Bhavin Turakhia is founder & CEO of Flock—a workplace collaboration and communication platform
Ready or not, your team is probably going remote in the near future.
And there's a good reason for that: According to a recent survey, 91 percent of employees in the US agreed that working from home could help people avoid contracting the coronavirus. This time is especially vital for companies who have not experimented with remote work in the past.
If you’re grappling with the best way to support your employees as they board on their work from home journey, here’s a guide for managers below:
Bridge the gap with an all-in-one suite
If employees work from home, it is mandatory for businesses to offer tools that help bridge the communication gap between teammates separated by proximity. A basic video conferencing tool will not suffice—consider what happens to the notes taken during the call, for example. A simple messaging service like WhatsApp won’t help either. How will dispersed teammates collaborate, send files to the group, or share follow ups after a meeting or a huddle? It doesn’t make sense to keep your messaging, videoconferencing, files and notes in separate places when there are convenient tools that have all that functionality in one tool.
If you’re planning to instrument a remote friendly tool, be sure to sign up for a collaboration tool that offers the following functionalities at the least:
● One-on-one (1:1) messaging to hold direct conversations with a colleague
● Group messaging so everyone in a team or project group can work together
● Ability to create custom team or project channels as and when needed
● Ability to make channels public or private
● Video conferencing for important discussions
● Screen sharing so you can refer to the same presentation or document when working on the same project
Get your team started right
To kick-start the day, schedule a team walk-through of your communication tool. You can make use of a workplace collaboration platforms that comes packed with rich features that can be used to efficiently communicate with your team.
You can organise a training session using video conference. There, you can share your screen and walk them through the key product features.
We recommend showing your team how to:
● Start a 1:1 conversation with a co-worker
● Start a group conversation by adding multiple co-workers to a conversation for easier co-ordination
● Showcase how to create a custom channel for the team, a group project, or shared interest to encourage collaboration
● Share how to add co-workers to an existing shared channel so they can get caught up on what’s been happening currently
● Start a new video call
● Screen share during a video call to present a document etc.
● Integrate Google Drive accounts so teammates can effortlessly share files with others
Schedule a team-wide stand up 'meeting' so folks can share what they’re working on and ask for any help wanted from their teammates via video conference. Ask a team member to be the designated note taker in the shared notes feature within that platform or tool so everyone can see action items and required follow-ups.
Spend some time thinking through how you can foster productivity within your remote team.
Best practices to follow when working from home
1. When sharing requests, let the recipient(s) know if a request requires immediate attention or if it can wait.
2. During video meetings, have people who want to speak raise their hand so people can see that someone wants to talk.
3. Update your status to share your top priorities or show what you’re currently working on. This helps in easier co-ordination.
4. Log off! Data shows people in leadership roles get the most messages. Make sure you practice what you preach and schedule down time to maintain work-life balance.
The writer is founder & CEO of Flock—a workplace collaboration and communication platform