Working from home is the new black; everybody is doing it if they possibly can. But what do you need to make sure that this works as efficiently as working together?
- Trust your team! If you’ve recruited the right people they will understand their responsibility to work without somebody breathing over their shoulder.
- Have clear systems. Ensure that everybody does things consistently and the right way by having clear, documents systems.
- Make sure that everybody knows what they’re doing. Training is essential but also clear job descriptions to set out who does what.
- Have a means of allocating work. Some business may have workflow management software but you may choose to use something like Trello to share jobs around.
- Have a means of communicating informally to replace some of the office chitchat. Slack or Microsoft ‘Teams’ are often used for this. Rumour has it that Xero have an entire channel devoted to pets. People can not work 100% all the time so breaks with colleagues are helpful
- Ability to share data. Using cloud based software or a hosted desktop will enable your team to work on the same data without having to email files backwards and forwards. A paperless office has no paper but scans which can be stored and read anywhere.
- Help your team to manage their time. The Pomodoro technique is a useful method based on 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of rest. After a few cycles your team should take a longer break. Everybody will have their own best method so don’t impose one if somebody is already managing their time well.
- No man is an island. Even most introverts need occasional face to face interaction. Most remote or international teams try to meet up in person at least once a year. Until restrictions are lifted it may be a good idea to have a regular virtual meetup for team building purposes.
- Check ins. It may be helpful to check in with your team at regular intervals. It is common to have a 10-15 minute team huddle at a fixed time (usually in the morning) to ensure that everybody is clear on their tasks for the day and has an opportunity to ask questions.
Working from home is the new way of life. It provides the flexibility required to enable parents, carers and disabled to make a valuable contribution to your business.