As a technology focused business, remote working is familiar territory to us at Evolve. Our content is normally directed towards businesses we work with, however, given the current environment all of us are in, we want to help any business in the process of adapting to working from home.
Instead of trying to work exactly as you did in your office space, now is an opportunity to get creative and experiment with new methods. How do you maintain a positive and efficient work atmosphere online? What tools can you use to make communication more fluid? How can you improve workflow processes?
From good practice tips to effective tools, in this article we go through some suggestions for your business to make a smooth transition to remote working.
A positive atmosphere and an efficient team go hand in hand, especially working remotely when your work atmosphere is harder to maintain due to a physically fragmented team. That’s why it is even more important to keep the social element. Despite often being overlooked, the social side contributes hugely to a positive atmosphere, leading to better relationships between staff, improved communication, and more successful results.
The social side can include:
Sharing music playlists
Posting photos of your lunch
Giving exercise tips such as yoga
Mentioning home projects like gardening or redecorating
Regularly scheduled video calls, for which you should always try and have video on!
You wouldn’t constantly email your colleagues when you’re in the same office, so why do it when working remotely? If your inbox is swamped with internal communication, you run the risk of missing important emails from clients. To keep internal communication streamlined and manageable, it can be effective to replace internal emails with an instant messaging service such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Traditional phone calls can be helpful for checking on your colleagues now and then on a one-to-one basis but can’t be used for meetings with multiple people. This is where other tools come in which make communication much more flexible and personable. It can vastly improve communication when you replace phone calls with video call tools like Zoom, Skype, Teams, and Slack video calls.
In the office, your colleague can sit by your desk and look at what you’re working on to easily provide input. This doesn’t seem as easy when working remotely, however, the right tools can allow multiple colleagues to view and work on the same document at the same time. When working remotely, projects move forward far more efficiently when you collaborate online with tools such as Office 365 and Google Docs.
Many enquiries can be made in standard circumstances and customers are sure to have even more questions during times of increased uncertainty. Your business needs to be well prepared so the team can be on top of enquiries, showing customers that you are not just surviving, but thriving.
Now could be a great time to use more email automation so your customers instantly receive information guiding them through the ordering process. Another way to keep customers informed is through LiveChat, a widget that lets you talk directly to them when they’re on your website. Even more tools are out there which can improve service, such as help desks that move customer support out of email inboxes and into a shared space where multiple staff members can reply to customers: perfect for remote working. And of course, it is crucial to answer telephone queries, so lines need to be redirected to mobile phones. Below are some options for live chat, help desk, and tools for redirecting calls.
Significant challenges have been arising and adjusting to them does not happen instantly. However, when you keep your team connected by using suitable tools for communication and collaboration, you make significant steps toward maintaining a positive and efficient way of working. Also, don’t overlook the social element as this makes a big difference in maintaining healthy working relationships between colleagues, particularly when the team is working from different locations.
Experimenting with workflow processes can even lead to some inspired decisions for your business and staff. Perhaps you will continue to use some of these methods in the future when circumstances change again, making your business even stronger and more efficient.