Remote Working = The New ‘Normal’
5 months into Lockdown – a lot has changed. For many saying goodbye to that 7 am morning commute, was a good thing. However, learning to adapt to remote working conditions almost overnight took its toll on the less technical of us out there.
The Coronavirus caused unprecedented disruption to businesses around the world. As a result, many companies, like here at DigitalGrads, have had to adapt to remote working. Zoom quickly replaced our daily stand-ups, and screen freezes have suddenly become the norm.
Though by now, many of us are seasoned professionals of remote working and have experience first-hand of both the pros and cons. Today, we wanted to share with you a compendium of the things you can do to help support your remote workers in the long run. From managing a team remotely, to the challenges of maintaining employee’s morale.
Remote Working and Teamwork
Managing a team is hard enough in itself, but now, managers across the globe are faced with the new territory of doing it all virtually.
For many of us, remote working is temporary, however even once the dust has settled, the need to manage a team remotely will continue to a certain degree.
Organisation and communication are more important than ever – but so is being supportive, empathetic, and understanding.
As human beings, we are creatures of habit.
But now that many of us are working from home, this has completely shifted. Up is down and down is up.
We have all had to find a completely new routine without taking into account the difficulties of juggling our personal and professional lives contained within the same walls. Throw in a bunch of new technologies and we are well and truly in a tizz.
Never has communication been so important.
We all know that face-to-face communication is by far the easiest, most efficient method to work. Long gone are the days where we could casually stroll into a colleague’s office and get an issue ironed out there and then.
Now each question asked must fight its way to the top of the inbox of other pressing questions. At DigitalGrads we advocate using ‘Slack’. This program takes the formality out of email and you can answer questions in real-time with a few clicks.
If we combine a lack of structure with a diminished ability to communicate with each other, productivity decreases. However, below are a few words of advice we can offer to help increase productivity and solve structure and communication issues.
Our advice for remote working
Set a daily check-in time
Just like regular team meetings in the office, conduct your meetings virtually. We know that maintaining a structure is imperative to your company’s success.
At DigitalGrads we conduct a daily meeting where we discuss:
– What we did yesterday
– What we plan to do today
– Any obstacles or buffers preventing us from accomplishing our tasks
– Set targets and aims for the day/week
– Brainstorm ideas
(not to mention a quick catch up)
Not only does this increase productivity, but also maintains a level of interpersonal communication and increases morale amongst those who may feel isolated when working remotely.
Location, Location, Location!
Unfortunately, we don’t mean the program.
Another way to manage productivity and maintain some sort of structure is making sure both you and your employees are working in a location with minimal distractions.
You’ve heard of a tidy kitchen tidy mind, the same works for an office space. Make sure everyone has a setup that orchestrates productivity, bearing in mind that not everyone will have the same environment at home.
Ensure that you are advocating your team to take breaks. Rarely would you spend uninterrupted hours staring at a computer whilst in an office environment, so make sure you remind employees to take breaks. Even if that means taking a 5-minute walk around the house so that you’re looking at something other than a screen.
Communication is key!
As employers we know the importance of maintaining a two-way communication between you and your team. Though online systems rarely compare to face-to-face interactions, find apps that do their best to emanate an office environment.
Make sure you maintain a level of transparency in order to strengthen trust among your team members. Share your calendars so everyone is aware of each other’s availability. Let the team know when you’re going to be away and what they should do in the meantime.
Many of us are avid users of Zoom. However, for those of you unfamiliar, Zoom is a conferencing app where you can host video meetings for all your team members (up to 100).
Zoom was popular before the pandemic struck, however, this has now gone up exponentially. (You might’ve been able to tell with the increase of Zoom-related memes now flooding the internet)
Slack is brilliant. Basically, it is a great alternative to email, rather than waiting hours for a reply, you can talk about it within seconds.
Think of ‘Slack’ as a professional Facebook.
Another bonus feature of ‘Slack’ is that you can create channels to divide topics, like a channel for each of your clients or departments.
Adapting to remote working is tricky. It will involve a lot of trial and error figuring out which technologies work best for you. The best virtual leaders constantly strive to balance forward-thinking, planning, and efficiency, with a smidge of creativity, resilience, and compassion for the team’s experiences.
Like all things in life, there are positives and negatives of working remotely, many of which we’re sure you’ve experienced first-hand.
But, whether you enjoy working remotely, or not, it is an undeniable fact that the future of work is changing, and remote working is here to stay.