How is remote working operating in your business?
Instant messaging, video chats and conference calls have come to the fore for those businesses which have been able to operate remote working successfully. This is uncharted territory however, and a new system of etiquette has arisen with the new culture of remote working. Here are some helpful “do’s” and “don’ts”:
Make sure people know what they are doing
Guidance should be given to line managers to support them in supporting their teams. If necessary, put out of office messages on email to advise senders that staff are operating unusual working hours to due home schooling and that emails may be responded to in “odd” hours. Make sure that staff know it’s ok not to be in front of their PC all day but also make sure that they understand how much is expected of them and that they deliver what is expected.
Keep up with normal office routine if possible
If you have a team catch up every day, maintain that habit. If you do informal coffees on a particular day, or pizza for lunch on a particular day, try to maintain the time and routine of these aspects of working – bearing in mind that these elements are often the highlight of employees’ week!
Ask your staff what will work best
Make sure that staff understand how to use things like Skype and Zoom and don’t assume that they will find it easy. Issue clear instructions and make sure that people have time to prepare to dial into calls and video conferencing. If you ask staff to access an intranet system make sure that their technology and wifi will support this and that multiple access works.
Only communicate by text or email
Messages can be lost in translation if they are only written – try to have regular phone calls or video calls with your team. Things in type can appear to take on a “tone” so ensure that all emails are written clearly and have no ambiguous messages underlying them. Pick up the phone if you think a team member has misunderstood something.
Assume that people are not working
Trust is key to successful remote working. Do not micro manage teams – and remember that if people did not have a productivity issue when they worked in the office, they are unlikely to have a productivity at home.
Ultimately the most successful relationships will be those where all parties are clear about expected outcomes and have support to deliver them.