All over the world, organizations are going through a transitional period as they shift to remote working for the foreseeable future.
At MediaSource, our team has been adjusting to regular work-from-home days for several months. In 2019, we began regularly working remotely each Friday, giving our team members a way to get a change of scenery, tap into their creativity and have a day of flexibility every week.
Thanks to that experience, we’ve learned what works, what doesn’t work, and how you can keep your office culture and productivity intact — even when there’s no one in the office.
If your office has been caught off guard by precautionary self-quarantining and you’re now adjusting to working remotely, here are some suggestions from the MediaSource team on how to make things go smoothly:
Have your tech in place
If you’re going to ask your team to start working from home, you’ll need to begin by ensuring that your employees have what they need to do their jobs effectively without stepping foot in the office.
If your team already has laptops that they can take home, you’re off to a good start. If not, you’ll need to check that each department can do what they need — or something close to it — without the tech at their office desk.
Do your employees need access to any documents or hard drives? Make sure they can reach them at home. Do they have what they need to connect to virtual meetings and project updates? Make sure communication tech is in place before they leave the office. Every workplace has its own specific needs and functions, so you’ll want to be certain your team can function as normal while they’re not in the office.
Keeping your team and clients secure while working remotely should be another priority. Ensure that your team has the IT solutions in place for remote access to internal servers without hampering security. And be sure that you ask your clients or partners whether you’ll need to navigate any restrictions on their end as well.
Especially in a situation like the coronavirus quarantine, your processes, tech and strategy need to be in place before you depart. You don’t want people coming back in to grab a piece of equipment or ask for help.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
The most common challenge when your office begins to work from home is isolation. Instead of wandering into an office or putting together a quick gathering in the conference room, it’s easy for your employees to begin distancing themselves and working in silos.
When you’re working remotely, your team should make communication a priority.
Do you have an instant-messaging system in place? Whether it’s through Google’s Hangouts Chat, a proprietary software or anything else, keeping regular contact between your employees is crucial. And it’s not just about strategizing and checking in on work — creating an open and talkative environment can help everyone work a little more normally.
At MediaSource, we’ve streamlined our processes with a variety of software. We use project management software Asana to keep tasks in line and projects on track. Google Docs allow us to have access to the same files, communicating on the page and in comments. Meanwhile, Slack and Google chats can help you keep in touch.
With people at home all day, it’s important to keep lines of communication open, both for your office’s productivity and its sense of community.
Keep clients and partners in the loop
Whether you’re in the midst of a global pandemic or just letting the team work from home, it’s important to be certain you’re keeping your partners and clients abreast of your situation.
In times like the coronavirus quarantine, things are obviously different and day-to-day work can’t progress exactly as normal. While you’re keeping lines of communication open with your employees, it’s important to do the same with those you work with.
Whether your processes will change or your team will be delivering information in a new way while working remotely, the people and organizations you work with will need to stay informed. Just as they’re telling their customers when things change during difficult times, you’ll need to do the same.