While keeping any business running during ‘normal’ times has its challenges, there can be no doubt that when teams are distributed – as many continue to be right now – additional problems can take root.
However, while operating remotely might at first seem like an additional layer of complexity for both teams and individuals, with the right attitude, technology set up, and active adoption everyone can benefit.
Here are 6 hints and tips, and 11 great remote-specific questions to ask:
Dress For Success
It might be tempting to wake up and start work in your pajamas, and while you might not have to maintain the same level of ‘smart’ that you would normally, dressing in an ‘office casual’ style can help you adopt the right mindset for productivity.
And also, as videoconferencing is becoming the norm, you’ll probably need to be visible at some point – so perhaps keep the area that can be seen in your background tidy too (!).
Stick To A Routine
Just like you would in an office, it’s important to have daily routines that provide structure to your working day. The same rules apply: create a to-do list, check your email, update progress, and then jump into your first task. Whatever the day brings, plan ahead and stick to tried and true methods that you know already work.
Starting at a regular time each day also helps maintain routine. It’s an opportunity for managers to check in at set intervals too. Sure, your day might look different in the lockdown, but a consistent approach keeps everyone in the team aligned – wherever they are.
Create An Environment For Success
Working on a laptop in the kitchen might not be the most conducive way to work, so if remote working is going to be a longer term solution for you it’s important to create the right environment.
For example, setting up a small desk in a bedroom or a quiet corner of the dining room – away from the distractions of daily life – is a good first move. And if you can get an office chair and hook your laptop up to a monitor, it sends a clear message to all that when you’re in this area, you’re here to work.
Keep Communication Consistent
Digital communication is great for enabling us to stay connected. But sometimes, using lots of different channels can often result in ‘notification overload’! Avoid email ping-pong and long asynchronous conversations. There’s no such thing as one tool fits all, however make sure everybody understands how the secure tools you’re using support their work and not the other way around.
And don’t forget to maintain community spirit! Just because you’re not in the same room as the rest of the team there’s no reason why you can’t celebrate successes, special days (e.g. birthdays), company milestones, deals closed, and completed projects. Being intentional about creating community helps develop a corporate culture that inspires connection.
Maintain A Work-Life Balance… At Home
Working from home can make you feel like you’re always on and available for work. But one of the best things about being able to do so is the flexibility remote working offers. So make the most of it!
It’s incredibly important though to find a balance between your personal and professional life, and equally important to take regular breaks throughout your day – especially when, unlike in the office, there’s no established area to chitchat or discuss things informally.
Equally, it’s important not to feel guilty about doing some exercise or heading to the supermarket for an hour. The time can be made up when needed.
Managers: Keep Supporting Your Teams
If you’re a manager or supervisors, although you’re working from home, you still need to take every opportunity to make it clear that you support and care for your colleagues – and make sure nobody is left out or feels alone. Regular one-to-one conversations and quick catch up calls will keep you plugged in to the personal challenges and concerns individuals might have – keeping you proverbial door ‘always open’.
Here are some great remote-specific questions to ask colleagues in their one-to-ones:
- What’s your favourite part about remote working ?
- What does your daily routine look like?
- Do you feel part of team decisions? If not, why not?
- Do the tools we use as a team support you in working remotely? Do you have any suggestions on how we could all improve?
- Which of your co-workers do you wish you had more of a connection with? How do you think that would help?
- How can I better support you?
And if remote management – or remote working generally – is new to you, ask yourself (and your team) these key questions too:
- What does your morning routine look like now you don’t have to go into work?
- What does your home office set up look like? Can you focus and get things done during the day? Do you need anything additional to help you?
- How do you plan to stay connected with the rest of the team and other colleagues at work? Are you planning in extra calls to make up for the lost ad hoc communication and water cooler chats?
- How do you see the future of remote work? Would you want to do it full-time? Just a few days a week?
- How have you benefitted from remote working during the lockdown?
Ultimately, it’s important to embrace the fact that no-one should be expected to work for 8 hours straight, five days a week. What counts, more than anything else where work is concerned, is output over activity.
When you can hit your targets, do some chores, and take some time to chill – all in the space of a working day – surely that’s the best outcome for you and your company?
Interested to learn more about remote working and how you can increase your digital success? Book now your free consultation or subscribe hassle-free for regular updates.