Since the COVID-19 pandemic has swept over countries worldwide, many businesses have found themselves working remotely for the first time.
Working remotely assures everybody can stay safe in their homes, and businesses can still carry on the essential activities for their survival.
A forced transition to a remote setting is quite different from a company gradually preparing and moving out of the office.
Here’s how to organize and move all your processes to a remote setting.
How the Timeneye Team went remote
Timeneye is based in Italy.
As you can imagine, since the beginning of the health crisis in our country, we immediately switched all our staff to a remote setting to comply with our country lockdown rules and look after everybody’s health, both inside and outside the team.
Thankfully, to this day everybody in the team is safe and healthy, and we continue to work to provide our service as best as we can.
In these circumstances, we also had to adapt our whole working routine to make sure the team could work and keep aligned with our goals and plans for 2020.
(…and we have BIG plans for 2020!)
If you too, reading this blog, are moving all your team and processes to remote, these tips will help you stay organized and work effectively.
How to manage your remote team for the first time
- Set weekly team objectives
- Organize your office online
- Keep in touch (virtually)
- Fix weekly check-ins with the team
- Help the team to manage time
#1 Set weekly team objectives
Focusing on objectives rather than individual tasks should be good practice for businesses in any circumstances.
For remote teams, objectives are what keeps the team going.
Organizing and monitoring the work around clear goals keeps everybody aligned, and provides managers with clear metrics to evaluate the team’s performance.
For example, in our team we’ve been experimenting with OKRs. We actually started back in January, to have a better framework to measure our work, but since we’ve gone remote, our OKRs have become the North stars for our daily work.
(Would you like to know more about implementing the OKRs methodology in a remote setting? Let us know in the comments!)
Every week, we give ourselves our weekly goals, and assign the tasks we’ll carry out during the week. Then at the end of the week, we update our progress on our goal tracking software (I’ll explain in detail that later on).
#2 Organize your office online
Remote work has seen a huge spike in recent years thanks to the leaps forward in cloud software and SaaS solutions. Now that half the world is going remote, these solutions are more crucial than ever.
A remote team needs to keep all the projects, tasks, deadlines, materials, attachments, team communications in one place. Since that place cannot be your physical office, use project management software instead.
Most project management software allows users to upload documents, assign tasks, and leave comments for the whole team to see.
#3 Keep in touch (virtually)
Remote teams often face communication challenges due to the distributed nature of the team and possible timezone issues.
But communication is key in every project, even more so in remotely-managed ones.
In the beginning, we too struggled with our communication as a remote team: we were used to sharing the same office space together, and we had to learn to hop on videocalls and keep track of endless chat threads.
So make full use of chat and video conference software to keep in touch, ask questions, or just to say hello and break the isolation circle.
(One friendly advice for you: don’t work in your pajamas)
#4 Set weekly check-ins with the team members
Once you’ve done all the planning, how do you make sure that the work actually progresses?
In our team, every member is responsible to share weekly updates on their work. We also have a weekly conference call where we discuss priorities, plans, and possible issues.
We update these “Weekly reflections” by pointing out:
- The steps forward we made;
- If we’re on track with deadlines and timelines;
- How confident we are that we can reach the goal online
- If we’re lacking any tools to carry out our tasks or if we need technical support
And so on.
#5 Help the team to manage time
Working comfortably from home sounds like a dream come true for many people.
However, it’s not always as easy as it seems. People can struggle with keeping focused at work and establishing boundaries from work and life.
Managing time effectively while working from home is crucial – so this is why you should have your team track the time they spend working, and on what.
Not to mention, companies need this information for payroll and purposes.
Time tracking can help remote teams stay organized, deliver projects on time, and make sure the work is paid appropriately.
Software solutions to manage remote teams
Having a proper set of tools is as essential as having well-established processes and workflows.
Our team’s been using Koan for tracking OKRs, because it’s easy to use and it has the “Weekly reflection” feature. For task management, we use Asana. Obviously, we keep track of our time with Timeneye, as we’ve been doing for the past 6+ years.
All these tools help us deliver our service and keep us going even in these difficult times!
Has your company gone remote? How did you manage your transition? Let us know in the comments!
And of course, stay home and stay safe!