COVID-19 is a serious threat, and self-preservation measure demonstrated the greatest effect is self-isolation.
Many countries have declared a state of emergency – employees have been allowed to work remotely, or, in some cases, directed to do so.
Remote work is a completely different culture of communication, and if you have never encountered it with its organization, we recommend that you read our article, so you get it right from the start!
7 useful points, just pass them to your colleagues
- Organize your work area at home and coordinate with your family the time you work. Within this time, ask your relatives not to distract you, and if absolutely necessary, ask in advance if you are ready to interrupt for a certain time interval. Take this recommendation seriously, if the home environment does not change, it will prevail over the work environment. Best if you can work in an empty room that you can use as a dedicated office space.
- Designate hours of work primarily for yourself. Keep in mind that work is now literally within walking distance, and in order to leave work you need a strong will. Breaks/lunches are best planned in advance and agreed with colleagues and family. We recommend that at this time you minimize web browsing and visiting social networks. If you feel that this may be a problem, immediately install a program that will restrict your access to time-consuming sites.
- Be available for work-related communications. If you are used to not responding to the phone at work, then here you need to be prepared to answer the call from the boss/colleague. This does not mean that you need to start responding to every notification on the phone, it just means that you need to make it a rule to check the phone every 15–30 minutes.
- Remote work is an asynchronous type of work. This means that if you send a message to someone, and he/she did not answer immediately, this person possibly is busy and will respond a little later. You should not immediately call back if this can wait.
- Ask your system administrators in advance to verify that your laptop or home computer has all the necessary accesses to company resources (mail, files, etc.). It is also important to ask them to check if you have the latest version of the antivirus. To do this, you might need to install TeamViewer so that your colleague can connect and make the necessary settings right on your computer if you are already working remotely.
- Make sure your internet connection is working and has decent speed. If your family has decided to use streaming video viewing services, it makes sense for the time of remote work to consider using a tariff with a bandwidth of at least 100mb, otherwise you may experience problems with online meetings.
- The house is certainly not an office, but the general recommendation is during the office hours to dress the way you usually dress for the office (at least on Friday). Vests, sweatshirts, etc. only possible if such a dress code is accepted in your company.
On the bright side, slippers is certainly not a problem.
Remember, a video call can catch you at any time.
Prompt communication between two employees
If you feel slightly uncomfortable when talking to colleagues over the phone, because you are used to face-to-face interactions, using the following programs may help. You can make video calls for free via:
Voice messages most likely will not work, except in very small quantities. In any case, you should first check with a colleague if it will be convenient for him/her to receive such messages from you.
Meetings (3 or more participants)
Most likely you will need a computer and a camcorder, but a smartphone may still do the job.
If you are working from a stationary computer, just buy the simplest camcorder. These days any camera will work fine if there is enough light in the room.
The following tools are available for online meetings.
- Whereby.com — calls directly from the browser, free of charge for up to 4 people at the time.
- Zoom — One of the most popular ways to organize a video call. The quality of communication is at its best, but if the meetings last long (40 minutes or more), it might be better to consider the paid version.
- Hangouts — great product from Google. It also allows you to organize free online conference calls for a group of people.
Online meetings — advice №1
When someone speaks, others have to mute their microphones. When the speaker finished, you can turn on the microphone and ask for permission to talk, or simply start your speech. Be polite during online meetings.
Online meetings — advice №2
If the meeting is not a 5 minutes chat on a simple issue, then it is worth creating an online document and provide every participant with a link prior to the call. The document could contain the following three headings — or similar: Subject, Expectations, Resolutions / Action plan.
During the meeting, everyone can immediately fill in the document with relevant information.
It is extremely likely that upon your return to the office you will be willing to carry on with this practice. It is extremely productive for face-to-face meetings, because after the meeting you do not need to send the file to each participant for clarification, and the availability of the file from anywhere allows people to access it easily when needed.
One of the most widely used online document management services is Google Docs.
Most likely you have already mastered group chats, since the groups in Telegram and WhatsApp are already tightly integrated into our lives. The main idea here is to organize groups on the topics of “legal issues”, “marketing”, etc., so that there is an opportunity to discuss the details of tasks promptly.
There is one important recommendation here — turn off notifications. It’s not a joke. Given that the number of groups will increase sharply, you may encounter the fact that the computer / smartphone will be screaming constantly with notifications and interfere with your work. Just check the main chats once in a while.
You will be pleasantly surprised that when using this approach, some issues begin to resolve by themselves.
If you are looking for a more advanced corporate chat, then consider Slack.
Maintaining ongoing work
There are several hundreds of services on the Internet that will allow you to conduct tasks online, but we recommend that you first master the so-called “Kanban boards”. And if you are already using them, then learn how to do it more efficiently.
Kanban board is a simple and straight forward instrument for visualizing work tasks. Columns are the stages of the task (in the simplest version, simply “plan”, “in work”, “completed”, but you can create any stages and call them in accordance with your workflow.
These boards are also very convenient for prioritizing work tasks since they support horizontal division of the board into different stripes.
Briefings at the kanban board
Kanban boards are also a great tool for morning planning briefings. During a 15 minute online call, you can discuss with your colleagues the most basic tasks, identify problems and clarify plans before the next meeting.
The secret of success of such a planning meeting is the following: it’s better to discuss the tasks on the board from right to left, answering one simple question “what is the minimum of actions on the task left to complete it or move it to next stage?”
Do not let your colleagues feel down!
When someone is working remotely — he is working by himself. Some employees will find this format of work extremely comfortable, while others will naturally begin to feel sad from loneliness.
In general, try to encourage your colleagues and give a priority to a video call over a chat message on business issues, especially if someone asks for such format of communication!
Need help of professionals to organize remote work?
Try Kaiten, a handy tool for organizing Kanban boards! Using the registration link in registration link in Kaiten, you can get an extended package of free actions that will allow you to use the service for several months, free of charge!