With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, we all find ourselves straddling the line between panic and a business-as-usual attitude. However, with the authorities recommending (and in some cases enforcing) social distancing, we may soon have to face new realities. These realities include changing how we work. While big companies (think, Shopify) have been perfecting the whole remote work thing for years now, we know many of you are currently trying to be productive from home and are scrambling to create remote work policies for your staff. The good news is, there is no need to panic. There are an endless amount of tools available, and it has never been easier to create a remote work structure for your business. Here are some of our recommendations for making the most of working from home and encouraging your staff to do the same.
Some people believe that working from home means a drop in productivity. Others think that it helps teams be more productive. And sure, there are sound arguments on both sides. However, we are looking at a global situation with the potential to make working from home a more standard (if not necessary) practice. And there may be less choice in the matter than we would generally want to believe. So if you are going to get with the working from home program, the first rule of thumb is trusting your employees. Your other options include installing tracking software, but that can lead employees to feel – you guessed it – like they are not trusted.
At Kingston Webworks, we have been working together daily to ensure that everyone stays productive. We have instituted daily check-ins and multiple smaller meetings throughout each day. With benchmarks in place, everyone knows what they need to do. We suggest giving your team detailed task lists and trust that they will work to get it done in a timely fashion. Remember, these are trying times for everyone, and introducing remote work will be a big adjustment. That is why we also suggest opening the lines of communication with staff and clients alike.
Most business owners reading this will have some ability to have their team work remotely. If you are unsure of what that will look like, we’d be happy to strategize with you. Contact us at any time to discuss your options. We’ll put our heads together. If you have a business that allows your team to work remotely, we recommend creating a daily communication strategy for your organization, it will maximize the opportunity to get lots done – even if the office has shut down.
We suggest that you set one or two daily checkups. You can do these via email, Slack (more on that below), or video conference. Review the tasks that need to get done that day, see how everyone is doing and stay in touch. It may surprise you what the results are. Our team has been working away from the office for nine days now, and have found communication quite efficient. No matter what, it is essential to build your plan around the right tools.
Understandably, each business has its unique software in tools already in place. So please don’t take the following as anything more than helpful recommendations. We can only hope to share some available options and what we have found works for us. Here is a list of the remote work tools we recommend to help you stay in touch with your team, your clients, and to keep everything running as seamlessly as possible.
Google Hangouts/Meet (Free/Paid)
GoTo Meeting (Paid)
Zoom Meetings (Free/Paid)
Google Chat (Free)
Google Drive Business (Paid)
DropBox Business (Free/Paid)
Microsoft OneDrive (Free/Paid)
We know this is a lot to consider. While this post means to encourage you that working from home does not have to be scary – we understand it can be a massive shift in both mindset and process. That is why we invite you to reach out to us. We would be happy to share our methods, what tools we use, and further explain some of the recommendations outlined above.