Transitioning To Remote Working: 5 Tips For Managers
The world is facing an unprecedented challenge with the widespread transmission of COVID-19.
Given current affairs in Singapore and the introduction of the circuit-breaker, most businesses have been forced (or gently ushered) into remote working conditions within a short period, leaving precious little time to adapt to the new order of things.
While this circuit breaker is a necessary step to slow the spread of virus within our country, it can affect businesses in an adverse manner, especially those considered non-essential by the government.
Thanks to the work-from-home policy, which affects most companies in Singapore, many workers now have to contend with the challenge of working from home.
This can mean a big change for many, especially for those who haven’t tried out telecommuting before.
However, not all is lost—you can ease the transition for your team and yourself by outlining expectations and policies for remote work.
Consider using tools and software that allow for innovative digital features, such as file sharing, cloud storage, and file collaboration.
Tip #1 Outline expectations and policies for remote work
Most offices have set work hours, and this practice should carry on even when the team works remotely.
Setting and defining the necessary procedures gives most remote teams the sense of structure that they’re familiar with. This helps them transition to remote work much easier.
Communication is key, and these policies and expectations should cover at least the following:
Availability: What time should everyone be online by? Is your team interested in setting their own schedules, as long as they get their work done on time? What if you’d previously implemented staggered working hours? Do they still apply during this period of time?
Productivity: How will each team member track progress on projects and measure results? How will the team leader view what each member has accomplished? Will there be a document or software that everyone updates manually, and does it allow for an overview?
Tools: What tools will the team be employing during this period? Will they be able to take their work computers home, or can they use their personal laptops to access the necessary work materials?
What sort of software will seamlessly enable smooth communication and collaboration while information and documents are being shared securely?
These things considered, it also helps to remember that a rigid structure won’t work for everyone. There is a world of difference between guidelines and a rigorous daily schedule.
Employees might start to dislike working remotely if you’re imposing strict rules and calling each team member that doesn’t respond to a message instantly.
Leave some leeway for team members to learn more about their individual telecommuting styles—from the always-on to the slow and steady, every individual adjusts to remote working at their own pace.
Tip #2 Enable Strong Collaboration and Communication Channels
When it comes to making remote working easier for your team, it’s essential to keep in mind that collaboration won’t happen the same way it did in the office, when everyone was in the same physical space.
When a team telecommutes, they need to be able to access the same information and documents as they did in the office in a secure manner.
Collaboration tools help enable your team to stay in touch—no matter how far apart they might be. It’s important to use them for communication and to maintain accountability while allowing your team members to work from home with ease.
Additionally, it is crucial to keep in mind that not all team members will be able to be at their desk 24/7. Some have children, and others live with elderly parents.
As a team leader, you need to set an example for the rest to follow, but a little kindness and compassion never goes amiss.
If an employee encounters problems working remotely, speak to them privately rather than putting them on blast.
Remember—you’re still a leader, even when your employees aren’t there in person.
Tip #3 Centralise all team content
One of the most important things about working together in a team is ensuring that everyone is on the same page, both metaphorically and literally.
That’s why some companies are more resistant to the idea of working from home—keeping each individual worker up to date and accountable is more difficult when no one is in the same physical space.
That’s where Dropbox Business steps in. Saving files in the cloud helps everyone work easier, faster, and in a more streamlined fashion.
Say goodbye to emailing each other documents and creating multiple versions of each after every single round of editing and changes, a method which takes up more space on your hard disk than it should.
Simply store your files in the cloud and send the link of the document to your teammate, allowing them to edit the file in real time before you access it again.
Additionally, multiple file formats are supported with Dropbox Business, which means that you can create, store, and share cloud content from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Microsoft Office files, and Dropbox Paper alongside traditional files in Dropbox.
Tip #4 Set aside some space
Working from home can get claustrophobic. While most workers would be happy to venture out into cafés and restaurants to work while they enjoy their favourite dishes, the current circuit-breaker measures means that all your team members are stuck at home.
As a team leader, being able to alleviate some frustrations that team members might face when working remotely will help make telecommuting a breeze.
One method of getting rid of excess stress is, as simple as it sounds, talking to someone in the same situation. Research has shown that idle water cooler gossip might help save your team members from going crazy while working from home.
This is why it’s important to set aside some space in your communication channels for team members to blow off steam and just talk about the banalities of everyday life.
While this might seem to encourage a drop in productivity, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Happy workers perform best (up to 13% more effective), according to an extensive study by Oxford University‘s Saïd Business School in collaboration with British multinational telecoms firm BT.
Granting your team members the space they need (that they might not have at home) will help lighten the strain of being stuck at home without the fortifying presence of their favourite coworker and/or office coffeemaker.
Tip #5 Trust your team
Last but not least, remote working is about trust.
While it might be hard to fully let go of your team, it’s important to remember that you hired them for a reason.
Everyone should be able to stay accountable and present, even in a digital workspace, and some workers even admit to preferring to telecommute as it gives them the space they need to get their work done quickly and smoothly.
As it is right now, remote working has become a large part of everyday life. Even before the COVID-19 situation, companies had already started experimenting with allowing telecommuting, along with staggered work hours.
From startups to multinational corporations, companies are starting to learn to relax their grip on the reins and allow their staff to work from home.
Sure, transitioning to remote working might not be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s a step in the right direction—one that companies are increasingly turning to.
With the right planning and preparation, transitioning to remote work successfully can be a breeze.
Do you need help transitioning your team to remote working? Drop us a message to see how we can implement Dropbox Business for your team.