A client I caught up with this week is transitioning from being based in an office to having his team working remotely and asked me for some tips on how our team handle being virtual. His areas of concern were email overwhelm, file storage and communication.
Here’s what I told David:
- Work with people you trust: working remotely well depends a lot on who you work with. You need to trust they’ll do everything from home they’d do in an office (and then some).
- Invest in a good project management tool: which will also help solve email overwhelm. By having information, conversations and documents in one central location (and this should be a must even if you’re working from an office) you’ll achieve your desired outcomes while avoiding email overwhelm.
- Be outcome focused: this allows you to manage without micro-managing. You’re not going to be there every step of the way and that’s a good thing!
- Have face to face conversations: whether that’s a weekly coffee in a local cafe or a zoom, you can’t replace face to face conversation with email and messaging. This is particularly important while you transition.
- Find tools to help replace being in the office: for instance a quick loom video can walk your team through an instruction or guide much better than an email will. Facebook messenger or a similar chat tool is great for those quick messages and we use Slack to communicate as a team with channels for wins, tips, updates and support.
- Ensure systems are up to date: being virtual it’s even more important to have systems in place for consistency and to ensure everyone knows what they are doing … when … how.
- Clearly communicate the benefits so your team are onboard: these include no time in a daily commute, the ability to work without distraction, the flexibility to work around their schedules, having more time with their families (and that’s just a few).
- Consider how you will pay your team: are you paying for time on task, are you paying for set hours worked per day or will you look at a contractor or retainer type package? Talk to your team about the best way to make this arrangement fair to both parties.
- Clearly communicate the challenges of a virtual environment: your team can feel isolated and alone, some might miss the buzz of being in the office and around people. Allow for this and put systems in place so this doesn’t happen.
- Introduce virtual team members: having experienced virtual assistants, online business managers or contractors join you can help your team make the transition. Use their experience to incorporate processes they use where they compliment or improve yours.
With planning and systems in place, the transitioning of your team to virtual can result in a happier, more efficient and productive team which flows through to a more profitable and productive business or organisation. Who doesn’t want that!
Download our guide below with tips and tools to help you with your transition: