"We don’t want to panic, but we don’t want to take this too lightly either. Finding that middle ground is going to be challenging, but I have tremendous confidence that Canadians are going to be able to.”
This was a recent quote from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in response to COVID-19. Evidence is mounting on a daily basis that social distancing is the key to staying healthy and limiting the spread of the virus.
Working remotely has suddenly become critical to business sustainability for many organizations and employees. Here at Vexxit, we have successfully launched our own remote workplace with staff around the world. Here are some tips on how to adapt your workplace to suit these unprecedented times.
Run a change campaign
Shifting from a mindset where people occasionally work from home to longer term remote work means rethinking the way your company conducts its work and communications. This may require an initial campaign to create optimism and buy-in among leaders, management and employees. Allow for training time with new tools, new processes and new ways of working to ensure not only the productivity of individual employees, but the overall success of your teams.
Set up open lines of communication
Without the ability to peer around a monitor and ask a question of your officemate, you need to find ways to encourage an easy and steady flow of communication. Email can feel slow and formal, but team collaboration tools such as Slack, Discord or Teams create a virtual team environment where everyone is checked in and can share information on the fly.
Working in silos is a risk of any organization and it’s especially tricky when your people are literally all over the place. Regular video conferences with Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts are essential for connecting with that all-important facetime. For sharing files easily, many companies use Dropbox or Google Docs.
Nothing motivates like a deadline. When working with remote teams, it’s imperative to keep everyone focused and moving forward with shorter term deliverables that add up to a longer term project goal. With video conference project update meetings and project management apps such as Asana or Trello, you can keep everyone on the same page.
Adapt and have contingency plans
As we all know, technology is wonderful – until it doesn’t work. It’s important to have backup systems planned for the inevitable moment when your primary systems fail. Make sure team members are comfortable with cloud backups, mobile phone hotspots, good microphones, headsets and alternate service providers. If Slack is down, you want your team ready to quickly shift over to Discord or to a WhatsApp group chat.
It’s truly amazing what teams can accomplish in a virtual workplace. We believe that once a team is humming well remotely, it’s hard to go back to a traditional office environment. Fortunately, progress is on our side and networking tools allow us to run a multinational organization remotely with greater ease than ever before.
We've got your back
As always, Vexxit’s got your back. Our expertise is to build great digital relationships in a human way. We are here to answer any questions about our remote work environment. Please reach out if you’d like to chat further.
In the meantime, we hope you and your circle of friends, family and colleagues stay healthy and well.
Jocelyn Chipman CEO & Co-Founder, Vexxit
P.S. For another great resource on adapting to remote work, check out Toptal's Suddenly Remote Playbook.