It feels like we can delineate our understanding of our businesses—how we operate, how we engage with our customers, and what we expect from the future.
There’s no way to completely avoid confusion and uncertainty in times of crisis, but there are some smart moves you can make to keep your team on track. It all starts with a solid workflow that empowers your operations to work from new locations when necessary.
Here’s what you need to know to develop a solid remote-friendly workflow:
1. Get on board with the benefits
Some businesses went remote-friendly long before social distancing became a “thing.” Having a remote-friendly workplace empowers your team to complete their job responsibilities without unexpected interference, such as missing work due to a sick child or a flat tire during the morning commute.
Similarly, a remote-friendly structure helps businesses operate smoothly when key employees are traveling (for example, to a trade show). Being able to keep up the pace without everyone in the same building will help your company thrive long after life returns to normal.
2. Understand the Challenges
Going from 100% on-site operations to a remote workflow is bound to be discombobulating. You’ll likely encounter these common remote business challenges:
Loss of control:
If you’re one who likes to survey their team in action and ensure that everyone is on-task, this will be an adjustment. Your normal means of ensuring productivity won’t work anymore, and you’ll have to adapt.
Some of your operations now rely on your team's individual Wi-Fi connections. Expect some issues with connectivity.
You’re not the only one freaking out over going remote! Many members of your team may encounter issues in learning new programs, trouble adapting their communication methods, and even experience loneliness and other mental health challenges as they are separated from their coworkers.
3. prioritize communication
Businesses who have already gone remote will agree that your number one focus should be on communication. Here are some suggestions:
Try some advanced communication software
We no longer have to rely on phone calls and email to keep in communication. Programs like Slack act as chat rooms for your team, allowing employees to message each other, send files, and share information at a company-wide, group, or project-specific level.
Schedule time to touch base
Regular video calls, using services like Google Hangouts or Zoom, can take the place of your usual conference room meetings and one-on-ones. If you had recurring meetings scheduled when your operations were all on-site, you can (and should) continue to do so.
One of the greatest assets of being together as a team is the ability to bounce around ideas and engage in conversations that lead to new concepts and innovations. You can continue to foster collaboration by reaching out to your team about the objectives, challenges, or projects on your mind and asking for feedback. If you’re using team communication software, keep discussion channels active and be supportive of dialogue.
Working remotely makes “the grapevine” an especially inadequate means of keeping your team in the loop. A weekly newsletter can keep your team abreast of changes and new happenings in your business or industry, and can also help your employees feel connected from afar.
4. utilize project management
Along with an excellent team communication program, you’ll likely need strong project/task management software. This software is useful whether your team is on-site or remote, so you may already have something in place. Check out services like BaseCamp, Asana, and ClickUp to find a good fit for your operations.
5. offer training and support
One of the biggest hurdles to moving to a remote workflow is ensuring that your whole team can confidently and capably utilize all the tools you’ve provided. Plan for some lag time up front as you get everyone up and running. Provide instructions, tutorials, and webinars that explain how to use any new software. Make sure that employees who are struggling know who to reach out to with questions.
6. trust the process and trust your team
One thing that is proven in times of crisis is that we are resilient! While everything is turned upside-down, you’ll find that your team is full of optimistic, driven problem-solvers who will find workarounds, care for your customers, and lend a hand wherever one is needed. Make sure your squad knows they’re appreciated. We’re all in this together!