In 2020, when the pandemic lockdown first started, we were forced change up our lives QUICK. Everything went remote…starting with work.
I’ve observed a ton of creativity in integrating home offices in kitchens, living rooms and even in closets (yes cloffices are a thing now!).
In the beginning it was new and even fun. Bonus Zoom meeting points if someone is balancing a baby on one hip or has a sourdough starter fermenting on the counter.
Now we’re all complaining about Zoom fatigue like it’s the new PTSD.
Our team was 80% remote even before the pandemic, so we weren’t as affected as most, but we evolved our team processes quite a bit as a result of the pandemic.
So, if you are looking to start a brand new business, grow your office, figure out how to improve your existing operations remote situation, or just want an article to show your boss that there may be a better way other than using mouse movement tracker software, check out these tips for remote working.
Best Apps for Remote Working
If the remote working trend continues, you’ll want to lean into virtual collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, and Asana. More than just remote team management apps, these tools make it possible to continue to work together like a well oiled machine…provided you have:
- an internet connection
- a reasonable typing speed (50+ WPM or we’re sending you back to Mavis Beacon)
- and on my team, a solid emoji game is essential to be on our Slack 🔙 2️⃣ 🟦 1️⃣
Oh and speaking of Slack…this is an incredible way to get a conversation going between larger groups of people. Surprisingly, it is more effective than if all these people were in the same room talking. We’ve been on slack channels with 300+ people involved. Imagine trying to do that IRL. I’m getting stressed just thinking about it!
Remote Project Management Challenges and Solutions
Remote project management is tough because people don’t generally like to be tracked – it feels too much like micromanagement. When you’re operating virtually, you want a management tool that, if used well, can make up for the lack of physical interaction BUT not make everyone feel like they’re reliving 1984. It’s a fine balance that we’re still perfecting, but tools like Asana and Basecamp make it much easier to track status without dealing with a revolt.
We’ve mentioned Asana twice already and it’s definitely worth checking out. Oh and it’s got a free tier which can meet most team’s needs…
Training Remote Employees
This is a challenge. So much of the onboarding process is about communication and when people are remote, the communication is handicapped significantly. What makes up for that?
We’ve found that structure helps. It ain’t sexy, but bringing on a new team member requires a easy-to-follow schedule of activities that can get a new hire up-to-speed asap. A loose agenda leads to confusion and that leads to frustration especially when everyone’s sitting alone in their cloffice. This is a process where task management tools like Asana and Basecamp can be invaluable btw.
Lastly, we realized that when you know your teammate is going to be starting off in a remote setting, raising the bar in terms of experience and skill level is important. While it’s not good news for the entry level youngsters, we recommend hiring self motivated people that require minimal training when you know it’s a remote position.
Best Remote Team Building Activities
When you’re virtual, there’s less opportunity for team-building activities to boost team morale. But we’ve found that hosting things like a remote team lunch or an after-hours team happy hour can be a fun way of bonding. Yes, it’s another video conference, but there’s no work expectations, just laughing. The benefit to these informal get-togethers is that everyone gets to have exactly what they want, unlike when you have in-person team lunches and you’re at the mercy of whoever was in charge of catering it.\
The pandemic created a whole new way of working and even as we recover, the world will never go back to working the old way.
So if you are one of the many companies and teams that are planning to evolve your definition of “work”, make sure you get the right tools, have the right focus, and communicate changes thoroughly so you can thrive in your new work environment whether it’s virtually, physically, or whimsically (our fave).
…oh and if your boss is still trying to track your mouse movement, try this out.