The Ultimate Guide to Going Remote

By Taylor Preston

Working from home. Those of us who are used to working in the office everyday, only dream about being able to get out of bed in a few short steps and ‘be at work.’ Well, now almost every company world-wide has issued a work from home policy for the foreseeable future. 

Exciting? Daunting?

Remote time has been a part of the Figmints culture since our inception. It’s likely you’ll see each employee take one day per week to work from home and we all work remotely the first Wednesday of each month. We love it. It’s a great way to break up the week, not have to sit in traffic, stay in lounge clothes while petting our dog all day, and get those pesky household chores done in between meetings. But working remotely for an extended period of time? Well, that’s new to us too. 

So, we’re here with some tips to stay productive, collaborative, sane, and even light hearted…as you’re stuck working in your house and then social distancing yourself after the work day ends.

Productivity tips for working from home

Like we said, we’ve been working remote for years. Here are some things we do as a team to help us throughout the work day…at home. 

  1. Work/Home Balance
    • Create separation from work/home life by choosing a room you don’t do your daily activities in (e.g. kitchen, bedroom, living room). Not possible? Create a dedicated workstation each morning to signify the start of your work day and clean everything up in the afternoon to signify the end of your work day.
  2. Establish a Routine
    • Like any weekday morning, take a shower and change your clothes first thing. Maybe even jumpstart your metabolism and go for a walk outside. When you come in, approach your workstation like you would if you were in the office. When you’re finished, close your computer and change your clothes to distinguish it’s time to relax.
  3. Take breaks
    • In the office there’s a steady stream of coworkers coming up to you asking for help, or wanting to recap last night’s game. Now that you’re home, this doesn’t happen. But those breaks are important for productivity. You need to let your brain stop thinking about work to get back to efficient, clear thinking. Load your laundry, make a snack, help your daughter with her math homework, whatever it is, take that needed break. 
  4. Move
    • It’s easy to get yourself into a contorted position on the couch, or feel like you’re becoming part of the office chair when you’re not getting up to go to meetings, or the rest of the office is reminding you to go for a walk after lunch. Movement and vitamin D not only will boost your morale, but they boost your immune system as well. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, play fetch with your dog, push your kid on the swing set, get in a round of Wii tennis, or dance your heart out to your favorite song. Whatever it is, get up and/or out and move for at least 15 minutes during the work day.
  5. Work hours still apply
    • It’s easy to get sucked into working right when you wake up and through the night, we get it, you’re in the same place where you’ve been so productive all day and there’s So. Much. To. Do. Instead of hopping right into work, keep your routine the same as going into the office, but replace your commute time with a jog around the neighborhood, an online yoga class, 30 minutes of reading or journaling, etc., and then jump into your work day.
  6. These are the main tools we use throughout the day to stay connected and productive
    • Slack: The gold standard for rapid messaging within your organization.
    • UberConference and Zoom: Both have really great free versions so you and your team can still connect face to face. 
    • Calendly: Automatically sync with your calendar, and give people the option to find a time to meet with you, inside or outside your organization.
    • Google Docs: Being able to work on files and docs together in real time is a thing of magic, like how we edited this blog post! 
    • Trello: Super simple prioritization and task tracking. Use it however you want.
    • Hubstaff: We like to use this tool for time tracking for our contractors; it includes great features, and robust reporting.

How we’re keeping our collaborative and fun company culture alive

We have a very strong and fun company culture, which one of the reasons why we love going to work every day. We’re not letting an extended remote period effect our culture. Here’s how:

