My team went home. Now what?
With the latest news about the outbreak of the new Covid-19 virus, many companies have decided to let their staff work from home. This will be their new reality for a while. Because of this, many of these companies started to use telework to maintain their productivity levels.Despite the growing trend towards remote work in recent years, most companies have not yet adopted this work style to their day to day operations, or at least not on a regular basis. It is necessary for the team that is now working from home to adapt to this new reality. Working from home is not the same as working in an office.
A guide for companies to manage teams remotely
This post is part of a collaborative effort between Startup Portugal, The Next Big Idea, and Sapo24, meant to create relevant content to tackle the Covid19 pandemic.
Content available in Portuguese.
With the latest news about the outbreak of the new Covid-19 virus, many companies have decided to let their staff work from home. This will be their new reality for a while. Because of this, many of these companies started to use telework to maintain their productivity levels.
Despite the growing trend towards remote work in recent years, most companies have not yet adopted this work style to their day to day operations, or at least not on a regular basis. It is necessary for the team that is now working from home to adapt to this new reality. Working from home is not the same as working in an office.
The first and probably the most important step is to ensure that communication is fluid and clear. Teams that are used to working in the same physical space, who had direct access to resources and information, will now find that even the interactions they normally used to end their tasks will be a challenge. Fortunately, nowadays, technology allows us to use various tools to reduce this impact. Slack, for example, is a platform for instant messaging, that combines communication with collaboration, and allows the organization to communicate through themes and/or projects.
In a remote work situation, personal communication is important. So we can’t recommend Google Hangouts or Zoom enough. These are free tools that allow several users to host video conferences, safely and flawlessly.
In this situation, it is not only important to provide means for teams to communicate among themselves, but it is also important to listen to workers individually. This way you can make sure they have everything they need and that they maintain their productivity levels. But even more importantly, it is for them to listen to their leaders, more so now in a situation of economic impact like this. So it is strongly recommended to keep the communication lines open, honest and broad.
Expectations and Goals
It is more common than you might think to have workers for whom it is unclear what is expected of them. Sending them home without any guidance can make this situation worse. So, it must be communicated to each worker, with clarity and precision, what their short and long term goals are. Ana will do X, in Y duration. André will do Z, until W. The more detailed, the better. To help guide and direct the teams working remotely, various management tools are available.
For project management and task distribution, tools such as Trello, Monday, Asana or Microsoft Teams can be easily used. Except for Monday, all of them offer free versions that already include some useful tools for team management, such as Kaban charts, notifications, tasks, etc.
Many other tools can streamline work, either as a team or individually. For sharing documents there are several tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDRive.
For individual work, there are several applications for task lists and time management such as Todoist or IDoneThis.
While at home it can be more difficult to separate work from personal life and maintain a healthy and balanced pace. For that reason there is, of course, another app: Take a Break, Please.
A remote team is not just about tools, tasks, and communication. It is necessary to keep some rules that are generally known not only to the team but also to potential partners.
The work schedule must be defined in advance to ensure that the schedule is generally known and employees can match their availability. Contacts should also be available in case of an emergency.
Regular communication must also be defined in advance. Team meetings should be performed daily or every other day, depending on the need for interaction.
Generally, . Still, several studies show that remote work can improve levels of productivity and commitment to the company. Thus, through the implementation of these measures, it is possible to maintain the work pace. The important thing now is to follow the recommended precautions: stay home and wash your hands.
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