Successfully Transitioning Your Team From Location-Based to Remote Working
By Jessica Fontana
on March 19, 2020
There is no sugar coating the fact that we are experiencing unchartered territory as a nation where every minute brings new, and in most cases, daunting information. Enilon, at our core, believes in getting the difficult challenges done. Not just any difficult – your difficult. This transcends size, product, industry, and yes, even pandemics. Uncertain of where putting one foot in front of the other will lead you has many people inclined to halt work altogether. Naturally, this has immeasurable implications so we asked ourselves, “How can we help?”
We’re fortunate in that we’ve been fully remote for about 18 months, which means we have figured out what works, and what doesn’t. What follows is one of many things we are sharing to help everyone to focus on forging forward in the wake of uncertainty.
How to successfully transition your company/team from in office working, to remote working:
- Be “all in”. Trying to implement partial work from home policies means twice as many processes you need to develop and enforce. Instead, assuming your product/service is not physically tangible, embrace the idea you can and will be successful in distributing your team – all of them, all of the time.
- Accounting for all the details outlined below be sure to communicate this change to your internal team.
- Be sure your clients/customers are also aware of this transition, ensuring them that their work will go uninterrupted.
- Make sure each of your employees has the necessary equipment to work from home. For those of you forced to take this measure with school and building closures and are feeling ill-prepared, keep it simple. Allow employees to take their current equipment home until you can determine the breadth of what “ideal” looks like.
- Recommended – designate a team/member to determine a process for taking inventory of current equipment. This should account for who has what equipment.
- If you handle sensitive data and don’t already have security processes implemented, it will be critical that you do so and consider remote working implications.
- Whether you are managing teams, or projects, or both – organization is essential. At Enilon we start every morning with a daily standup to discuss what was accomplished yesterday, what each team member is doing today and acknowledging impediments. This also acts as a good anchor for the day with everyone remote. In addition, you will need to implement and utilize task management software to keep everyone organized. Here are a few that have an easy learning curve:
- Virtual collaboration is vital for success in working remotely. Google G Suite applications provide a significant head start. Additionally, we recommend Slack for real-time team collaboration.
- Trading in conference rooms for video conferencing is most notably one of the biggest transitions. Finding the right conference call and screen share system is key. Here are a few that meet our suggested criteria:
- Microsoft Teams
- Communicate expectations clearly. Here are a few to consider:
- Working/availability hours
- eg. Everyone should be available 8:30 – 5:30.
- Use of video during calls
- eg. Please turn on your video for all meetings. Unmute only when you are speaking.
- eg. Requests should be acknowledged and an ETA for completion should be provided in that acknowledgment.
- A Balanced Management Approach: You want to send the message you trust your team to conduct their business and make responsible decisions themselves – so don’t extend expectations beyond what is necessary. Ensure your management/leadership team is capable of finding this balance AND enforcing all applicable expectations.
- Be sure to disperse best practices guidelines for WFH. For more ideas, you can review our suggestions here.
- Implement, then observe, and adjust to substantial circumstances. In other words, make it work for you.
Other things to expect:
- Yes, you will inevitably hear dogs barking mid-meeting – it’s ok! People inherently try to mitigate background noises, but when they happen, everyone – clients/customers included, will understand.
- Undoubtedly people will take calls while in commute running errands or at a coffee shop – again, it’s ok! Despite traditional belief, people are capable of multi-tasking and still contributing effectively.
- Productivity will increase.
- Business operations cost and overhead will decrease.
- Employee happiness and loyalty will considerably increase.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge this is a difficult adjustment to consider for some. If you think you can’t do this, ask yourself why. If you still think you can’t do it, ask someone who is further down this endeavor than you are. Believe it or not, two years ago we would have told you it was impossible for us too.
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