In response to mass numbers of employees going remote, many for the first time, there’s been an outpouring of lists, columns, and social media on how companies can leverage technology to maintain business as usual. Of course, as a digital consultancy, leveraging tech is business as usual for us. With the abrupt transition, many teams are scrambling to shift to systems that other teams have been lucky to call the norm. As the demand for SaaS workplace tools increases through new and increased usage, companies like Microsoft, Google, Slack, and Zoom are offering increased access to product features for free.
As a tech and digital services agency, those tools are what get us through our day to day successfully. But as much as we love our tech stack, it’s our people we couldn’t do without.
Whether it’s in the office or remote, it’s the human connections behind the digital connections that pull it all together. Once you’re plugged in, we encourage teams to take a moment to look at the human side of technology, otherwise, that tech stack might as well be a Jenga tower with one too many pieces missing at the bottom. From our team to yours, here are our top recommendations for making remote work successful.
1-on-1 Check-Ins Are Your Company’s Pulse Check
If you weren’t doing these before, now is a great time to start. All of Iversoft’s departments have monthly or bi-weekly 1-on-1 syncs between employees and their managers. If you’re a developer, that means face time with the company’s CTO. If you’re a project manager, you’re sitting down with the Studio Director. If you’re a marketer, chat it out with the Director of Digital Services. If you’re an account executive, you get the undivided attention of Iversoft’s CEO.
For staff members, this is direct access to the boss. It’s your own space to talk about how work is progressing, what’s going smoothly, and what’s raising a red flag. For managers, it’s insight into your teams on how team communication is going, what the biggest risks are during transitions, and is an overall company pulse check. This is the place for employees to talk about the reality of the front lines and for managers to respond and pivot to ensure the whole team can move forward effectively.
Project Scrums and Team Meetings Are Your Team Connections
Iversoft has an open office. Easy, quick, and constant communication is a guarantee when staff are at their desks. Every day a cluster of developers roll into our co-working space for scrum. At least once a week it’s a 15-minute takeover of the kitchen. Access and ease of team communication is what allows projects to move forward.
To maintain that connection while remote, using video calls for project scrums keeps the conversations going. Changing the medium shouldn’t change the frequency of discussion. For projects that rely on a lot of communication between team members, be ready to add scrums to maintain the flow and collaboration that is natural in the office. That interaction is yet another space to gauge, not just project status, but how teams are adapting to changes in their new work environment.
Processes and Expectations Should Be Translated, Not Abandoned
If you had a process in the office, don’t toss it when you go remote. Team members need clear expectations for what they should be working on, what deadlines are approaching, and what tasks are considered a priority. Without those clear guidelines, work at the office lacks direction, productivity, and accountability. The same goes for remote work.
Leverage the same tools and uphold the same structure that made work possible in the office. There’s enough to have to adapt to already, so don’t reinvent the wheel where you don’t have to. Teams will rely on managers and the company as a whole to operate in a familiar way.
Alternative Schedules Are the Ultimate Perk to Remote Work
As a company, abandoning or reinventing process and expectations is a sure way to throw employees off their groove in the worst way. But for all the structure that needs to be maintained in order for the company to operate, having flexibility with people’s schedules lets employees work when they are personally the most productive, and helps them reduces stress by being able to handle other aspects of life without guilt.
Ask your team to be available to connect during core business hours and communicate any blocks where getting in touch may mean slow or delayed responses. Especially as employees move through uncertain times and uncomfortable changes, giving leeway to adapt is the best thing a company can do in order to make it out the other side. For every company transitioning to remote-first work, remember, it’s not the tech, it’s the people.