The impact of Covid-19 pushed many businesses to embrace flexible, remote working.
According to Ann Francke, head of the Chartered Management Institute, the effect was so big that it might, ‘change the workplace forever.’
The good news for you, dear reader, is we’ve been working remotely for many years now. So, we’re well-positioned to share our experience around what works. That way, we can do our bit for any organisation looking to get better at remote working.
Feed your culture
The shift to remote working will create challenges within your culture. No longer can your team gather around the water cooler and listen to Barry from Sales run through his latest roster of dad-jokes. Oh, the humanity.
However, there’s plenty you can do to preserve your culture (and indeed, grow it) whilst working remotely. Here are some ideas:
Schedule 1-1s. Hold regular online 1-1s will give your management team opportunity to understand how staff are adapting to remote work. It also gives you the chance to solidify relationships and resolve issues before they become big problems.
Hold social events. Sprinkle the calendar with online quizzes, casual meetings, and other fun activities, you’ll create a group of people that feel connected.
Reaffirm business values. Make time for online workshops and conversations around your values, will help clarify the culture you’re trying to create. You can also use this time to clarify business goals and the vision for the company to get everyone pulling in the same direction.
When you get it right, you’ll nourish your culture and build a happy remote workplace. And of course to do this, you’ll need the right software.
Provide the right tools
Naturally, you’re going to rely on apps and the cloud to make remote working a success for your team.
You’ll need to tick a few fundamentals. Consider looking at apps that cover:
Tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams make it easy for your staff to chat with each other and collaborate on projects.
Project management. Who’s in charge of what, again? You need project management software to keep track of things. Basecamp, Asana, Monday – there are many choices.
It’s no longer an option to let staff use their own apps or ignore the power of the cloud. You need cloud-based productivity suites like Microsoft365 or G Suite.
When it comes to your marketing needs, we can heartily recommend all-in-one solutions like HubSpot. It handles your social media, email marketing, blogging, sales, and much more.
Train your marketing team
It’s easy to assume that your newly remote staff will just do their same jobs, except now, they’ll be at home. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. You’ll want to put some time toward training them in a few specific areas.
What should training include? Here are some ideas:
Software productivity. Ideally, you want all of your staff to become power-users that can get the most productivity out of their apps. To make this a reality, research best practices and hold regular workshops so staff can share what they’ve learnt with each other.
Time management tips and tricks. Help staff better manage their schedule and become productivity ninjas by providing learning resources and workshops.
Managing workloads and prioritisation. There’s less hand-holding with remote working, so your staff need to know how to get on with things themselves. This means management might need to give more structure and support so staff understand their workloads and priorities.
Give your team more responsibility
Now that your team members are remote, gone are the days where you can look over their shoulder to see what they’re doing. (We hope you weren’t doing that, anyway!)
The upside? This is a great opportunity to empower your staff so that they become more pro-active and productive.
It’s also a good time to uncover future leaders. As Nathan Hirsch, Founder of Outsource School, says: ‘Working remotely with your team is the best time to find out who has the leadership potential.’
Here are some ideas to support your staff and give them the opportunity to take on more responsibility:
Let staff choose how they complete a task or project. If there’s more than one way to do something, leave it to them to find what works best.
Trust your team to get the job done and let them fail on occasion. Ideally, let them make these mistakes when the stakes are low.
Include everyone in goal setting and planning so everyone can ‘buy-in’ to their work and get fired up to hit their own and company-wide goals.
Secure the business
Unfortunately, remote working can create unique IT security issues that you simply can’t ignore.
You don’t need security that rivals Mi5, but you do need to get the fundamentals right. These are:
Train staff to use effective passwords and use password management software.
Establish which devices and operating systems are OK to use for remote working.
Set up firewalls and recommend antivirus software on all devices.
Turn on automatic updates so everyone runs the latest (and most secure) software version.
For a more detailed look at what secure IT looks like for a remote working business, here’s a complete guide.
Don’t lose track of your marketing
Long-term flexible working is a challenge that many businesses struggle to solve.
By getting your culture right, using the right applications, and following the rest of our advice, you’ll be well on your way to making a success of it.
However, if you aren’t careful, the change to flexible working can affect your marketing performance. To hold a mirror up to your marketing efforts, and get a quick, accurate snapshot of how your marketing is really going, download our free marketing maturity matrix below.