The business world may feel a bit uncertain right now, with companies re-opening, many only to be locked down once again, leaving executives unsure when the entire team will be together in the office. But just because uncertainty abounds doesn’t mean your business has to slow down this time around, or ever again.
Enter what might be an increasingly new normal--remote working. The startup world has made remote work, telecommuting and flexible work schedules fashionable and even desirable in the workforce. Not only do they promote a better work-life balance, but in the age of Covid-19, they allow employees to continue social distancing and feel safer all around.
But for many employers, a remote workforce presents a number of challenges when it comes to efficiency, productivity and the ability to check in on your team to see how a project is coming along.
But don’t worry. Whether you’re prepping to enter round two of 2020’s remote work phase, or if you’re considering making the switch to remote work for good to save on overhead costs of offices and buildings, we’ve got your back. You’re just a few short paragraphs away from learning to captain your business regardless of where your team is in the world.
Set up a remote tech support team
If you don’t already have a tech support team, now would be a great time to set one up for your business. With people working from home, many will have to brush up on their own IT skills as they figure out how to restart a modem and how to set up their computers and monitors at home. But having a tech support team available by phone and email will ensure that business can keep moving, and that you don’t leave your team out in the cold when the inevitable tech problems arise.
Shift to the cloud
Gone are the days (for now) of sitting around a conference room, brainstorming or working on a project. Thank goodness for cloud-based apps that can help you maintain a conference-room, collaborative feel. The Google suite of apps (Google Drive and Google Sheets) allows you to share and simultaneously collaborate with others on simple documents and spreadsheets. When you’re in a remote environment, the cloud can be a real business-saver.
Get your employees connected
If there’s one thing employers and employees have learned in phase one of working from home, it’s that internet connection matters--nay, is vital--for being able to work efficiently. As you shift to a remote workforce, it may be time to add a new (vital) perk to your employee offerings--a monthly stipend for Broadband internet access. Your employees will thank you, and so will you as you start to see progress toward all your business goals.
Implement communication and project management tools
These days, nobody needs or wants another email flooding their work inbox. Create a virtual environment that mimics walking over to the next cubicle or to an office to ask a quick question, or ask for a progress update. Many companies are integrating tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to create easy communication pathways within their company. From video calls, chat groups, one-on-one chats, screen sharing, meeting recording and more, these tools can improve not only group and individual communication, but help ensure your teams stay on task.
Project management tools like Asana and Trello can also make management a whole lot easier, and ensure that everyone knows (or can report on) what they’re doing on any given day--as well as when they’ve passed it down to the next person on the project.
Establish daily check-ins with your employees
Whether you call every employee, or have a department video call, checking in with your team reminds them that there is accountability, provides an open forum for asking questions and sharing concerns, and, especially during this time of social isolation, creates a pathway to connection. Check-ins also ensure that everyone on the team knows what’s expected of them from day to day, and provides a sense of oversight even through the distance.
Implement these ideas to masterfully lead your remote team through any forthcoming Covid waves or to transition to remote working for good.