For those of us who have been fortunate enough to remain working through these difficult times and not be on the front lines, we’ve likely been working remotely for several months now. If you started working from home abruptly and assumed it would only be very temporary, you may not have had the time to put processes and/or policies in place that would sustain, in situations like this, for long periods of time.
If this is the case, it’s time for a review and a self-check to see if the ways in which you are collaborating with your team(s) are the best ways to get the production you need. With so many advertising, marketing and general budgets shrinking or disappearing, your bottom line depends on increased productivity. Now, your ideas, projects and execution must be stronger than maybe more than ever before, in order to demonstrate to your clients that the investment they have made in your company is an investment worth making.
Tracking time isn’t just about measuring work progress, it’s about setting boundaries, understanding where time is wasted and finding the best work patterns that work for you and your team. In other words, getting from point A to point B in the most effective and correct manor.
At this point, everyone has established their own working and life rhythms at home, so you need to remain open minded towards flexible work hours. It’s important to note that your colleagues need to know your availability throughout the day for scheduling calls and meetings. Since some people choose to start their day before the sun comes up and others prefer to work well into the night. Understanding each other’s work patterns is very important in selecting times that will work for everyone involved.
Be on the lookout for overscheduling and micromanaging, as well. Not every conversation requires a long meeting, and stacking video calls all day long can be stressful and even counterproductive. Let your teams work. Let them set aside the time they need to actually get things done.
With any remote working team, the most important things are having a common purpose and goal along with a solid trust for each other. While you may not all be in the same office environment together, you are still working as one unit and still striving for the same goals.
To ensure a positive workflow, start by making sure that everyone feels they have open communication and can effectively discuss the project or tasks being worked on. No one should feel like they are on an island and working alone. Make sure each team member understands their role and their responsibilities toward achieving the overall goal and holding up their portion of the responsibilities.
While it’s definitely not the same as bringing your team into a room for a face to face, meetings can easily happen by setting up virtual meetings or video chats. Here team members can see each other as well as share their computer screens for the discussions.
In addition to virtual meetings, utilizing a project management tool will also facilitate collaboration. These tools allow for the management of projects, a single place for all communication, the opportunity to share ideas, organize conversations, and keep everyone on the same page throughout any project. And, with the help of “the cloud”, remote workers can save and co-work on documents from anywhere through cloud storage or FTP sites, such as Google, Microsoft, Trello and others.
While I for one, look forward to seeing my staff again in real life, virtual teams haven’t just become increasingly more common, they are now a factor for the “new norm” moving forward.
By following these suggestions on time management and collaboration, it will help to keep everyone engaged, increase their work productivity, efficiency and ensure a happy and rewarding remote work environment.