How to stay connected to your team while working remotely
With the outbreak of COVID-19 this year, many people are working remotely for the first time in their careers. Before now, working from home is one of those perks that only start-ups or companies trying to be competitive offered. This uncharted territory is scary for both employees and employers having never navigated it before. Most companies who bring on a telecommuting option for their employees roll it out slowly starting at one day a week after the employee has worked for the business for a certain length of time. So, being thrown into a work from home model full-time is going to take some adjusting on everyone’s part.
Allow yourself and your staff a bit of breathing room while they adjust to these very rapid changes. Set them up for success by communicating regularly and making sure they have what they need to be able to continue to do their job. Once the shock of our new normal starts to wear off, working remotely will start to feel normal.
Use these tools to stay connected to your team members as we all learn what it means to work from home:
1. Schedule a weekly meeting
If you are used to having a morning meeting to kick off the week, or the day, keep it. With tools like Zoom, BlueJeans or Microsoft Teams there is no reason employees in many businesses can’t continue to connect and push forward. Having the ability to communicate face to face helps everyone stay connected to the work they are doing. As an added bonus, it provides an opportunity for a social encounter as we all practice social distancing at home.
2. Use collaboration software
Get your team on Slack to encourage real-time collaboration and easy file-sharing. Slack allows you to easily drop files, share screens, and categorize workflow into channels related to individual projects. Slack promotes quick feedback and collaboration within teams without getting your email inbox clogged up. Like email, it alerts team members when they have a new message or file and they can reply right away similar to an instant message.
3. Use project management software
Set up a Trello account for your team. Trello allows team members to break down tasks that are required to complete a project. It allows members to move tasks from the ‘to-do’ column into ‘doing’, ‘issues’ or ‘done’ columns so everyone can see the progress of each project. Team members can create personal boards for their own tasks or shared boards that combine everyone’s tasks for an overall goal. Trello is a great way to keep track of progress and assign new tasks as they come up.
4. Give remote access
Allow your teams to access their work computers by allowing remote access. Set your team up with AnyDesk, TeamViewer, Google Remote Desktop or other RDP software so they can continue to access what they were working on as well as the systems and files needed to push forward.
5. Create a clear remote work policy
Make sure employees understand the expectations of them, tools and resources available to them, and general protocol during this time. Ensure your employees have access to the equipment they need to be productive and successfully work from home. Select the tools you want your staff to use from the above recommendations and set everyone up to access them. Create guidelines for privacy and secure file sharing right at the start, as most people will now be doing work on a personal computer that may not be as secure as those connected in the office. Communication is key as employees will be looking for leadership during this time as everyone settles into this new arrangement.
Remember, this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Spend the next few weeks getting into a good routine for yourself and your employees. We don’t know how long this will last but maybe once we make it through, we’ll start to realize the benefits of having a remote workforce and it could become the new normal. Take the time now to set everyone up for success to ensure as smooth of a transition as would be possible, given the situation.