It is week two of quarantine, and businesses have moved their work to a remote setting.
In the days since Corona or COVID-19 has emerged from a distant threat in China to a pandemic worldwide, we have gradually shifted to a new reality.
Work from Home:
This is the new way things are done. While remote working is not new, many businesses are still figuring out how to recreate their business process in a virtual setting.
While this concept could be unthinkable a few years ago, companies like COdesign, A digital agency in Bangladesh, have transitioned smoothly into this novel way of working.
Here’s what COdesign’s account manager has to say about how to set up a work-from-home culture that works for you.
Get to know the tools of the trade.
Communication is the foundation of a functioning work culture. The greatest challenge your team will face in these trying times is how to communicate effectively, especially with large teams.
Thankfully, services like Zoom and Google Hangouts have announced that all exclusive features (paid users have access to) will be available to the public. Choose either tool for office meetings or one on one conversations.
Also, check out Slack and Microsoft Teams for professional chat softwares.
Pen drives are still prevalent in some workspaces for file transfers, even though Google drives are free to use (upto 5 GB). If you’re office still relies on physical devices, now might be a good time to get a subscription to G Suite. It is cheap and can be scaled according to your needs.
Project ManagementThe best companies have extensive, well-documented processes lined up for each of their projects. These processes can outline how tasks are divided into teams and individuals, a breakdown of tasks, relevant deadlines and interdependencies.
As complicated as it may seem, taking advantage of a proper project management tool like Trello, Asana, or Teamwork can help your business processes transition from the office to the cloud.
Use these tools to manage workflows, create a centralized hub for sharing information, monitor tasks and create a sense of accountability in your employees.
3. Create ground rules and a work process.
Define the rules of engagement.
Companies with solid work cultures have their work methodologies memorized to the test, making it easy for them to move to a remote work environment. If your company’s work culture is not as well structured, you can start defining some basic ground rules.
Ideally, you can start with the following:
- Set up a time for teams to meet up (for teleconferences).
- Assign tasks to individuals and teams separately.
- Note down tasks in your project management tool.
- Break down tasks into smaller ones that can be finished within hours or a day.
- Set up deadlines.
- Move all critical local files into the cloud.
- Use chat tools like Slack for quick one-to-one communication and file sharing.
4. Move meetings to Emails whenever possible.
The ease with which you could hold meetings in an office environment can be unique in video calls. To some extent, that is good news.
Despite how important we give to meetings, most people can agree that it takes way too much time and, more often, that they are such a waste of time; they could’ve been avoided or, at the very least, discussed in an email.
So why not just do that? With one of the most extensive work-from-home programs of any company worldwide, Github swears by their Emails meetings approach.
5. Create Accountability
When I say that employees should be accountable, I don’t mean installing tracking software to see if your team’s constantly on their laptops working. In the transition to working from home, employers must understand that they will lose much control. As managers and employers, we need to come to terms with that.
Considering you’ve hired the right people for the job, your employees should have a sense of accountability. Don’t be the significant brother employer who spies on their employees. This is a surefire way to break trust and create a demoralized workforce. Instead, focus on results rather than the process.
If you’ve set up your project management tools correctly and assigned tasks in order, you should be able to see progress in real-time at the end of the day. In a remote environment, your employees should be trusted to show their work within the deadlines and milestones you or the management set.
6. Have faith in the people you hire
This is a rule that applies to both office and remote employees. However, in a more dynamic environment, such as working from home, the onus is on the employee to deliver results.
This is why it is important to ignore those pestering thoughts in your head, like whether they will be sleeping on the job or clocking in and out on time.
As you transition into this new normal, these old ways must step aside and make room for a more open, honest and result-driven culture.