Right now, we are facing an unprecedented situation that nobody was prepared for. Most businesses – regardless of industry – are suffering huge losses and many are shutting down for good.
If you are one of the lucky few to still be operating during this time of uncertainty, chances are you and your team are doing so from the self-isolation of your own homes. And while this is certainly preferable to the alternative, it does not mean it is without challenges.
Many workers and businesses are struggling to adapt to the remote work lifestyle. Especially those of us who are new to it. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to maintain order and structure for your team while working from home. Check out a few tips below.
Use Video Calls As Often As Possible
Over the past two weeks, video conference software has seen a massive spike in downloads and usage. In fact, Zoom Video has already amassed more active users in 2020 than in all of 2019.
With remote work currently being a necessity, organizations everywhere are relying on video chat for internal communication. But why? What makes video chat superior?
- Video keeps everyone engaged. The urge to multitask or space out during conference calls is strong. Video makes it seem like a “real” meeting and encourages team members to remain focused.
- Facetime is important. Video calls allow team members to actually see one another and form a closer bond than conference calls allow. Plus, you won’t have to keep asking who is talking.
- Video calls create structure. People tend to prepare for video calls more than standard conference calls. Not only does this keep them on their toes, it creates a sense of structure throughout the day.
If you aren’t utilizing video calls for at least some of your meetings, you should consider doing so right away. Many platforms are even offering free software to businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ask Yourself “Can This Be an Email?”
We’ve all been there: you just got off an hour-long conference call that could have easily been condensed into a quick email. Now a big chunk of your day is gone.
This kind of inefficiency can be deadly for remote teams.
While having short, impromptu meetings in the office can be a breeze, all kinds of new challenges arise when everyone is working remotely. Suddenly everyone’s internet is spotty, people forget how computers work, calendar events disappear…it’s darn right spooky.
Fortunately, email and instant messaging platforms make it easier than ever to send brief updates to your entire team. People can also respond to your update publicly in real time, allowing for organic conversation to take place just like it would in a physical setting.
While it’s important to keep in close touch with remote team members, it’s also important for everyone to get their work done. So before you schedule that quick 15-minute meeting, ask yourself “Can this be an email?”
Implement Daily Stand Ups
While technology is constantly making huge leaps that bring remote work closer and closer to the norm, we still don’t have a replacement for “office chit chat.”
No, I’m not talking about the kind of chit chat that causes distractions and hampers productivity. I’m talking about the kind of chit chat that revolves around deadlines, roadblocks, work challenges, etc. The kind of casual productivity that only happens when you share a physical space with your team.
There is a workable solution, however. Have your team commit to daily stand ups each morning. This should be a quick 10-15 meeting where each team member recounts what was accomplished the previous day and what they aim to accomplish in the day ahead.
To keep these meetings short and to the point, consider adhering to the following format:
- What did I accomplish yesterday? Did I meet my goal?
- If I did not meet my goal, why not?
- What do I intend to accomplish today?
- Are there any potential roadblocks I can see?
This way, the entire team can stay attuned to changing priorities and create common goals on a daily and weekly basis. It also allows for collaborative problem solving to occur, which is a major challenge for some remote teams.
Staying Productive During Self-Isolation
Keeping the entire team united while working remotely is going to be a big challenge for many businesses. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips outlined above, you can keep your work life on track and reduce the impact that remote work has on your business.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this massive curveball that has been thrown at you, just remember that remote work is becoming more and more common. If other people can do it, so can you! It just takes some getting used to…