In the wake of stay-at-home orders, many businesses faced the challenge of transitioning to the fully-remote working world overnight, our agency included. As Time magazine put it, COVID-19 triggered “the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.” Like any experiment, navigating the new reality of working from home required trial and error. It’s come with its share of frustrations…and surprising benefits.
While we certainly miss being together in the office, working remotely has been an overall positive experience for our team, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. Today, we’re sharing some of the lessons learned and strategies we’ve relied on while adapting to the “new normal” of working virtually. We hope these takeaways help your organization maintain a sense of culture, connection, and normalcy too!
When working remotely, communication is a must. And in this situation, it’s better to stay on the safe side and actually overcommunicate. Heightened communication doesn’t need to be overbearing. It should create transparency, build trust, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Our team uses certain digital services to manage workflow and maintain collaboration remotely. These are some of the tools we like to use:
We also use email as a core tool for everyday communication. And, of course, there’s always the good old-fashioned phone call! If you find yourself chatting or emailing back-and-forth with someone for a while, picking up the phone can speed things along and prevent miscommunication.
Just as you would stop by a colleague’s office to say hello and catch up, it’s important to check-in with one another regularly while working remotely. Along with casual check-ins, we like to hold virtual stand-up meetings every morning so our team can give status updates and ask any questions. These daily meetings keep everyone in the loop and allow us to prioritize our tasks. It’s also a chance to start the day with some positive energy and a sense of community.
Let’s be clear: In this current situation, we’re not just working from home. We’re working from home during a global pandemic. Understandably, we all need to have extra patience with ourselves and our fellow team members. Not only are most of us working remotely for the first time, but we’re also working with new colleagues: our spouses, partners, children, parents, roommates, or pets. All the while, our health and the health of our loved ones is top of mind. Whether it’s through morning meditation, scheduled breaks, or lunchtime walks, practicing self-care and finding balance in the workday has been key to reducing stress.
Providing positive feedback has always been a great way to motivate employees and colleagues. Now more than ever, we could all use a little extra emotional support. In the remote-working world, consider doling out even more “attaboys” and “attagirls” than you normally would. Another consideration? Include emojis in your communication to convey your tone and meaning. Consistent, positive feedback will go a long way in making people feel supported, valued, and empowered to continue doing their best work.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve discovered some creative ways to stay connected and boost morale virtually. Here are a few culture-building activities that we enjoy: