Working from home has, for many years, been a luxury that only a lucky few have been able to indulge in, however, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, and now many professionals that would ordinarily be commuting to office buildings every day, are now setting up work areas in their own homes.
This may seem like a dream come true and while there are certainly many benefits to remote working if you and your team are not properly prepared it can lead to a serious drop in work output and quality caused in no small part by the lack of communication among other things.
In an effort to help keep both you and your co-workers working at your best, here are a few things to consider when preparing your team for remote work.
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Communication is crucial
One of, if not the biggest challenge you will face when moving to a remote way of working, is keeping a good level of communication between our team.
In an office building, you can physically see each other and can usually talk without having to do so much as get up from your chair, when working from home, you will have no such luxury and because of this, it is common for communication to suffer drastically because people simply aren’t used to keeping up with co-workers when they are at home.
Fortunately, there are plenty of applications available with the sole purpose of helping you keep in touch with your team by means of video conference calls.
The most popular of these applications include Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams and all of them have been around for some time so you can be confident in their ability to help you with secure communication.
They all include many features designed to make your life easier, for example, if you have been forced to cobble together a rudimentary workspace in an untidy bedroom, you can maintain a professional appearance by using virtual backgrounds that integrate directly with programs like Zoom.
Find out more about how a zoom background video can help you here. There are also other features such as Screen sharing and virtual whiteboards that allow you to share information easily and efficiently, brainstorm ideas, or discuss topics just like you were all in the same room together.
Work with your team to solve problems
Another common challenge that remote teams are faced with is the fact that they will suddenly have fairly limited access to managers and other team members.
While virtual meetings are a great tool, it is not really realistic nor practical to jump into one every time you have a simple question that could be answered quickly.
Due to this, it is important to implement another form of remote communication like instant messaging that can be used in place of calling one another.
You can use Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, regular texts, or any other application you can think of providing everyone has access to it.
Without this regular and accessible communication, not only will you notice that your team is producing lower quality work, but the individual members may also be suffering from feeling isolated and alone both socially and professionally.
This is more common than you would expect and basically results in a person’s personal relaxing space becoming more like a prison where they are being forced to work without the option of leaving.
Use the tools available to you to keep up with your team as a whole, as well as the individuals who make it up.
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Your role as manager
Assuming you are a manager or a team leader, you are most likely already familiar with individual catch-ups you have in order to both check up on a worker’s progress while also getting feedback about their feelings at work.
Just because they are now working from home does not mean that these meetings can be forgotten, and in fact, it is the opposite, you should be staying vigilant and speaking to your team far more regularly than just once or twice a year. For example, if you are working in a software testing company, then your role as quality analyst lead will be to make sure all the test cases assigned to your teammates are getting progressed correctly or not. Even though it’s possible to track those using tools, it’s always best to have two or three meetings in a week to know the progress.
Try to have weekly or at least monthly catch-ups with each member of your team and while this may sound like a lot of work, keep in mind that you don’t have to have a long meeting, just a quick chat to see how they are doing and to check if they have everything they need to continue to do their job.
Your team will notice the extra care you take and trust us, they will appreciate it.