Remote Work Success in a Time of Caution and Quarantine
There’s nothing like the threat of a global pandemic to bring the topic of working remotely to the forefront.
This week, in response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), companies from all over the world are scrambling to get systems and policies in place to ensure that work can continue in the event that quarantines are imposed or decisions are made to exercise caution and curtail the threat of workplace transmission of the disease.
Remote work options are inherent to the Promet Source culture. We’ve benefitted for years from a culturally diverse staff and the opportunity to source the best talent without bias to location. As other organizations are rapidly moving in this direction, here are five strategies that we've learned for optimizing the remote work opportunity.
1. Communicate Often and Communicate Well
Compensating for the fact that you are not engaging with co-workers in the hallways, over lunch, or during daily stand-ups requires excellent and intentional communication. In fact, don't hesitate to over communicate with both your team and your supervisor. Assume nothing. Set clear expectations. Stay in touch, and be sure not to overlook the importance of casual conversations and humor. A productive work environment is not all work no play and you should get to know your remote colleagues just the same as you would those who work in the office or workspace next to yours.
2. Maintain Face-to-Face Connections
Promet’s president, Andrew Kucharski is insistent on the use of Zoom video conferencing for all meetings -- even ad hoc check-ins. This serves multiple purposes. Of course, it keeps us on our A Game and mitigates against any work-at-home temptation to stay in PJs and slippers all day. More importantly, we are inherently more connected when we see each other’s faces and facial expressions. We’re also more prone to converse and know what’s going on in each other’s lives and to remain accountable to each other.
3. Leverage Technology
This one is huge. The concept of telecommuting has been around for a decade or two, but more so than ever before, we have access to tools that make us wonder why we’d ever waste a potentially productive hour or so every day sitting in traffic or taking public transportation to an office. Teleconferencing, shared calendars, collaborative document authoring tools and Slack are among the multitude of tech resources that enable a global staff to thrive.
4. Acknowledge and Affirm
Remember that all of the same principles of leadership and human dynamics apply when working remotely. Who among us isn’t energized by public acknowledgement, appreciation, and various forms of affirmation? At Promet Source, we encourage shout outs on the companywide Slack channel and through software that is specifically designed to engage employees and emphasize the company culture. New team members are welcomed and introduced during a “two-truths-and-a-lie” activity during company wide video conference calls, and managers are coached to consistently acknowledge team members for their contributions.
5. Recognize Relevant Strengths
Working remotely is a privilege that requires maturity and an excellent work ethic. Not everyone fares well in an environment that lacks the structure of a traditional office. Leadership needs to hire accordingly and cultivate an environment in which the responsibilities and advantages of working remotely are emphasized and built into expectations for every role.
At Promet Source, we do a lot more than develop and design accessible websites that win awards. Our Human-Centered Design workshops help to define the dynamics and the direction for success in any organizational endeavor. Contact us today to learn more.