Working from home, for many of us, has been something we dreamt about for years. No more commute in heavy traffic, no more cheap coffee because that’s all the office manager buys, no more mad scrambles if you sleep through your alarm, working from home really does sound ideal. Well now for most office workers, this dream is a reality and while there is certainly cause for celebration amid the pandemic, without proper preparation, working from home can be detrimental to productivity and the overall quality of your team’s work. To keep everything running smoothly and perhaps even better than before, we have included a few tips below on how to prepare your team for remote working.
Communication is key
One of the biggest problems when it comes to working from home is that it is far more difficult to maintain a good level of communication. Without it, your team is susceptible to becoming confused, frustrated, and disorientated causing not only the quality of their work to suffer but also their overall mental health. Since face to face interaction is quite clearly out of the question, you can instead implement the use of video conferencing software to maintain a strong level of mutual communication with your co-workers.
There are plenty of virtual conferencing applications available such as Microsoft Teams and our personal favorite, Zoom. You have probably heard of Zoom by now but before you write it off as simply a way for teenagers to hang out with each other during the lockdown, remember that it is being used by companies around the world. It has many features that make it ideal for team communication, for example, the ability to use virtual backgrounds to either maintain a professional look from your bedroom or any untidy room you may be working from. Find more information about virtual backgrounds here https://www.hellobackgrounds.com/zoom-backgrounds. In addition to these backgrounds, you can also use features like screen sharing and virtual whiteboards to share information and brainstorm ideas efficiently, just like you would in an ordinary meeting room.
Work together to identify and solve problems
Another challenge faced by teams working from home is the fact that they now have limited access to managers and other team members can cause stress and a decrease in productivity if someone is stuck in a particular area. Because of this, it is vital that in addition to regular video conference calls, you also implement some kind of instant messaging to keep in touch with your team. This can be via text or any other service but ensuring that members of your team have the ability to ask each other quick questions is essential to a smooth transition from office work.
Without some way of regular communication, workers will begin to feel isolated, both socially and professionally. If this happens their home stops being a place they relax in and instead becomes a prison with work being a chore and something they begin to dread. Be sure to use the technology available like instant messaging and shared databases to keep your employees feeling like they are still part of a team.
Your role as a manager
As we just covered, communication is key to maintain productivity and keep people from feeling alone, but to add to this your role as a manager will become even more important in order to keep your team motivated. A personal daily or weekly check-in with each individual member will help to remind them that you are there to help them. These check-ups do not necessarily have to last long, a quick 5-10 minute chat asking basic questions about how they feel, how they are finding working from home should suffice, but we also recommend you try to add a personal touch, perhaps adding a more casual note at the beginning or end of the chat. Additionally, if possible you want to have these short meetings via a video call, speaking to someone you can see provides more of a connection than an email or a voice over the phone.
Remote working is certainly a challenge, but with the right preparation and communication it can be just as effective, if not more so, than working from an office. Hopefully, these tips will help you to better manage your team so that your business can come out of the pandemic stronger than when it started.