In the recent past, remote working has become a household name especially after the announcement from Twitter and Square a couple of weeks back that virtually all their employees will have the option to work from home forever
This shocked business communities around the globe who are already grappling with the difficult decision of how and when to reopen amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Benefits of working from home are quite myriad. From reduced commute times to reduced operational costs remote working business model sounds like an ultimate win for any business.
However, maintaining productivity and ensuring that essential business departments continue functioning uninterrupted throughout can be slightly challenging for both the management and staff.
Here are a few tips that can help you keep key operations and activities of your business moving along even during the worst of times
People working at home lose access to the observations, insights and updates that staffers routinely exchange in the lunchroom or around the water cooler. It’s common for remote workers to overestimate what colleagues at another location know, or to assume that they see things exactly the same way.
Trying to do things remotely without communicating enough is bound to leave a lot of gaps in understanding. Ensure you have in central communication place/point.
Additionally, ensure that your team has an established normal response time and agree upon methods of communication and confirmation.
Managers can also try conducting live conference calls that can still go a long way towards helping team members stay on top of projects and current developments. They can use these times to communicate the clarify on different areas For small organizations with smaller teams, they could opt for easier platforms like WhatsApp Groups, where they can easily post company updates. However, they are other reliable platforms that organizations can opt for to ensure that the teams are at par.
A well-constructed remote team should be able to handle virtually any task. Success is generally measured by determining which types of work needs to be done with a high degree of collaboration, and which can be divided up and done more independently and with different timelines.
In either case, it’s important for all parties to unite on the same goals and objectives. When goals are unclear or conflicting, productive collaborative work will be difficult to achieve.
When assembling the remote team, disruption can be minimized by creating a categorized structure that closely resembles its on-site counterpart.
Make sure you have the right people with the right expertise on the team and ensure that the team knows who has what expertise so that it gets applied when needed.
The remote team also should be presented with a clear set of goals that are communicated rightly and all parties can understand and support.
Remote teams need to coordinate their attention, determine what they’re jointly working on, what they’re dividing up and doing separately, and how to draw together when necessary to address unexpected issues.
Currently, there are so many collaboration tools that organizations can use, so the biggest challenge lies in selecting a collaboration platform that meets team members’ needs and encourages vigorous interactions.
Zoom, MEET and Slack are the most popular remote collaboration tools, but they are other collaboration and conferencing tools that you can consider. There are also a number of online task boards and project management tools to choose from. In our case as Nairobi Garage, our to-go tool for communication with our community has been Slack, we have also hosted a number of Virtual Events through Zoom to ensure that we keep our interaction with our teams and also our community at large.
The good news is that many, if not most, IT organizations already use several collaboration tools on a regular basis within the office. You likely will not need to change tools when working from home.
While now more than ever most work is done online, organizations should ensure that data security is a top priority. When shifting staff to full-time remote work, it’s necessary to ensure that each individual has the ability to reliably and securely access the enterprise systems and resources they need to remain productive.
An important first step is deploying commonsense remote access safeguards, such as positioning critical systems and data behind a VPN. It is also important to require that any device that connects to the corporate network has the latest anti-virus, spyware and malware protection. This includes any personal devices that employees may use when working remotely.