There is no getting away from the fact that we are currently living in unprecedented times, with much of the workforce tasked with working from home – often for the first time. With hundreds and thousands of businesses adjusting to this new way of working, here at i3MEDIA, maintaining high service levels and productivity remotely is nothing new.
Our team communicate from offices spread across several countries, all of whom are working towards the same goal of providing the very best service for every one of our clients. For us, remote work has become second nature over the years, which is why we feel that we are best placed to offer some helpful advice to anyone who may be working from home for the first time. As opposed to seeing this period as a disruption to your business and its operations, choose to view this as an opportunity a new way of working which, you might find, you can continue to utilise long after the world has returned to its normal state.
Communication is Key
Whether you are part of a team in the office or working remotely, communication is always key. Without it, your team falls apart and with that, so does your productivity and overall results. Here at i3MEDIA, our marketing and web departments make use of communication channels that easily allow for each member of the team to stay connected, enabling creative brainstorming sessions to take place without issue. Through this, team members based in different continents can collaborate in real-time across a variety of projects, enabling us to offer the high level of service that our clients have become accustomed to.
Many offices will have already introduced systems such as Slack and Microsoft Teams that allow for instant messaging, data sharing, project management and video conferencing. Tools like these are invaluable and versatile, having grown especially popular with business owners who are moving away from relying on emails (as we all know how easily an important message can get lost amongst spam). By allowing you to virtually sit amongst your peers, regardless of how many miles apart you are, software of this nature is a necessity for enabling effective communication without being physically together.
Organisational Tools are Essential
As well as communication, remaining organised is vitally important for all members of the team, especially those who lead them. Leaders may feel uneasy about having a team that works remotely because they fear it will make managing that team much more difficult than if they were all sat in the same office. We know from our own experience that this simply isn’t the case and with the right organisational tools, effective team management is easy to maintain.
Quite simply, managers want to know that their employees are focused on their daily tasks and that they are producing the same level of work from home as they would expect in the office. Tools that allow for visibility between manager and employee, clearly showcasing a daily/weekly plan and the work that has been completed, remove the need for micromanagement. Not only that, but transparency in workload also means colleagues are aware of who is working on what, reducing the risk of anything being missed or accidentally duplicated.
It’s impossible to transition to a new method of work without a few teething problems though, so be prepared for some challenges in the beginning. The key is to recognise what works and what doesn’t work for you and your team, then adapt to your new method of working over time and perfect your internal systems gradually.
Additionally, maintain an open channel of communication with your team, ensuring that no one feels as though they cannot seek help if they are struggling to manage their tasks. These strategies will make the initial transition period easier and allow you to return to peak capacity as quickly as possible.
Finding a routine as a team, as well as at an individual level, is important if you are to be successful working remotely. Arranging daily conference calls where everyone checks in is a great start, though extending this to weekly department catch-ups can also help, alongside monthly or bi-weekly company calls. As well as creating a daily routine for the team, you should also encourage your workers to find a personal routine which allows for them to concentrate and focus on their work, even when they are working away from their colleagues.
Simple things such as getting up and away from the desk intermittently every hour or two are incredibly valuable and important to prevent burnout – regardless of whether you are in the office or working from home. One thing that can easily be overlooked is remembering to have fun and enjoying the company of what is essentially a second family. Here at i3MEDIA, we work hard but we also make sure that we have fun whilst doing so, creating a positive working environment that shines through in the work that we produce for our clients.
Make time for some lighter activities and conversation with the team, especially if you have employees that are not used to working remotely. Check-in on the team but not always with a formal approach; we’re all human and we all need a level of social interaction to stay sane and productive. Consider establishing a channel purely for non-work-related chat that colleagues can contribute to, establishing that other channels are for work-based chat only (avoiding any risk of having to scroll through pictures of cats when looking for important notes).
Delivering the Same High Level of Service
At i3MEDIA, our experience running multi-faceted, international remote teams has prepared us for this time of unprecedented uncertainty. We are fully equipped to continue delivering our service to the highest level thanks to our existing infrastructure. This adaptability is how we have earned the trust of our clients both for our web design and digital marketing services, as well as why the level of support we offer our clients will not be hampered.
Utilising the methods detailed here, you should be able to reach the same level of versatility and in your own business.
Our systems and practices mean that the i3MEDIA team will always be here for our clients, as well as anyone that is looking for website or marketing support. For more information on how we can help your business stay on top during the chaotic months to come, please give our team a call today on 01733 890 836 or head over to our contact page where you can send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.