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How to keep staff
up when working remotely
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We recently were asked a question from a team manager we know. They work for a large multi-national with offices here in NZ who have decided to implement a mix of working from home and working in the office while introducing very stringent isolation criteria to proactively limit the spread of Coronavirus, or other viral illnesses, at this time.
We were asked:
“How do I keep people motivated to work when they are not naturally adept at working from home.”
Some of our team have always had the ability to work-from-home. Anyone working in a problem solving or creative role knows the value of uninterrupted hours to focus on a complex issue or task.
Like any unique team, the answer that works for this manager is going to be made up of a complex of different actions and what works for one personality type may not work for another but here are some insights based on our experience.
Perhaps they can be useful for your organisation too:
Four key ideas:
1. Daily “standup” video calls.
If everyone knows that at 9am you all have to be on a video call and you need to be prepared to be called upon or give an update then they are more prepared to do the work in-between these group talks.
Other ways to do this is to have a group chat set up where everyone has roll call at a certain time of the day, 9am or 3pm perhaps, where they text in a short (140 characters anyone?) summary of what they are working on now.
2. CC your line manager.
It is amazing how much can get missed when you are not working within the same 4 walls. One effective method I have seen before is a pre-agreement that all key communications (anything that includes an agreement to do something, a meeting to discuss or a client facing activity) should include a CC of the appropriate line manager. That way they can keep across what is happening and step in when needed. The alternative is a busy manager running around trying to ask all of their team what they are doing and that’s the opposite of productivity.
3. Realistic and clear goals
If office spaces are great for communication, teleworking is wonderful for concentrating on focused work. So, if your team are sent home it might be wise to re-prioritise the work that needs focus and quiet to deliver and accept that (as long as they are non-essential) some of the tasks that require collaboration will not happen.
If your team’s kpi’s are based on client interactions or sales then do you need to run some strategy sessions on how to approach this without face to face contact? Or, if your responsibilities are more to do with accounts and statistics is this the perfect time to start working on that digitization project you keep putting off?
4. Reach out for “coffee” with team and managers
If you were in the office you might walk up to someone’s desk or catch them at lunch time for a quick talk.
If that becomes something you can’t do the reasonable thought would be to switch to phone calls… except that Millennials (and some others) hate answering their phones and might be tempted to screen unplanned calls.
Arrange to make a call and talk as you both break for coffee – this way all of your planned conversations aren’t formal meetings. Also, refer back to my first point about group chat tools.
Our staff have written their answers to some common objections that arise around the idea of Teleworking:
Don’t people just want to work from home all day so they can watch Ellen and work in their pajamas?
Yes, I love putting Ellen on mute in the mornings. It reminds me that it is 9am already and I need to get a move on with my work. Yes, I do wear comfortable clothing when I work from home but ALWAYS get changed and start the day fresh.
Working from home is a Millennial thing. Us Boomers never had that luxury and neither should you. What’s wrong with just working in the office?
Well, at the moment there’s a strong argument for remote working because of disease prevention but Teleworking can also be a fantastic, affordable way to expand your operations into new locations or to manage teams across multiple countries without the huge overheads of placing managers everywhere. In years past the equivalent was the hard working professional holed up in their garage trying to get a new venture off the ground or to get ahead in their work.
It is going to be really expensive to set up working from home.
Teleworking is a huge industry and there are lots of companies who will tell you that you must have the latest hardware and software. Much of the tools that you can use in your office can be used at home and scaled up or down depending on the needs of your individual staff. Does everyone really need a mobile, deskphone, laptop and wifi connection? A CEO and a junior administrator are going to need different levels of resource.
We will deal with it when we have to.
Many kiwi businesses thrive on being lean and responsive so business owners need to be discerning on how much new investment they make but it is worth being aware that if your whole team needs to go into isolation then you won’t have anyone available to implement the changes you might need. Now is really the time to plan and ensure that if you need to send your staff home you will be able to deliver services.
Time to get your team ready to work remotely?
You can speak to us today about our remote working solutions that can help you.
- With the simple addition of a WLAN adapter at home to your your MiVoice licence you can set up your Mitel phone at home.
- With MiCollab you can connect with customers and team members from anywhere with the helpful app.
- With the Jabra Panacast and Speak Speakerphone you can professionally video call with confidence.
We can review your current Telephony or Unified Communication Platform and recommend and features or services that are available for you to be as prepared as possible.
Our Sales team are available to talk through any telephony or data questions you might have. You can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more:
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Takapuna, Auckland 0622, New Zealand
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