Remote Work

The lockdown and the COVID-19 global pandemic have been an unpleasant surprise without a doubt. However, discovering that your team can work through any adversity, surpass any hurdle and work from home with ease has been highly rewarding. Finding out what we as a team can do with limited tools, limited resources, and limited communication has been nothing short of refreshing. 

But what happens when we go back? Do we just resume our normal workdays? I don’t think that can happen. 

During the work from home days, we completely changed the dynamic and learned so many things along the way. This whole period has been a helpful learning experience and I think we will continue to accomplish a lot at the office by holding on to things that have worked for you in the time of the mandatory work from home. 

We must remember and keep working for perfection with these drawdown plans. The guidelines we plotted for remote work can still help us out when we get back to the office. After all, we made the following easier, more effective and frictionless:

  • Communication
  • Review
  • Submission
  • Delivery

We achieved more in less time and we owe it all to the excessive planning and strategizing we did to utilize every minute and every resource more efficiently and more methodically. This is why I made a list of all those things that I helped us be on track during the WFH period that I would like to follow through even when we go back to the office.

#1 Prioritizing The People

When remote work season hit we were all worried. It was a time of crisis and still is. But while we tried to ease into it, it was more apparent than ever how we were all in this together

As leaders, we are guilty of taking for granted the health of our employees, be it mental or emotional. The pandemic has shown us that employees need space, they need nurturing, they need us to be there for them. 

Prioritizing employees should not be something that we practice only when a crisis hits, we should always be treating our employees like the valuable assets that they are.

The first lesson I am taking away from this whole episode is how important it is for us to be there for our employees. And I vow to do that from day one as we turn a new leaf on this journey. 

I am going to prioritize the safety, the health, and the emotional intelligence of my employees above all else. Here’s how we can do it: 

  • Just like we did in the WFH period, we must give more time to our employees and be more accessible to them. 
  • We must recognize and appreciate their inputs and their contribution to the whole organization. 
  • We must stay more aware of their needs and help them through tough times.

#2 Setting Specific Guidelines

Another thing that WFH taught us is that discipline makes us more focussed and more goal-oriented as a team. This is why I think we should continue adhering to guidelines for maximum productivity. 

During the lockdown period, we focussed on prioritizing what would benefit the organization and started to have a head-on approach to solve problems. Streamlining this whole process took sticking to specific guidelines. 

Here at ProofHub, this is how we made our guidelines work for improving accountability and making communication more effective during this critical phase:

  • We made guidelines for controlling how the team collaborated by setting up which channels to use for different kinds of communication. 
  • It included pointers about the sign in and sign out timings that explained the how the work hours are supposed to be like.  
  • Within those guidelines, we also mentioned the permissible amount of time for an employee to get back to the team to answer questions related to the projects.
  • We kept guidelines on how to save and organize documents so that no work done is lost. 
  • We also established certain secure channels for sharing information across platforms easily.
  • Accounting for resources and parameters that help you closely track the employees are also some things that we learned to establish for ease in management.  

I, just like many other leaders, would like to witness this trend of discipline thrive at the workplace even after we are through with the mandated lockdown procedures.

#3 Sticking to Communication Via Tools

The only thing we, say, could not take a dip into during this period was meaningless communication. Earlier, we used to spend time small talking with our co-workers and chatting it up with our colleagues, and that does not happen anymore. 

But that’s okay! We got our communication tool for casual chats that gave us channels for shop talk and catching up on personal conversations. Here is how communication through these tools has helped us to perform better:

  • It helped with time management.
  • We could share images, media files, sheets, documents with ease. 
  • Everyone could share their thoughts in a private space. 
  • We had the option to create a group or talk individually to anyone in the team. 

Virtual Communication tools have given us a centralized location dedicated to the kind of communication we would like to have with each other as a team would work well for any workplace, WFH, or not, instead of walking down to each other’s desk. This saves time, and at the same time gives us the much needed space we need to carry out our casual conversations.

#4 Reporting & Reviewing

With remote work guidelines and reliable tools, we have overturned the process of vigorous review sessions along with reporting. This is where project management tools can help you a lot (Don’t underestimate the value of a tool such as a grammar or plagiarism checker in making projects run smoother). We hope to continue using these tools to untangle the web of confusion. 

The reasons why we would still be sticking to these tools for reviewing and reporting are:

  • Reporting tools help keep everyone by allowing you to be on the same page. 
  • Tracking individual performance and project progress becomes easier. 
  • Reduces the need for too much communication by helping you clearly state expectations. 
  • Leaves little room for error. 

A simplified reviewing process proved highly beneficial to us in the WFH period and I am excited to see all that it can do for us when we get back. 

#5 Organizing & Decluttering

This is one thing that I was wanting to put into motion for quite a while but I hadn’t had the right opportunity. Thanks to us shifting to remote work, I was able to enforce organizing and decluttering during WFH. This is because I saw how there was no moving forward with a system that no one could understand or operate. 

We should continue the habit of organizing because:

  • You can delegate tasks more efficiently. 
  • Categorize files and attach them to tasks. 
  • Documents can be easily saved, shifted to different folders. 
  • We can easily stop losing important files when needed and discard the ones that are in no use anymore.

The tools we started to use as a team to organize and the habits we developed to be uncluttered for better productivity is what I am going to take to the office and make use of in the foreseeable future. 

To Sum Up

These are some things that we took away from remote working over the period of the last couple of months. Though we found it easy to maneuver right in the end, I think it is important that we give credit to all those efforts that were put in to make this into a smooth-running process. And, not to forget the technology and tools that helped us navigate the change so smoothly.