Let’s face it. Even before the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown, remote working was on the rise. Technological developments have been making it easier for employees to work from home and collaborate virtually for years now.
And, while the majority of us have had a crash course in remote working over the last few months, it’s beginning to look like it is something that we are going to have to get used to.
To help you successfully move forward with our new remote working world, we’ve put together our five top tips to help your business adapt and thrive.
1. Ensure everyone has the right set up
Without the right IT equipment, software and access to shared drives, your employees won’t be able to do their job correctly. While this may sound like an incredibly obvious and unnecessary statement, it’s actually where many companies fall down.
If you want your employees to be as productive out of the office as they are in the office, you need to make sure that nothing will keep them from or slow them down in their duties. This includes physical equipment – such as laptops and printers – digital connectivity, cybersecurity, software, collaborative tools and access to shared data.
Organise all your team’s content and get everyone coordinated with Dropbox. Create, store, and share cloud content from Google Docs to Photoshop files.
2. Foster a sense of community
When your workforce is spread out geographically, possibly even around the world, the sense of community and team spirit doesn’t come naturally. It’s something you have to curate consciously.
On most collaborative and social networking software that remote teams use there is the functionality for users to be able to add their image and a personal profile. By requesting that employees fill these out, colleagues can ‘put a face to the name’ of the people they work with, and they share a sense of their personality.
The advent of online meeting software, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Google Suite has meant that team meetings and virtual socials have become easy. But, to maximise on how they are used, why not schedule team coffee breaks on them too?
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
When you’re in the office, it’s easy to keep track of what your employees are up to or providing your colleagues with a sounding board when they need to bounce some ideas around. Even just going to a coffee can provide a chance to connect.
But when your organisation has moved to remote working, this doesn’t happen as easily. To communicate, you have actively reach out, and more often than not, it’s easier not to. This can mean that communication dries up, collaboration stalls and employees can become isolated. And, this is especially true if some of your workforce is onsite and some are remote.
The way around this is to over communicate. Don’t rely on employees to initiate communication, instead, regularly check in with them. And, don’t just focus on one-to-one correspondence, actively encourage team communication too through promoting an expectation for it and ensure there is an approved channel for that to happen. Slack and PukkaTeams are both worth looking at to facilitate this.
4. Get everyone working from the same page.
While communication is going to be vital to maintaining productivity and camaraderie the most efficient way to retain a uniformed approach to working is through documenting all of your standards, procedures and processes.
Having them written down and in an easy-to-access online place means that there is no excuse for anyone not to know what the company expects and, in turn, it protects the company reputation. It also makes it easy to induct new employees, so there’s an added benefit to doing this.
5. Don’t expect your employees to know how to work remotely.
Just as you would have to motivate, boost the morale and protect the wellbeing of your employees when your company is based in an office, you should also expect to do the same for those who work remotely.
For many people working remotely will be a new thing – and even if it’s not, it may not come naturally to them. Think about how you can support your employees to learn how to work remotely effectively.
In addition to ensuring they know how to be productive and efficient while working remotely, you also need to make sure that they know how to practice self-care and protect their wellbeing while doing so.
If you’d like to take a look at what tools are out there to help you move to remote working, this is a fantastic resource.