How to transfer to a Remote office during COVID-19?
22 April 2020
We know that you probably have the most amazing employees. Otherwise, they wouldn't work for your company, right? Nowadays, however, most people are required to work from home. Some of them are not used to it. Some of them may not even like it. But if you did a good job while hiring, you have at your disposal the best people to go through this.
We, on the other hand, have 5+ years of experience within the subject of working remotely (plus a tremendous passion for remote work). And, of course, we'd like to help you be successful in your transition to managing a remote team.
Here are our best practices for the situation.
1. Have confidence in your team
These are the same people that you meet in the office every day. Stacy from marketing with her collection of coffee mugs. Wojtek from IT with his wild beard. Even George from accounting, who saves every cent for the greater good of your company! So, if you know that they are good at what they do at the office, what would be the difference if they worked from a different place? Practically, there is NO difference. You have to have trust in them. This by itself won't mean much if you do not let your people know. Let them know that you have confidence in them. You speak to their better selves, and people are want to live up to the trust they are given.
2. Focus on results, not hours
You pay your employees per hour, we understand that. We also do the same for many reasons. But this doesn't mean that the success measure in your team needs to be hours. As a good manager, you must know how much work goes into a particular deliverable. Then it is irrelevant to know with precision if the person worked 8 hours or 8.30 hours today. The important thing is that they make a fair contribution in their workday, not the details such as 30min more or less. The best practice is to agree on clear expectations with your team (e.g. weekly) and to use those goals as the measurement of success.
Most teams see an increase in productivity when they work remotely. We certainly do.
3. Make sure the workplace communication is thriving
Awkward small talk in the canteen? Staff meetings? Bad coffee? What is your favorite office topic? No matter what, you and your team must keep it going. Scheduling daily video calls is the best way of achieving that. Internal communication is so vital that it needs to be built into the workday. Employees need feedback. Managers need to delegate tasks and make decisions. Teams need to discuss common goals. In the 21st century with the abundance of digital tools, nothing prevents you from having effective communication. So keep it going!
4. Organize social events for your team
Initially, most people were excited about the opportunity to work from home. But spending over 3 weeks locked in your apartment is not fun, even for the hardcore introverts. Naturally, people will start to be less focused and less engaged when they spend all of their days inside their apartments (especially the extroverts). The trick is to realize that this problem is actually an opportunity. Now everyone has time for social activities with their teammates, and they would welcome social activities more than ever. We do ourselves e.g. gaming video calls; some companies do drink-of-choice video calls. It's a great way to take care of the well-being of your team, and it will have a good impact on collaboration and performance. Bonus tip: Ask for volunteers to organize and facilitate this!
5. Be compassionate towards work-life conflicts
Sometimes messages will be answered slowly. Sometimes you won't hear from a person for a while. This doesn't mean that they are hiding. They might be overworking themselves so have time to cook a meal for lunch. Or their toddler might have just tried his new crayons on the living room's wall. Or any other number of family and personal issues. The art of balancing life and work can be hard in such an environment. So, everyone should be understanding and compassionate. Because your personal and professional life is now closer than ever before. And the two can often be in conflict. If you do not show your team that you care about them and their families, why would they care about your company?
We at RemoteMore hope that the pandemic of COVID-19 will end soon. Just like everyone else, we love going outside and meeting people. But we understand that staying home is the right thing to do. So we work from home, instead of our going to coworking space in the heart of Berlin. We are in the same shoes as your team.
We hope that our advice helped you. And if so, why don't you start hiring developers remotely? You can start small by executing one project with 2-3 remote developers. You will find the top 5% remote developers with us. Or if you are a developer, create your developer profile and get the best remote jobs with RemoteMore.