It’s been a year of learning, change, and adaptation; particularly for how we run our businesses. For many, it’s been the first time we’ve had to work remotely for more than a day or two, quickly re-jigging processes and systems to enable entire teams to keep things humming from kitchen tables and spare rooms-turned-offices.
If you’re thinking you might like to keep up remote working in some way, we’ve collated our 5 top tips & tricks to help you use technology to your advantage and create a virtual workspace everyone will enjoy logging on for!
Without the morning commute, we all suddenly have a bit more time on our hands. Many people do find themselves to be more productive first thing in the morning, and if people in your team are early birds, let them catch the proverbial worm by jumping online and getting stuck into things in order to wrap their day up a bit earlier.
Use email footers and autoresponders to communicate availability with clients and if you’re concerned about coverage, ensure your client teams have a split of people that like to start early and those that might stay online a little later.
Without the water cooler, it is easier for team members to feel cut off or disconnected from the larger operation of the office. If you haven’t already done so, utilise a video platform like Microsoft teams or Zoom for daily “Standups” where you can all quickly connect and run through what’s happening for the day. A messaging platform like Teams, Slack, or FaceBook Workplace can also help to quickly and easily check in with one another and be used to share wins, good use, and office-wide updates.
Ask your marketing assistant to make up branded virtual backgrounds if team members feel a bit camera shy. Canva is a free online tool that has templates you can use to create your own.
Get set up for success
It’s hard to ask your team to be as efficient and effective from home as they’d be at the office if their set up is lacking. If you haven’t gotten around to checking in on everyone’s set up, now is the time to do so. Ask team members if anything is holding them back or missing from their set up that might make working from home uncomfortable, and allow them to loan items from the office.
Keep a (digital) register of what goes out so you can keep track of everything.
Automate wherever possible
Some processes just can’t be done in the same way from the home office, so it’s a great time to list out the clunky tasks taking up your team’s time and consider whether or not they can be automated, or if you can utilise technology to make the task a bit easier. Some great examples of processes ripe for automation or a technological refresh include implementing a client portal to help with digital document distribution and signing, making the switch to a more robust document management system, or streamlining your compliance workpapers management with an automated solution.
Run a virtual session with the team to help identify the processes giving them grief, then rate those against the effort required to implement a solution and the impact of making it happen.
Make it easy for clients
Of course, working remotely won’t work at all if your team’s absence from the office is causing issues for clients. Make it easy for your clients by including direct phone numbers in your email footers (and ensure those are diverted to mobiles), updating your website with that contact information too, and have online meeting information automatically populated into your calendar appointments (Calendly allows you to integrate with Microsoft Teams or Zoom to do this).
Use your email newsletter to keep your clients updated with your plans and office arrangements.
While technology certainly makes it possible for your business to operate successfully with your team working remotely, it’s crucial that management set clear expectations for team members in terms of outputs and availability, to maintain client satisfaction and ensure the virtual work arrangements “work” for everybody.
If you’d like to chat about how Business Fitness’ range of smart solutions can help your team to work efficiently and effectively regardless of your office environment, reach out to us anytime, or visit our website to learn more.