For a long time, remote work was either a way for a lean business to save office costs or a way to organize cooperation between people who could not work together otherwise (e.g., those living in different locations). However, the pandemic turned everything upside down in a matter of weeks.
Now working remotely is the new norm, and even after the restrictions end, it is hard to imagine that things will get back to the way they were. Remote work is here for a long haul, but many businesses still find it difficult to acclimate to it. So what does transitioning to this new model entail? Let’s take a closer look.
1. Using Project Management Software
Project management tools can be extremely helpful for any business, but they become truly indispensable once your team starts working remotely. When everybody is in the same office, it is relatively easy to keep track of what everybody is doing and how each project progresses. Project management software allows you to do the same no matter where everybody is.
2. Establishing A VoIP Phone System
Once a business reaches a specific size, it cannot do without a dedicated phone system. However, while a single-office company can do with a traditional landline, once all your employees are spread out, VoIP (Voice over IP) becomes the only viable option. Fortunately, these days there are plenty of ways to set up a VoIP phone system for small business using this protocol. The only hardware you need for it is desktop phones – and you can do even without them.
3. Using Time Tracking Tools
While some studies show that people working from the comfort of their home show a boost in productivity, this does not apply to everyone. A lot depends on the personality and temperament of an individual, as well as corporate structure and culture. Some people find transitioning to the home office environment to be incredibly difficult: they cannot focus on their work, procrastinate and overestimate their ability to finish this or that task on schedule.
If you find the productivity of your team taking a dip and staying at a low level even after the initial transitional period, it may be wise to invest in time-tracking solutions to give more structure to the new arrangement.
4. Using Video Conferences
While email, messengers, and phone calls serve well for urgent and relatively impersonal tasks, they do not help to deal with a very common problem of remote work: growing distance and alienation between team members. When your colleagues turn into nothing more than occasional lines of text and voices in your headphones, it is easy to lose the sense of connection and belonging.
Occasional video conferences gathering numerous team members simultaneously, while not being able to replace face-to-face communication, can let colleagues retain connections with each other and the sense of working together. Using conferences for scheduled team bonding events is especially useful. The fact that everybody stays at home should not prevent you from having a nice talk over a coffee.
5. Making Documents And Information Commonly Available And Shareable
Newly remote workers may find it surprisingly challenging to get the necessary documents and information from their colleagues. What used to be a matter of dropping by and asking a question now requires getting through using electronic means of communication, and there is no guarantee that the person in question will be available when you need him/her. It can be solved by using cloud solutions to make the majority of documents available for all members of the team so that they can access them on their own without wasting anybody’s time.
While the transition to remote work became an unpleasant surprise for many, it can become an opportunity to make yourself and your team more efficient – do not forgo it.
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