For obvious reasons, more people than ever before are being introduced to the world of remote working. Since we’ve been a remote team since the beginning of time, we thought we’d share our top 5 tips on how to be a smooth-running, highly effective and healthy remote workforce.
Set clear expectations
First things first, set your expectations. Lay out what you expect from your team, and what your team expects from you. You might like to discuss the hours of the day you’ll be online, your preferred method of day-to-day communication and the processes for completing and reviewing work. Before you do anything you need to get the right systems, processes and expectations set up. This will allow you and your team to be on the same page.
Set up key communication and organisation tools
In our experience, the key to a winning remote team is strong communication and organisation. To help facilitate this, there are some helpful platforms we recommend.
The first is an online communication tool for day to day messages. We recommend Slack. It’s extremely user friendly and does exactly what it says on the box: it’s where the people you need, the information you share, and the tools you use come together to get things done.
A video calling platform is also essential. Video calling is the closest thing you can get to IRL face to face conversation. Seeing your colleagues (even if it’s over video call) is something you should make an effort to do. Zoom is our preferred platform. It provides high quality video, messaging, screen share options and the free version is sufficient for most small-medium sized businesses.
You’ll also need a reliable project management platform. This is a place where you and your team can collaborate on projects, set deadlines and create and assign tasks. We use Asana, and we’re big fans.
Trust your team
Before this pandemic took place and working from home became the new normal, some companies were not willing to embrace remote working in fear that productivity and work standards would slip. In our experience, we’ve found the opposite.
The Quality of Life survey conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management points to why this might be. The study looks at what happens when remote work is offered as a common opportunity as opposed to a rare privilege. Here are the results:
- 90% reported their family and personal life improved
- 85% said that their stress was reduced
- 80% said that their morale and engagement improved
- 62% felt more trusted and respected
- And 93% even believed that collaboration was better than before
When we feel happier, less stressed, engaged, trusted and respected, we are more likely to get work done to a higher standard than if we feel depressed, stressed and under valued.
If you’ve got a great team that you can trust in the office, there’s no reason not to trust them when working remotely. Try to focus on the outcomes rather than activity. Avoid micromanaging and have faith in your team unless they give a reason not to.
Don’t forget about company culture
Just because your team isn’t all together in an office, does not mean you should forget about company culture. In fact, it’s more of a reason to put emphasis on it. Think about what your values, mission and vision are for the business, and how these can be reflected in weekly or daily activities.
For example, one of our values is Nurture Yourself. Mindfulness and caring for our mental wellbeing is ingrained in our company culture. To bring that value to life remotely, we host a 10 minute midday mediation every work day over Zoom. Members of the team are invited to come together and take 10 minutes to practice stillness amongst their busy days.
Work and non work-related check-ins
When you work remotely, stress and other negative emotions in your colleagues can be harder to pick up on. You can’t physically see your colleague pacing around the room with stress, non-stop typing on their laptop for hours or clocking off at 8pm.
Be sure to check in with your colleagues about how they’re feeling about their workload. Remind them to take breaks, get fresh air and be open about how they’re feeling.
Don’t forget to check in with your team about how they’re doing generally, too. When you work in an office, you’re likely to chat with your team about life in general in the elevator on the way to the office, on a coffee break or at after-work drinks. These can seem like insignificant moments but they add up to provide a sense of community and support for your team.
To make up for the lack of daily in person hang outs, schedule check-in video calls and try to arrange in person events every year.
While remote working has its challenges and benefits, we believe it will be a part of our future and teams must adapt in order to thrive.
How has your team been managing remote work? If you have any further tips for our community or questions for our team, we’d love to hear from you, so leave us a note in the comments below.