It was a smart decision to choose to work from home. But, how can you efficiently manage the remote work? Here’s the answer…
With the ongoing pandemic unfurling across the world, the day-to-day livelihood of the masses from several nationalities and strata of the globe has been massively constrained.
Considered as the Black Swan of 2020, the coronavirus outbreak and spread has jeopardized the world economy massively.
The organizations are seeking feasible means to manage their routine operations while keeping essential health precautions at hand.
Looking at the exponentially escalating statistics of the deceased and afflicted people with COVID-19, it appears that it will take a significant amount of time, possibly months, to be assured that the pandemic has been controlled.
Also, the global economy will take even longer to recuperate from the devastating collapse. As of now, there is no resolution to the fear engendered among the public.
Inculcating awareness among the general public is the only solution. Notwithstanding, closing the business operations is not the apt proposition to it as it can cause substantial economic damages to your business.
In such times, to ensure the smooth flow of routine business operations, remote work is the only way out. Ironically it is at such adverse times when the organizations are realizing the value of remote work in today’s online and well-linked world. Organizations like Basecamp, Zapier, Buffer, Automattic, and GitLab already run on a completely remote team set-up.
Necessities for efficient remote work
Driving and managing a remote team can be challenging and daunting at the start, but it can give magnified outcomes if appropriately managed. Here, we discuss how to manage your remote work as well as the team in such unfavorable situations effectively. These guidelines can even be followed irrespective of the extreme circumstances.
- Set rules for proper team engagement
Working from home is particularly well suited for tasks assigned to people individually. However, when big teams need to contribute and collaborate for a project in a remote set-up, it becomes cumbersome to manage the workflow. The team needs to make proper guidelines and rules so that the mode and channels of communication are well defined and in proper sync. Proper rules to engage teams like specific communication hours, predefined workflow, etc. are very crucial for an organized remote team set up.
- A structured and organized way to engage
A well-structured way to communicate is a must in remote teams. This not only ensures the ease of work but also tends to save a substantial amount of time on the iterative follow-ups. It is advisable to set a predefined timeline for each team and its team members to get updates on the progress of the tasks. Keeping the deliverables and the time-frames in mind and not micromanaging is the key to communication. For this, make sure your company is using the best software tools to ensure a secure and smooth flow of conversation without any time lag.
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Make sure you frame rules around the following aspects:
- Efficient and quick mode of communication
- Smooth channels of communication
- Set a specific time to get routine updates
- Timelines for work deliverables
- Avoid unnecessary follow-ups.
- Focus on meaningful communication
Effective and meaningful communication requires proper context to grow the discussion. Communicating the right thing in the wrong time or place, or without any essential information only leads to more iterative work and important communication being missed out or miscommunicated. Hence, always give importance to imparting the right information at the right time to the right set of people. This helps in keeping the communication meaningful and avoids unnecessary time wastage and information overflow.
- Don’t rush into hasty decisions
Trying to rush important judgments only leads to high chances of poor decision making and less progress in the long run. Important and crucial discussions should be given due time to unfurl and consideration for meaningful outputs. Straightaway hurrying to get an answer and a decision with immediate responses is uncalled for in a remote setup where everyone needs time to sink in the information and respond accordingly.
- Pay attention to reflection time after work
For efficient productivity, make sure your employees are aware of the work they were supposed to deliver and how they are progressing to accomplish their goal? For these companies like Basecamp focus on the concept of strong reflection. At 16:30 p.m on every workday, Basecamp (the product) automatically asks every team member about what work they accomplished that day. The answers are shared with everyone in the organization. This helps everyone to stay in touch with the common goal towards which they are working. Also, one gets time to reflect upon what they were supposed to do and what they accomplished on that day.
- Grease your team’s social gears occasionally
Remote work might get monotonous when everyone is working from home for days with no social connection. To ensure the team is well connected, irrespective of the professional links, you must inculcate a culture of communicating as well as sharing things beyond work. This might include team members sharing their hobbies, new ideas, their experiences on things outside the workplace, etc. This is a very good way to each other in the team beyond our professional skills. The better the team members know each other, the better they work together.
- Prefer written communication to verbal conversations
When you write something, you are more attentive as it is more responsive than reactive. Hence, chances are for written communication to be more thoughtful and in the right direction as you take your time to think and write. Verbal communication is helpful only for meetings and discussions that have short term deliverables at stake. However, for the long term reference of such discussions, it is imperative to have a written communication like making the meeting notes in a meeting because it helps everyone to keep a track of the way things are progressing ahead. These written notes help future employees/new hires or the people who might not have had the opportunity to be a part of the meeting/discussion. They can always go back to their written communication to understand the essential details discussed.
