A recent trend I've noticed on LinkedIn is people posting about the importance of remote working. These posts all contain photos of cosy looking 'studios' at the bottom their gardens where they complete their work uninterrupted.

For anyone with a career in digital remote working is a breeze. A typical day can comprise a webinar, a Skype call, sharing a project plan on Dropbox/Google docs and some real-time messaging via Slack. Instead of a commute you stroll to the end of the garden, fire up the Mac and get straight to work.

This model makes perfect sense as many people's lives get more complicated. They can relieve the reliance on child care, and feel trusted by their employer to deliver their work at a time that suits them. It's also less costly for the business and the individual (no need for a work wardrobe!) Isn't working 9 to 5 a throwback to the 19th Century Industrial Revolution anyway?!

Whilst it is almost universally accepted as a good thing for most businesses, working from home takes real self motivation and discipline. They may not like to admit it but some people thrive better with a clear routine. Without specific hours it can be hard to switch off and distinguish between a home life and a work life.

Some people do need more socialising and the network support of their peers. This is why it's important to get some time in the office on a weekly basis. Regular 'out of the box' meet ups are a great idea for freelancers as well.

Working as a team is something to which we have been paying a lot of attention to of late. With a promise from management to support our company's health and well being agenda we looked at how we could combine the two. A healthy team who enjoy their time together is important for any workplace and it was with this in mind that eight of us signed up to take on the 'Bootneck Challenge'.

This new event comprised a 5K military style obstacle course through mud and rough terrain. To spur us on even further we setup a Mydonate page to earn money for Kier's chosen charity 'Alzheimer's Society'. Our intensive 6 week training regime began with regular regiment fitness sessions after work on a Thursday evening before the main event on Saturday 18th February.

We all had such a fun time completing the course and tackling the 22 obstacles together (including fairy liquid slides and a 9ft high vertical wall).

The team spirit came through as we all crossed the finishing line together, cheered on by family and friends, raising an incredible £1,230 for charity! I also proved to myself that I'm not old yet, despite being due to turn 40 later this year.

Building a good team requires a healthy balance between time spent alone knuckling down and that spent learning from and helping each other. I really like the Luxiflor flag, a little gadget you attach to your monitor signalling to your colleagues to back off when you’re busy. This helps you keep focus on the work you’re doing when you really need to lock in without interruptions. It's best used in an office environment though and not whilst you're trying to clamber over a tyre wall!
Receiving my award from host Robin Bailey
If someone had told me when I started out in my career, back in 1999, that I would be presented with a GOLD award at the BFI, Southbank I wouldn't have believed them.

Having been unable to attend the Hertfordshire Digital Awards last September (where I won for this blog) I was offered another chance following the announcement of the inaugural Digital Awards Champions. This was to be a public vote for all the gold winners from the various regional awards to determine the 'best of the best'.

With my sights set on bringing home this ultimate award I began the six week task of canvasing my readers/subscribers for nominations. All that then remained was to book the tickets and wait for 9th February 2017 to discover the results at the BFI.

So, last Thursday my wife, my youngest child (he's only 5 months old) and I headed down to London. I had arranged to network with a few agencies in advance and we then had time for a glass of fizz in the blue room before sitting down in the NFT3.

As the other winners were announced I was impressed with how eloquent they were when interviewed. This must have been a sign that they'd been forewarned of their success and thus had been asked to prepare? There's no way I'd won - was there?!
During my stage interview I was careful to acknowledge the work that goes into writing and maintaining a blog. Everyone in the room was also a digital expert so surely had a similar amount of insight to share. The only difference with me is that I manage to keep motivated to write a new post every fortnight.

This ability to keep motivated is essential for a career in digital marketing. It's easy to get ground down by the constant need to innovate or by the 24/7 nature of social media. Why carry on? What's the point? How easy would it be to sell everything and attempt to make a living as a children's book illustrator...

The truth is this happens to everyone at some point. The trick is to not lose hope but try to focus on what attracted you to this industry in the first place by mixing up your work ethic:

Get moving - To be successful in digital marketing you only need a laptop, WiFi and a cup of tea. By visiting another office or changing your environment you may find somewhere much more productive or pleasant.

Get planning - Breaking a mammoth campaign down into tasks, and then sub-tasks, to be worked at little and often makes it more achievable. Feeling like you’re making progress, even if it’s a little each day, can keep your motivation topped up until you hit your goal. Using Trello has helped me with this.

Get networking - People who don't know me that well refer to me as a 'technical guru'. I've lost count of how many times I've been asked to calibrate a projector for someone. This is why attending events and taking up speaking opportunities are great excuses to meet like-minded people. There is no better form of therapy than getting that knowing nod from someone when discussing the hardships of getting buy-in from senior management.

I'm very thankful that I've been favoured to win an award a year (since 2014) for this blog. Having my wife by my side (and a very well behaved baby) this time made it all the more special. These events (and the fact that she's my long suffering sub-editor) are great to educate her on what I actually do all day!

I'd also like to thank all the individuals who voted for me. After posting my win on LinkedIn I've been overwhelmed with the positive likes and comments. My greatest professional achievement in my 18 years of work has got to be this fantastic network of supportive colleagues. The fact that so many of you find these ramblings useful will definitely help keep me motivated!

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