The challenging times we are in right now due to a pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 leave many entrepreneurs and team leads little choice: adapt or close the business. While not every business can move its entire operations to working from home, there is a lot that can be done while working remotely.
Here are some tips on how to transition successfully:
- Get your own quiet space
It’s hard to stay focused while your kids or pets are running around, daily chores are right in front of you and all you can hear on TV is about the daily casualties.
When at home, find yourself a designated place, where you can have a little more peace and you can become productive. In order to become productive, you don’t just need to be away from distractions – your mind needs to feel SAFE from distractions.
Otherwise, you’ll be anticipating something all the time and it will be impossible for you to concentrate on important tasks.
2. Start with the morning team call
Team alignment is everything. Our team starts the day with a team call every morning where we go through daily plans and activities that are relevant to everyone on the call. Team leads report on the status of main company activities and we discuss potential blockers.
Usually, it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes and then team leads continue with their separate smaller teams. This helps us re-align the whole team on a daily basis.
3. Make your goals visible at all times
A lot can happen while working remotely. You’re prone to make a lot more micro-decisions on your own, without consulting anyone, just because there is more effort needed to reach out to someone for opinions as compared to working right next to someone in the office. That’s why making sure your team is aligned on the key company goals for the day or the week is so much more important.
It can be as simple as a Google spreadsheet or a Trello board or a morning email that is sent to everyone in the company.
This is one of the many important things that will keep your team effective at challenging times. We made a list of 23 other “teamwork hacks” here.
4. Communicate in one place
Who said that? When? Where? Sound familiar? Communicating online helps you work from everywhere but it has its struggles. Having an app for chat, a different app for emails, a different app for tasks or talking to clients can bring more pain than pleasure.
When possible, try to align everyone where is it that team communication happens. Our company keeps everything in Loop Email. We can respond to customer emails, assign responsibilities and collaborate through chat.
You can currently find a great deal for lifetime usage of Loop Email on Appsumo. If you want to move your team to work remotely, this might be the best deal so far.
5. It’s all about the results, not time spent
This might be the most important thing of all. Working from home will test our ability to communicate, our trust and alignment. By focusing the whole team on results, instead of time spent on each task, you’ll be able to empower people in their home office to make decisions that are better for delivering their work.
Expose bottlenecks, talk transparently about blockers and lead by clarifying what needs to be done – not how much time needs to be spent on particular tasks.
One of the better interviews on the topic of good team communication and office relationships we’ve had on this topic was with a well-known teamwork coach from Chicago; Gustavo Razetti. Have a listen below:
But don’t turn every email into a call. Remember – working from home is a challenge on someone’s productivity – interrupting calls are not helping sometimes. We like to keep a simple philosophy:
- if it needs to be solved immediately: call
- if it can wait for an hour: chat
- if it can wait for the day: send an email or think twice if you even need their opinion
7. Send meeting agendas upfront
Team meetings play a crucial role when working at home. Make sure you don’t waste a ton of time just aligning the team about the topic of the meeting. Also if there is no clear structure, they will derail fast. And when we get to the topic, it’s common that people don’t have the answers at hand, so they either go searching for them, or the topic is moved to, well, another meeting.
A way to go about this is to send out the meeting agenda in advance and include a simple request: “Please come prepared with any information regarding the points that concern you.” That way people in your team have already had the time to prepare – pull out data, print out notes or simply refresh their memory.
A while ago, we made an interview with Angelhack – who works completely remote over multiple countries. Get insights on how they manage to be so successful remotely here: https://www.intheloop.io/blog/interview-remote-working-is-as-efficient-if-not-more-so-than-office-workflow/
We know that these are some challenging times. But it’s an opportunity for us to connect and find ways of working together that will improve our work and relationships.
Loop Email team.