In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that’s currently in place, many companies have shifted to remote working as a way of ensuring business continuity.
Even though remote working has been a rising trend over the past couple of years, with more and more companies offering it as an option to their employees, the change has come as somewhat of a large-scale avalanche that not everyone was equally prepared for.
Some have adjusted better than others, but in general we’ve observed an overarching concern from companies around being able to ensure productivity of remote workers in an effective way.
Having insight into what our clients have been doing to manage remote working during this crisis, we’ve been able to formulate the following list of tips to help you refine your remote working strategy:
Set some ground rules
With remote working, a clear communication strategy becomes even more important than ever before. As part of your ground rules you have to define how and how regularly you’re expected to communicate not only with your team members, but also management. You also have to be clear around your expectations regarding working hours and/or deliverables. Remote working comes with many challenges and distractions, and in general we should try to support a bit more flexibility, but if you still need people to be accessible and available between 8am and 5pm, you have to specify this upfront.
Leverage different technology options for communication
Email alone is unfortunately not going to cut it. You have to leverage other technologies to support instant chat and online collaboration. For many larger organisations MS Teams has become the collaboration platform of choice, others still make use of tools like Skype for Business and SharePoint, but there are also a variety of great “freemium” options (i.e. products with both free and paid premium options) like Slack and Yammer. At Analyze we’ve actually been making use of Yammer for quite some time and it’s become a great way to ensure that our consultants, who are typically spread across our various client sites in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, are able to stay connected with company news and happenings.
Regular team check-ins are key
Many organisations have implemented a daily “health check” of sorts to check-in on each other and discuss company changes that have an impact on the employees. For more specific team deliveries, most teams are adopting the daily stand-up which is a concept well known to anyone working within an Agile delivery context. It’s a way to regularly check-in with your team members, discuss what their goals are for the day and also see where you can help a co-worker with something they’re struggling with.
Still make time for those one-on-ones
As much as team interactions are important, one-on-ones should not be overlooked. It’s a chance for employees (and managers alike) to discuss issues they may not feel comfortable discussing within a group. It’s also where career guidance and developmental discussions take place, something which must continue to ensure that career goals stay on track.
Don’t forget about the importance of social interaction
Even though we can’t meet up in person, we as humans still need social interaction opportunities that allow us to connect and talk about something other than work. It’s how we build a rapport with each other, how we’re able to provide mental and emotional support during a very challenging time, and also just an opportunity to let off some steam. Whether it’s a 5min, daily, weekly or monthly connect, it’s important to create a space for people to learn more about each other, even if it’s sharing what their home work environment looks like via video chat or taking part in a general knowledge quiz, now’s the time to get creative and find new ways to interact.
At Analyze, we understand that this is a very challenging time for most. Projects are being put on hold, businesses are having to reinvent themselves and budgets are tighter than ever. If you have any ideas on topics you’d like us to cover here on the blog to support knowledge sharing and discussion, please do leave a comment below.