The more we read about the novel COVID-19 the more we realize that it’s going to last longer than we thought. Every business, especially startups need to rethink its operations and processes. Many have already started encouraging employees to work from home to reduce the risk of infection. However, many startups have also started reporting challenges and miscommunications as a result of this new work setting.
Fortunately, there are easy steps that managers and employees can take to set their businesses up for success during this period of uncertainty.
We know it is not easy but we have been building awesome remote tech teams for several tech companies in the last 2 years, so we learned a few things on the way we would like to share with you.
1. Communicate efficiently:
Top-of-notch companies have bridged the gap between remote employees by building a strong communication structure so that everyone can work well and work closely even if they are a hundred miles away.
By a communication structure, I mean having a distinctive set of actions taken in a specific situation. Employees should know at what point they should pick up the phone and who they should consult in times of urgency. Leaders, on the other hand, should know how to monitor the progress of their employees.
Setting up these communication guidelines will help you manage your day-to-day tasks with ease.
2. Use the right tools:
Let’s break down the basic requirements that all remote workers will need:
- A computer
- A good internet connection
- Online conferencing application
- Headset - optional
With the tools available today, it’s possible to have a top-performing team dispersed around the world. Slack, Zoom, Google Calendar, and Trello are just a few tools that help us stay connected.
If you’re interacting merely via Slack messages and emails, you’re missing a vital part of the non-verbal cues of the conversation. Complement your emails and Slack messages with regular video calls so team members can see each other.
3. Stick to a routine:
“I have found that sticking to a routine helps, but it’s also great that the routine can be flexible. The trick is finding that balance, sticking to a stable routine each day, with added flexibility to deal with unexpected curve balls that life throws at you." - Michael Erasmus, Data Lead at Buffer
To get into the work mode you need to keep a strict morning routine that tells your brain it’s time to start getting things done. Try to keep it simple and use time management apps such as Todoist and Streaks that will help you build new habits and stay accountable.
4. Offer emotional support:
In a study by Buffer, they found that the biggest challenge to working remotely is loneliness. Remote employees report constant feelings of depression and anxiety as a result of their lifestyle. Especially in the context of a global pandemic, it’s important for managers to acknowledge the burden of such a situation on employees. Taking proactive initiatives to show support is important, especially during times of crisis.
- Arrange monthly/weekly water cooler conversations to bring the whole team around a non-work-related topic.
- Set up daily check-ins with your team.
- Utilize communication tools such as Zoom and Slack.
- Use remote team-building games and activities to bring enthusiasm to work.
5. Don’t compromise security:
Encourage your employees to implement standard security measures including two-factor authentication and encryption to ensure the data is safe and avoid possible breaches.
6. Keep remote teams in sync:
The key to making remote working work is by communicating more, not less. Keep everyone in the team in sync by setting up regular standups and checking. If your team is dispersed around the world, it’s worthwhile to plan a time when everyone will be on the same call. This will help employees connect and stay on the same page.
7. Stay Informed:
The events related to the current global pandemic are happening at a rapid pace. Stay up to date with the latest updates and the measures taken to curb the spread of this virus. Staying on top of the news will also help you factor them in your ongoing business decisions.
Finally, if you foster a culture of openness and transparency in your team from the beginning, you will see that no matter where your employees are they are able to collaborate as well as in-office teams.