  1. Video ON during conference calls now. Seeing each other’s faces makes a huge difference. So much so, that this conference call bingo might even be obsolete. But it still could be a fun game to play with your work BFF.
  2. Maintaining our group meetings that were just for fun and still holding them virtually. Every Friday we cut work at 4:30p and gather around to look through cool and innovative things on the internet. We’re not going to let being remote kill our vibe. 
  3. Checking in more often. Usually we meet every Monday morning to check in on the priorities for the week. We’re now making a point to do this on Wednesday and/or Friday as well for 10-15 minutes to make sure everyone is doing well and on track. And it’s great to see each other’s virtual faces.
  4. We’re not letting our company perks go away. At Figmints, the company buys the employees lunch on some Fridays. During this elongated remote time, we’re handing out GrubHub credits so employees can choose their lunch spot, then we’re jumping on a conference call so we can still all eat together. 
  5. We have an open conference call at all times, so anyone can jump in and out. We work in an open office environment, so we have to be able to swivel our chairs once in a while to talk about the movie we saw last night. We’re using the free version of Zoom
  6. Our daily team walks are still happening. As a team, our “step squad” assembles after eating lunch together. We’re still continuing, but now we’re facetime-ing, taking photos of the budding flowers, or showing how far we’ve walked that day.
  7. We’re an eclectic team. All of us have many different hobbies and interests outside of our jobs and we love to share tid bits with our co-workers when we’re in the office. So, we’re encouraging each other to do many of the listed activities below by creating a daily prompt, inspiration, and/or challenge. These things typically come up organically as we’re making coffee in the morning, settling in, and around the lunch table. Now, we wanted to make a specific spot (for us a dedicated #RemoteLyfe Slack channel) for that culture to stay alive.
    • Recipe Exchange – Post your favorite recipes, share a photo of something you’ve made this week, and if you’re feeling crafty, make a fun how-to video to share!
    • Spotify playlist – Play and listen to music in sync with the team.
    • March Madness Movie bracket for Disney/Pixar movies – Share yours with the team.
    • Move & Meditate – Encourage everyone to try an online movement or meditation streaming service (there are so many local and national studios offering their services for free right now). Make a spot where everyone can share what they did and others can use them for future workouts or daily meditations.
    • 5 Things I’m Grateful for Today – Make a list. Keep it to yourself or share it with a loved one and/or co-worker if you so wish.
    • Baby Photos – Dig out your best and worst baby photo and share for a laugh. 
    • Play Trivia with Quizbreaker.
    • Book Exchange – Share your favorite recently read book for work or pleasure.

How we’re staying sane while remote

This is an unprecedented time. Not only are we confined to our homes for work, but we’re also trying to stay away from other people. Now that’s a lot of time without a variety of people, places and things to see and interact with. Here’s what we’re doing when we’re not working to keep us from going bonkers and find solace in this crazy time.

  1. Our favorite apps to keep our heads clear
  2. What we’re doing when we’re not working 
    • Cooking a dish we always wanted to make
    • Learning how to play music, or picking up that guitar that we haven’t touched in a while
    • Cleaning a room we keep putting off 
    • Reading a book that’s been on the list
    • Listening to a podcast or a an audio book we’ve had saved
    • Getting into nature – going for a hike or walking on the beach
    • We’re facetime-ing with our friends and family to connect, work out, have dinner together, enjoying happy hour–getting some time in with people who aren’t with us physically. We love the app Houseparty to get together with friends (shout out to all our March birthday buddies).
    • Taking an online course – Brit+Co is offering free class until 3/31.
    • Finding a way to support a small business by either buying something online or purchasing a gift card for future use.
    • Still buying food from our favorite locally owned restaurants for take out. Because we still want to see them there in the future.
    • Watching an opera through The Met’s past performances.
    • Going to a museum, national park, or the zoo by taking virtual tours through this link.
    • Live streaming a concert from our living rooms.
    • We’re having a virtual dance party!
    • Thankfully Netflix exists in this world, but now we’re having a Netflix Party with friends.
    • Listening to a playlist with friends.
    • Honing our art skills:
      • User @carsonellis on Instagram is doing a “Quarantine Art Club” where they post daily prompts.
      • Photography – slow down on walks and take cool pictures, or take portraits!
    • Training a new member of the family. Some of us are thinking about adopting a furry friend! What a better time to train a puppy than when you’re home.
    • Brewing up a batch of beer.

How we’re laughing throughout it all

Here are just a few of our favorite memes and videos that have come out in the past week. There’s a silver lining to everything, right?


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Dammit Cheryl [@mollytolsky]

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Not surprised

A post shared by Shitheadsteve (@shitheadsteve) on


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Wtf 😂😂 👉🏾(via: 9woodmac_/twitter)

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*THERE’S WALDO. By @chattanooga

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