking tasks off checklists motivates a few Rossum staffers who use paper and pen or online tools like Todoist.

I like my job; that is the best motivation ever.

Response to “How do you motivate yourself to work while at home?”

Remote Working Offices and Essentials

Now, as promised, we’re going to take you into the homes of Rossum employees. We’re working in a wide range of home offices, from spartan to fully-equipped. When asked to describe our home offices, this is what some of us had to say:

A spacious and cozy 1-room studio with all necessary amenities, zero kids, and a good wooden desk.

A bright room with one table, a monitor, flower, and window. Very minimalistic but I like it.

I have a dedicated desk for work with a dual-monitor setup and I invested in an office chair very early which has helped my posture and focus a lot. Bought a coffee machine last month and haven’t looked back since.

My home office always looks different – it can be the dining table, couch, or regular working desk. I share it with my girlfriend and we change places frequently. 

It’s similar to the factory from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Most of us have office equipment or gadgets that we consider indispensable to our productivity and, in some cases, contentment. We asked Rossum folk “Besides your computer, what is the one piece of remote working equipment or part of your home office that you can’t live without?”. The top three items were a good chair, an external monitor, and airpods.

Other home office essentials include:

  • A good stereo or Bluetooth speaker
  • Brita water jug
  • Coffee maker or French press

We’re Going Nowhere – And That’s the Way We Like It

The overwhelming majority (96%) of respondents said the number one benefit of remote working is not having to commute to and from the office. They’ve also enjoyed being able to make their own lunches and take naps as the former saves them time while the latter improves their focus and productivity. The flexibility to choose when and where they work is another key work-from-home benefit that some Rossum employees value highly.

Here’s What We’re Binge-Watching

When asked what they binge-watched during the lockdown, the answers varied considerably. A few of us got into streaming recent hits like Tiger King and The Last Dance. Others revisited beloved classics like Red Dwarf and M*A*S*H. Then there are those who prefer looking out their windows to staring at screens.

I’m binge-watching people in my courtyard. Now I know how humans live.

Response to “What are you watching during the coronavirus lockdown?”

The Results of Remote Working at Rossum

In terms of the overall impact that working from home has had Rossum employees’ output, the results are about as positive as they are negative. While 42% say that working remotely has improved their concentration and productivity, 38% say they’re working more hours and are having to make up for time lost to parenting duties.

I have more time for deep-dive work, but I also feel an urgency to reply on Slack more frequently.

Response to “Has working remotely impacted your work?”

Nice To See You, To See You Nice

As the Rossum crew gradually returns to the office, we’ve taken a lot of the lessons we’ve learned while working remotely on board and are determining how to leverage each one. This experience has certainly influenced the way we’re communicating, collaborating, and completing our tasks. Of course the number one thing we’re all looking forward to is seeing each other again, as you can see in these responses to the question “What about returning to the office are you looking forward to most?”:

Of course the people.

Team conversations at the office. Having lunch and coffee together.

Live contact with people.

Building team camaraderie.

Above all else, throughout our time spent working remotely, we’ve been able to update Rossum without interruption, and we’ve helped free several businesses of the cost and hassle of manual data entry. Get in touch with us to learn how Rossum can help you streamline document processing and increase operational efficiency while your company works from home and when your team returns to the office.

If you’d like to see just how effective Rossum is, set up your free trial. In just minutes you can use Rossum to capture data from up to 300 documents every month free of charge, with no obligation to buy.

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