Remote work: 4 must-have tips for doing it successfully

Alistair Michener on

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is making teams all around the world thinking about remote work, and Drawboard knows how challenging remote work can be.

Drawboard has a semi-distributed team headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and work-from-home flexibilities for everyone. So, we have a bit of an idea of how to make it work.

We even use our own Bullclip (like Google Docs meets Drawboard PDF) for collaborating internally when it comes to document review, note taking and whiteboarding (they call this dogfooding your own product 🐕).

So what tips do we have for remote work?

We asked our own team for their input.

1. Understand how your environment affects you

Carl, a remote engineer in Perth Australia actually did a conference talk on this last year. Check it out below. There are some great tips and insights.

You need to understand yourself (e.g. what type of introvert or extrovert you are) and build your environment knowing how you work best.

Carl Scarlett

Another point is to take the time to understand how to get the most out of your collaboration software, because even learning keyboard shortcuts and where things go can save up to an hour per day. I highly recommend checking out Carl’s talk to hear how he set himself up as a fully remote team member and how it’s the best he’s felt in his whole work career.

2. Schedule your casual chats

Rebecca and Skelly work in NYC and Washington, and suggest putting structures in place that force human to human interaction, albeit virtually.

Schedule regular catch ups with people you need to, but also people you don’t so you feel like you’re part of the team culture and promote water cooler talk.

Rebecca Trachtenberg, Skelly Sinhorini Colen

Even schedule in 5 minutes of ‘small talk’ at the start of the call to ease into virtual meetings that can always be a bit more sterile than in-person meetings. Rebecca also suggests to schedule check-ins with certain people to help you steer clear from slipping into tempting procrastination if you’re prone to it while in isolation.

3. Stay active

Adam who works in Adelaide Australia, says he needs to make sure he needs to get up and about and get active, even outside of the house, at least twice a day.

It’s easy to become desk bound and forget to get up and about.

Adam Leibhardt

At the office it’s less of a problem because there’s more structure around times for getting coffee, going for lunch and going to meeting rooms.

4. Hack your space

Luke who also works in Adelaide recommends really thinking about setting up your space to suit remote working.

You need a dedicated ‘go to work’ space that also works for mental barriers.

Luke Nuttall

You need to ask the rest of your family to respect your space as you are at work, just like they would be at the corporate office. Here’s a good article that goes into more detail about this.


There are smart ways to bring the in-office experience to remote work and the most important factor is that your technology enables interactions without removing your tried-and-tested methods. For example Bullclip replicates the experience of everyone being around a table marking up a printed drawing or document.

Lastly – for those interested, we use: Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Slack, Clubhouse, Notion, Gmail / Google Apps, Notiv, Hugo.Team, Invision, Xero, Hubspot… and of course, Drawboard PDF and Bullclip