How is your business adjusting to the coronavirus outbreak? Is remote work impacting productivity? Are you able to measure and track that impact? These are just a few of the important questions to consider during these challenging times. But on the bright side, it gives businesses the opportunity to test their remote workforce capacity and adapt with the changing market.
In order to ensure you have all the tools to succeed (despite this pandemic), we’ve put together some recommendations to improve your situation. When it comes to working from home, three components encapsulate a business’s success or failure: communication, organization and accountability.
Luckily, we live during a time where communication technology is thriving. The tools and resources available make the transition to remote work easier than ever. To illustrate this point, here are a few tools to consider during this time:
- Zoom: Video conferencing and chat
- Slack: Messaging board for the entire business (upgraded alternative to email)
- Google Suite: Provides real-time collaboration tools for spreadsheets, documents, presentations, etc.
- WhatsApp: Alternative to text messaging
Obviously, phone calls and emails are still very important when working remote. The list above simply serves as a springboard for ideas on communication alternatives and enhancements.
Regardless of the communication channels you choose, communicate often. Schedule regular meetings to monitor projects and maintain morale.
Also keep in mind that working in an office setting is an extravert’s comfort zone, while working from home is the introvert’s comfort zone. So extraverted team members might prefer a phone call to save them from isolation insanity. Whereas your introverted team members will probably be fine communicating via text or email.
Remote work is a true test of your business structure. If things aren’t well-organized, look at it as an opportunity to strengthen your business in the long run. It might take time to learn and implement these suggestions, but it will be worth it.
Invest in Task Management Tools
Every department and every employee will benefit from a task management tool. It allows everyone to see the interconnectivity of various projects. It also might provide a greater appreciation for what other team members have on their agenda. Here are a few examples of task management tools you could look into:
Create Standard Operating Procedures
Many larger corporations have entire departments dedicated to maintaining a Knowledge Base for their employees. In these cases, technical writers are responsible for documenting step-by-step instructions for training and reference material.
These are often called Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Businesses hoping to survive the transition to remote work will need to start documenting as many processes as possible. This will help employees maintain quality standards and provide a resource when they have questions. Creating a shared drive with these processes or using a tool like Trainual will help with this step.
Establish a Regular Routine
One of the many advantages of working from home, is a flexible schedule. But as great as this is, it can become a hindrance to productivity if left unchecked. Establishing a routine will help your team enjoy the benefits of remote work, while still completing their projects.
Every individual needs to set their own schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This not only gets them in the right mindset, it also helps them maintain a positive work-life balance. Too often, remote employees end up working 10 or 12-hour days without even realizing it. So, a consistent routine will benefit the business and the employees.
We saved this one for last because a business can’t keep employees accountable without good communication or proper organization. Once those two things have been established, you’ll be able to track and measure performance more accurately.
Businesses can eliminate excuses and enable their employees to succeed at the same time with realistic accountability measures. Every business and department is different, so you’ll need to determine the best Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics for your team. Let’s use marketing as an example:
Key Performance Indicators
- Conversion Rates (form submissions, phone calls, e-commerce transactions)
- Average Order Value
- Repeat Buyer Rate
- ROI for Events
- ROI on Ad Spend
- Lead Generation
- Website visits
- Ad Impressions
- Blogs written
- Social media posts/engagement
- Collateral developed
- Webinars or podcasts produced
- Emails opened/clicked
At the end of the day, if your team is hitting their numbers, you can trust that the business will continue to succeed. Don’t worry too much when or where your employees are working, as long as they get the work done.
This is a performance-driven approach, as opposed to a perception-driven approach. Working in an office can lead to employees focused on managing perceptions. People feel obligated to come in early or stay late to show their boss they value their job. But with remote work, employees can focus entirely on producing results.
As your business learns to adapt and change with these evolving circumstances, you can expect to come out stronger than ever before.