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Additionally, written communication should be preferred as it leads to less number of redundant meetings, video conferences, video calls which are susceptible to be interrupted easily in real-time.
- Conduct meetings with proper agenda
While your team is on remote work, it is very important to have an agenda before you start a meeting. This not only helps in saving time in unnecessary discussions but also aligns the team to stick to the basic agenda. Going back to the agenda of the meeting makes sure that the team is aware of the meeting’s progression. Further, the action items of the meeting help the team to get the gist of the meeting and provides a base for the upcoming meeting as well.
- Follow work from home etiquette
Make sure that your team members are well aware of the work from home etiquettes. Train the employees to respect the time of each other. An hour’s meeting means a combined five-hour meeting for the whole team members. Whenever you leave your desk for lunch or you go out, do not forget to inform your team about the same. Such small gestures make a lot of impacts when there is a large team of remote members.
- Focus on delivering quality
Focusing on the quality of deliverables rather than the quantity of work makes a huge impact in the future of remote setup. Once your team starts to deliver quality work than quantity focused work, you not only win more clients but also automatically improve in providing a better and rich work culture to your team. Hence, start focusing on quality than quantity for long term viability.
- Have a strong arsenal of tools at your hand
When working remotely, real-time communication should be established robustly as it tends to be asynchronous at times. Usage of an efficient basic tool-set that keeps everything together and works as a single source of truth for everyone across the company for any reference is a must. Hence, make sure you have a robust set of tools and software when working remotely.
5 Best tools to streamline your Remote Work
Here, we enlist some useful tools that might help you while working remotely in an offshore set-up:
- Basecamp: It is a project management tool started by a remote team to keep and track the progress of your projects under one umbrella. It is a cloud platform that helps you to look at the updates, tasks, progress on projects, delivery timelines, and group chat with team members. You can create multiple groups, plans, and kanban charts on the platform. This one tool is enough to organize your remote work from home.
- Everhour: Everhour is a time tracking software equipped with budgeting, scheduling, expenses tracking, and flexible reports. You can easily sync Everhour with any project management tool that you use like Basecamp, Asana, Jira, Trello, etc. If you sync your project management tool with Everhour, this will help you to plan your team capacity. This is one of the best and effective ways to get reporting at $7/user/month.
- Desktime: Desktime is a real-time time tracking software that analyzes the productivity of your remote employees by capturing productive hours on allowed tools. Using this tool, you can easily track productive and unproductive apps and tools that your team uses. The tool is very simple and easy to use that you can use for monitoring your team’s daily activities, sick leaves, vacations and overtime with ease, and get a clear overview of your team’s workflow.
- Zoom Meeting: Zoom provides remote conferencing services that combine video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. Zoom meetings help a lot when you want to conduct meetings in real-time. As written communication is more susceptible to wrong interpretation from people, zoom meetings are the one solution where people can communicate face to face via videos in real-time.
- Slack: Slack is an instant messaging platform that can be of great utility in such times. It is designed to replace email as your team’s primary method of communication and sharing, as it is more time-consuming. Slack’s workspaces let you organize conversations by channels for group discussions and allow for private messages to share information, files, and more all in one place.
Productivity beyond locations at EngineerBabu
Being a professional agency that provides the best remote teams to our clients, we have acquired the flair to manage remote teams and work for clients in different geographical locations as well. Understanding the value of the outcomes, EngineerBabu has been following the remote setup since our inception. While our teams work for remote clients, we make sure to provide swift project kick-off, timely project delivery, flexible work schedule with confidentiality, and security. Referrals from our satisfied clients earn s per the stats, 25% of our clients. Thus, our work speaks for itself, justifying the power of remote work – when appropriately managed.
Excellent and productive work should not have limitations to a particular location or workplace. The way of work, the mode of communication, the tools used for employment, etc. are just a medium to get the desired outcomes on time as long as the deliverables are being met with full productivity, as per the timelines, nothing else matters. We believe what matters is the quality of work that is being delivered, not the number of hours put in to do the work.
With the growing trend of digital nomads, as more and more companies are choosing to go with remote set-ups, the solutions to constraints faced by remote teams are becoming more addressable and easy to enforce. When corporations get over with and find fixes to these obstacles, they benefit from the rewards of leading a well-built & robust remote team like EngineerBabu. We hope this guide was helpful to you. If you need any more suggestions or tips, please feel free to write to us at [email protected] or .