In light of recent events, a lot of businesses that can, are now shifting to a Work From Home (WFH) arrangement or set-up. Scrolling through my Facebook Feed, I see a lot of entrepreneurs asking questions. I even jumped on a call with one person. (Hi David! 👋)
There are a lot of different systems and ways that you can manage your newly shifted remote team and the tips I am going to share here is definitely just one of the ways. As you all adjust to the WFH set-up, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t.
A little background.
Before Alla and I built our completely remote team in ineedamichee.com, we were part of remote teams as well. Some were small and some were big. When we started building our own team, we both looked back at our own experiences and from there took what we liked, what we would’ve wanted and what we disliked and that defined our team culture.
1. Realize and ACCEPT that as soon as your team works from home, they will no longer work at the same hours.
Yup. Even if you all are in the same city, that is not going to happen. Why? Because the environment at home is different from your office.
At home, there are a lot of other factors, such as children, family members, furbabies and chores. So, working on a strict 9-5 for everyone? Nope. Not gonna happen.
WHAT WE DID:
All of our current team are in the same time zone. Different provinces but same time zone. What we did is we set-up a working window.
Everybody should be in at 10AM and done by 9PM. Doesn’t matter to me if you want to start at 7AM or 10AM, or end at 7PM or 9PM. What matters to me is that you finish what you need to do and you follow the window.
2. Over Communicate
Not being able to see everybody will be a huge shift so communication will be key. It should already be a key in any business but double down on it.
It’s different when you need to discuss something with someone and all you need to do is hop to their cubicle vs sending a DM and waiting for a response which can either come right away or later.
Same thing goes when you need someone to do something. In an office you approach the person and you’re good, now you need to seek a “written” (err typed) acknowledgement.
WHAT WE DID:
We have ingrained in our team that they cannot, not message us enough.
One of the things we implemented in our Slack is that we all check-in and out. We send a short message when we’re clocking in to work and when we’re logging off. More than that, we also send a short message if we’re stepping away and for how long.
Here are actual examples:
3. Have a Task Management System Online
If you have an existing one that works for everyone, use that and keep 👏 it 👏 updated 👏. If you don’t, please have one.
WHAT WE USE AND DO:
We use Asana because both Alla and I want to keep things simple. We want a list of everything that we need to do.
I personally like the fact that I have the option to look at everything that I need to do for the day collectively, meaning across clients and projects. And then I can also view tasks per client and per team member.
One thing that we do as well is we keep it updated. I delegate and put everything in there in the morning so when my team comes in, they can check a list of things they need to do and from there, they can prioritize and plan their days.
We also utilize it in such a way that any task should have all the necessary information, access, docs and details in it. This lessens the back and forth. The team opens their task, there are no roadblocks. Everything’s in there.
Remember, in a remote team, asking for one thing can sometimes take hours because the person who can give that access or what-not may be busy or away.
4. Build a routine and teach your team to build one too
It helps to be a bit predictable when you’re managing a remote team so they also know what to expect. It’s similar to them seeing and knowing that they’ll see you in your office from 9-5. This will also help you adjust with working from home.
WHAT WE DO:
In our team, everyone knows that the first thing I do is delegate so they know that by around 11AM, they should have their final new tasks in. These are tasks that are beyond their daily recurring ones. So while waiting they work on those first.
They also know that my brain is dead by 11AM - 2PM so that’s when I step away and do my errands, chores and all the things I personally need to do. They know that they’ll get answers and feedback from me after 2PM.
If you check our Slack, you’ll see that they’ve learned to have their routines too because I have mine.
5. Listen to your team and ACCEPT that changes will happen.
Just like #1, you have to accept that what you’ve initially set-up for your new remote team will keep evolving. The dynamics of WFH is different for everyone so you need to have an open mind with what your team is telling you.
WHAT WE DO:
We literally ask for feedback. A good example is this - we’ve set weekly meetings with the entire team and we did that until they all suggested that if there’s really nothing big to discuss, let’s just not meet. It is a waste of time to meet for nothing right?
We listened and so what we did is we made sure that the weekly meeting is still blocked in everyone’s calendar so that if we do need to meet, we don’t need to chat about schedules. But now, when there is nothing big to discuss, we just drop a simple message like, “hey, no meeting today.”
I think this is a good start! And I think once you and your team get a hand of working from home, you’ll never wanna go back.
If you have more questions drop them below and we can work on helping you out.