The effects of the current health crisis have been felt worldwide with many businesses and their teams having to rapidly switch from office life to working from home. While the option to work in your pyjamas is enticing, remote work may initially seem like a daunting challenge to navigate. But fear not! Drawing on 14 years of experience, I recently teamed up with Women in Digital to broadcast a ‘Remote Working 101’ webinar offering my best tips and tricks and also shared some insights at our March Circular Economy Futures – Staying in the Loop.
Successful remote working is reliant on open communication, good organisation and planning, and a trusting relationship between employer and employees.
‘We need leaders to trust us, and as leaders we need to trust our team.’
Logistically speaking, before we get into any team dynamics, you need the right tools for the job. A good Internet connection and working phone are absolute musts for remote work. Being familiar with online conferencing programs like Zoom, Google Meetup or Skype, will also hold you in good stead, as these are invaluable for communicating with team members. I also recommend using a planning tool like Trello, Monday or Jira, for team planning and to foster internal communication and ensure everyone is on the same page working toward common goals.
Regular communication is key, both as a team (schedule set agreed times) and also individually. Video and seeing people’s faces and expressions can enrich the experience. Buddying up with someone to talk with regularly each day is also a great idea.
The onus is then on each individual to stay focused and accomplish work tasks while in their home environment, but this need not be on a strict ‘9-5’ schedule. Working out a routine that suits you and your situation also helps with some key elements below that help.
I also strongly recommend the notion of ‘outcomes not hours’, whereby employees should be encouraged to work efficiently to achieve a quality over quantity work approach. As a working individual, hold yourself accountable and achieve what you say you will. Time saved by working smartly and not having to commute can be put towards enriching the ‘non work’ aspects of your life – family, friends, hobbies and interests. A respite from work is not only good for the soul, but helps us to regather ourselves to come back smarter, stronger and sharper.
Some of the best tips for remote working are not related to work at all! Fitting some exercise into your day is not only beneficial for physical fitness but also for mental health. Getting active can do wonders for managing your stress levels and providing time for relaxation away from a device.
Working at home can be self-isolating, and not just during a pandemic. Maintaining a sense of connectedness with your work peers, family and wider social circle is essential. Be proactive and reach out for social connection, don’t wait for it to come to you. The Internet makes it effortless to connect with like-minded people 24/7 – why not schedule a ‘virtual coffee date’?
My Top Three Tips:
Trust – Trust your team!
Transparency – Be open and transparent with your team!
Talking – Regular communication is key!
I am hopeful that if one good thing comes out of this pandemic, it’s that businesses become more aware of the benefits of remote working.
‘The reality is…you do not have to be present, to ‘be present’.
‘And you do not need to be in the office to contribute.’ Establishing this ‘new norm’ for workers will mean more professional output, coupled with more personal quality time – it’s a win-win!
It’s an uncertain time for all but that doesn’t have to reflect upon your work. If you need any help navigating flexible & remote working, organisation and planning of remote teams and agile strategies, we would love to offer insights on a remote basis – contact us if you are interested!