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- Great Online meeting technology
You may already have online meetings in place, but it is important to make sure it works and that everyone knows how to use it. If you don’t, there are many options available—Noodle, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and GoToMeeting are just a few. Choose a tool and implement it across the organization. If you don’t, employees will begin selecting tools individually, and the situation will become difficult to manage in a hurry. Don’t assume that everyone is comfortable with the chosen tech either—a few minutes of training will save hours of frustration in the future.
- Face-to-face meetings will now be virtual ones
Identify the regular in-person meetings that take place in the office and transform those right away into virtual ones. Then, make it the new standard to schedule meetings using a virtual meeting system so people can join from any location. Don’t assume everyone knows the rules of engagement around virtual meetings; for example, those working from home may not notice background noise in their environment. Team members who don’t tend to speak up may need a gentle nudge to add their voices to online discussions.
- Formalize collaboration practices
When managing a remote workforce, it becomes even more critical to ensure that employees know how to navigate shared storage. They need to be shown where everything lives and how it is protected. Many organizations maintain both network storage and a collaboration suite simultaneously. This can lead to duplicate files in cases where remote employees are not logging in and saving files appropriately. This problem will be amplified as the number of remote employees increases. Keep in mind that remote employees tend to use their phones for business far more often than they do in the office. This is a great time to get better at using cloud-based tools for project management and real-time collaboration.
- Encourage online messaging
Communication practices are critical for remote teams, so be clear on how that is going to work. If you aren’t already using Noodle or a similar real-time messaging app, set one up and take the lead on creating team channels and company-wide message threads. Use messaging tools strategically for cultural and social purposes to keep everyone connected and feeling like they are part of the team.
- Agree on common working hours
Remote work often takes on a slightly different schedule than a typical office day. Morning people may start work earlier, as they don’t have a commute to contend with, while others may have interruptions at certain points in the day and need the flexibility to start and stop work. Agree on core hours as a team—or share individuals’ core hours—so everyone is in the loop on availability. Current closures mean your employees have increased responsibilities at home, so it’s important to be flexible.
- Stay connected
Make sure that non-business-related conversations continue to take place, and have some fun with them. It’s all too easy for employees to feel isolated when working remotely, and that can be stressful for some. Think about everyone on your team and make sure they are actively included. Don’t be afraid to make a social call on your intranet messenger app — it will be appreciated.