Productivity takes a beating while working remotely.
In the past few weeks, 1,000s of companies have shifted to 100% remote work style, and millions of professionals are working fulltime from home for the first time. This has proven to be productive for some, while some are still struggling to settle in and be as productive as they used to be.
In this article, we go through 10 rules Companies must encourage their remote workers to follow in order to create a productive environment in their home. Mismanaging the work from home can not only result in bad PnL sheets but also create disturbances in workers’ personal lives.
These 10 rules should help get a clearer perspective on the ways remote working is different from a traditional method, and how it can be as productive as working from an office workplace.
Rule Number 1
Water Cooler Chat
Working remotely, one of the biggest distance is that we lose the element of human interactions. In fast-growing startups, a lot of magic is created when two people of common mindset come together so solve a problem innovatively.
Creating a virtual chat room will encourage a similar environment where everyone gets to share anything that interests them, be it Starwars or the new article written by Paul Graham. The idea is to provide a space for everyone to share their hobbies and interested in the people they work with.
This virtual chat room gives everyone a deeper insight into people they work with.
Rule number 2
When to Communicate
Working remotely, most people have two extreme modes. Either spend the entire day unproductive or be in front of the computer, all day long.
It is important to let everyone know, it’s ok to stop receiving notifications, during certain fixed hours of the day. Health-wise it’s never good to be on your desk, replying to emails till 2 AM. Structuring the day’s schedule and following through is very essential.
On the other end, if you send people a message or email (more on this later) it’s completely fine if they don’t reply within a few minutes.
Structure the message in such a way to make sure your recipient replies once they get back online.
Rule number 3
How to Communicate
This is important. Here is a priority list you must go through, whenever you have to talk to someone within your company/team.
Rule Number 4
Accountability and Transparency are very important. For some people working from home is very distracting. It’s not easy to sit down and get working. For some more than others.
The best way to tackle this and improve everyone’s Accountability and Transparency? Start scheduling various forms of meetings. These could be any type of video conference meetings. for example,
- Monthly Company Goal Meetings | Talk about the entire organisation’s goals.
- Tuesday Meeting with Samson, The Sales Manager. | Talk about the sale idea you have, and anything related to Account based marketing.
- Biweekly Casual Conference | Discuss anything. It’s a casual online party.
The goal of these meetings is to set up intervals between workload, giving employees a sense of deadline to get some tasks done.
Think of these as Milestones and making it a determined challenge for everyone to complete a certain amount of work before the meeting.
It keeps everyone accountable, provides a sense of achievement to staff, and give transparency of what’s going on with everyone on an employ level.
what you need to do is set up a meeting rhythm
Rule Number 5
In an ideal case, the distributed workforce will have people from all parts of the world. Since the world is not flat, and we all different working time, it becomes extremely difficult to keep everyone on track with all the decisions being made in the company.
Unless we document every single thing.
Think of this as a newsletter you get to read everyone morning of what happened in the company while you were sleeping, curated by everyone in the company.
Shared Google Documents and spreadsheet is the best and the cheapest way to get this setup. There are other alternatives to this and it’s all a matter of exploiting and see what works best for your organisation.
Rule Number 6
Use Project Management System
Working remotely is vastly different than collaborating remotely. For the latter, we highly suggest you audit the company and start using a project management system.
Within Intandemly we use Skype to manage Daily, weekly and monthly tasks for the Marketing team, and use our native platform, Intandemly to manage the complete sales pipeline.
Rule Number 7
Systems in Place
For all the “Process” in your company start a system and define it’s each step to help your better flow of tasks. take an example of Writing blogs. We at Intandemly have tried multiple systems and adopted a lot from each of those. Each system guided is to the final goal by pointing us the next step.
Currently, at Intandemly the System looks something like:
- Sampath, Our CEO comes up with Ideas for blog
- Ali, me, writes them up by referring to a lot of references, provided by Sampath
- And we share it on our official social media accounts
- Share them on all relevant channels while Phani works on SEO for them.
And we repeat for all the blog we write.
Rule Number 8
Flexible Work Hours
As long as tasks are being delivered on time, you don’t have to worry about the time everyone spent with the task. Focusing on efficiency will give a better and compounded return in the long term. It leads to happier healthier work ethics and allows the employees to give their honest and best.
Flexible work hours will weeds out unnecessary traditions like working late at night to boost the time you spend working. By being task-specific you are asking your workforce to focus more on delivering the result than asking them to give their time, which can be challenging for people who are working remotely or even from home.
Rule Number 9
Overlapping Time Zones
Evaluate the time zones your teams are in, and try to find a common overlapping timezone for everyone to get together and a conference call.
This is crucial for building trust and learn more about the people you work with.
Rule Number 10
As important it is to let your teammates work whenever they like, it is also important to measure how they are improving themselves.
By having quarterly reviews you get to see how people improve their work, departments inter-collaborate and what everyone thinks of their teammates and colleagues.
At the end of the day, we all take constructive feedback (good and bad) to improve ourselves and see our colleagues grow with the company.
Starting a remote team may sound risky, but you will be delighted by the results you can get if you do it right. Start by getting test with potential employees with a short term, month-long trial and check if they fit well with your work style and company culture. Pay your virtual team members very well, and keep in touch with them in frequent video calls.