So much change in so little time! As we continue to find ways to move forward amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of our business associates have questions about transitioning their staff to a remote work setting.
Before this latest health crisis, remote work was already experiencing an upswing in corporate culture. A Flexjobs survey found that in just one year, from 2016 to 2017, remote work grew 7.9 percent. “Over the last five years it grew 44 percent and over the previous 10 years it grew 91 percent,” the report indicates. But how can you customize a remote work system that works best for your organization?
Simplus launched as a remote work environment, and we have maintained that model for over six years. We’ve learned a lot about perfecting the remote work setting, and we believe we have some solid experience and knowledge to share in this area. If your company is moving operations to a remote work model, here are some proven tips and best practices to ensure this exciting and strategic transition goes smoothly and seamlessly.
1. Use video and other technology to connect.
You’ve worked hard to establish meaningful connections with your customers. Fortunately, consistent interaction is still possible (and encouraged) with technology. Most software is affordable and easy to install. This gives the feeling of being there in person. There are facial expressions and body language you can’t read over a simple phone call. Video calls are best whenever possible.
2. Use Slack
The appearance of your work setting has changed but that doesn’t mean workflow pace slows down. At Simplus, Slack is our choice for group chats and steady communication. This makes it easy for team members to reach out for feedback and track progress on tasks. If you’re not using Slack, check out other messenger tools like Google Hangouts to stay connected.
3. Check in often and communicate frequently
Now more than ever, open and clear communication is essential for keeping projects and tasks on track and on schedule. “As a remote team manager, it’s important that you’re proactive in making sure that everything runs smoothly,” explains business consultant Gloria Kopp. “The more proactive you can be, the more fluidly your team and employees will operate.” Your team may be out of sight, but that doesn’t mean encouraging collaboration has disappeared.
4. Set up a routine and stick to your hours
Research published by Business News Daily found that employees who work remotely are generally more productive than those who work in an office environment. However, along with flexibility, it’s often difficult to find balance between staying focused and controlling distractions. To stay organized, many employees use digital calendars or time management software to track tasks and project hours. These tools also provide a snapshot of your progress to share with your manager, so they can monitor your task schedule.
5. Get ready and clean up
The healthiest way to transition to remote work is to maintain your daily routine (minus the commute, of course). So start the work day showered, dressed, and ready for “work mode.”
The concept of cleaning up also applies to your workspace. Be sure to keep physical clutter in check, and don’t forget the digital clutter as well. “While the organization of your physical workspace may take precedence due to its immediate presence, your online workspace is just as important to your efficiency as your physical workspace,” says Pam Holland, an organization consultant. “Depending on how much of your business is done online, the organization of this digital ‘office’ may be even more critical to your success.” With coworkers relying on your information, it’s important to organize shared files and docs in a way that is easy to access and share it quickly.
6. Stay healthy
Whether working from home or an office, the need for a healthy lifestyle hasn’t changed with the present global health crisis. It’s important to eat smart and engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Step away from the computer, take a brief walk, do a few sets of weight lifting, meditate, run a flight of stairs, or just listen to some music. A healthy employee is an effective employee.
If you are new to a remote work environment, welcome! At Simplus, we’ve had much success using a remote work model. By incorporating these six basic tips, your work from home experience will be positive, productive, and on track.