Leveraging tools + technology to build new avenues for collaboration in a remote world
As nearly 1 in 5 Americans are ordered to stay indoors, businesses are faced with a ‘trial-by-fire’ approach to remote working. Employees, management and organizational stakeholders must adjust operations to adapt to new workflow structures and systems to ensure success, while considering factors such as child care, illness and disruption to traditional roles.
Business leaders must create sustainable systems — and quickly — to ensure success for remote business operations. Leaders need to ensure dynamic, flexible and open communication in order to promote productivity and a positive corporate morale. Below are some ways to prepare your organization and employees for remote working:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29% of Americans can work from home, including one in 20 service workers and more than half of information workers. If your business is in the position to allow for remote work, invest in functional tools that enable remote working to be a success:
- Set up internal communication tools such as Google Hangouts, Slack for Business, Zoom Conference for video and audio conferences
- Use agile project management if not already in use with teams; project management platforms such as Asana, Trello, Airtable or Google Sheets allow for real-time collaboration and task-tracking to better manage team tasks and outcomes
Take inventory of employee resources
Consider digitizing processes that traditional required print or in-person interaction. Invest resources to ensure that your employees have what they need for success like printers, fax machines, monitors, chargers and office supplies.
Establish preferred mode of communication early-on with your team (is video, phone or email convening best?). Create structure by scheduling consistent weekly (or daily on high-touch team) check-ins to manage the ongoing situation and to encourage collaboration. Encourage over-communication within teams and management to mitigate miscommunication, conflict or confusion.
Individuals are balancing varying degrees of responsibility at home, in addition to added stress of a global pandemic. Management and teams should encourage productivity but allow for flexibility that enables employees to manage schedules and promote mental health and well-being. Regularly scheduled meetings and communicating accountability will provide structure when greater flexibility is needed as employees’ priorities shift.