As the world is coming to terms with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, organisations have already begun asking people to work remotely.
Here are 10 quick ideas for working better together when apart, especially at short notice and due to extreme circumstances.
1. Quickly establish and agree on your core team ways of working
Your usual office routines will be immediately thrown off, so the first step is to quickly establish some team norms. How often should we hold meetings? What will they be for? Do we have access to the systems we need? Do we have a Virtual Private Network to allow people to securely access networked systems from home? If there are more than a small group of you, consider using an online co
mmunication and decision making tool to gather these opinions fast and share results in real-time.
2. Clarify or create processes
Make sure you quickly clarify processes (if you have them defined) or urgently create them if not. Once the entire team are clear on how key things are done, it creates high level of efficiency (no need for lots of communication to have to clarify things) and confidence that everything is being done to the same high standard wherever people are.
3. If you’re a manager or leader, agree some “open office hours” - a time of day you are available every day
Consider providing a virtual open door - an open phone line or video-conference platform for colleagues to “drop by” and have a chat. A new idea or opportunity might have sprung to mind, questions that need to be asked, or a fear discussed and calmed, so make sure these opportunities can still happen.
4. Morning gatherings
For most of us working in an office, the morning routine is pretty consistent. Consider setting up a quick virtual team huddle each day to check in with
each other, share plans, worries, challenges for the day etc. Connect as a team together first thing and you will be ready for the rest of the day remotely. Make sure everyone contributes and keep the energy high.
5. Find your wider team’s golden hour
Clarify your team’s “golden hour” where you are all able to be online, call or video conference at the same time. Once you establish this, it could be the perfect time to use a daily pulse check in to establish how everyone is doing and key goals for the day.
6. Frequent additional regular check-ins with each other
As well as the daily huddle, make sure you check in regularly. Ask how people are doing, thank or praise them for doing something for you. Share useful articles, factual updates and guidance (use trusted sites and sources).
7. Ask for quiet time
You also need some quiet time to get on with a focussed piece of work. Make sure you protect your time and let people know when you won’t be contactable. Most chat tools allow you to mark yourself 'away' so make use of this if you can.
8. Set up your work space and habits
Decide where you are going to work and get organised. A room dedicated to work is ideal, but if not, create a corner where you can work. Make sure you take breaks, go for a walk, change your scenery and move about just as you would
moving from meetings in the office.
9. Plan your day
Plan your day so you have time for communication and quiet work. Choose the thing you most want to avoid and do it first. Make that call, send that email, finish the report. Work for no more than one hour before you take a break to re-charge. G
et to know your weaknesses and think about how you can prevent your time being sucked away by things you know distract you.
10. Have an end of the day routine
Have an obvious divide between work and home time. Set defined office hours for yourself, and let your team know when you’re available. At the end
of the day, try getting into the habit of planning your next day. Put what you are going to do first at the top of your list so you know what to work on when you start the following day.
New business as usual
It’s worth getting prepared now for remote working so, if COVID-19 means that your organisation strategy moves in this direction, you are ready. The new habits we adopt and incorporate in the coming weeks could help us learn how to create more innovative and sustainable remote working processes and policies to create a new and better “business as usual” for everyone.
Becky Hoskings, Discover
Get in touch to see how we could help you work better when apart with PulseChecker - a web-based communication and real-time decision making tool