Tips And Tools For Working Remotely With Your Team

Working remotely or working from home is a great way to allow your team members to have a greater work-life balance and more flexibility. It can also lead to more productivity (e.g. when you finally realize which meetings could have just been emails).

Based on the 2018 Global State Of Remote Work report, 68% of workers around the world worked remotely at least once a month. And 18% of the world’s employees work remotely full time. 

These days it’s not something businesses are opting for as a matter of preference, however. With the presence of the risks of Covid-19, and erring on the side of public safety, many teams have had to quickly shift to working from home. But when that’s not what a team is used to, it can definitely come with a steep learning curve. And keeping up team spirit and morale can be a challenge.

At Kimp we work remotely with our clients. So we’ve put together a list of some tips and tools for working remotely with your team. We hope they’ll help with the transitions you’re currently facing. 

Keep Communication Flowing

One of the first things that will definitely impact workflow, and morale, will be the lack of connection that comes with social isolation. If your team doesn’t already use a messenger/collaboration tool like Slack, Flock or Microsoft Teams, now is definitely a great time to implement one.

If you’re already using a tool for team communication, there is still an opportunity here for you. Take stock of how you’re using your communication tool(s). Are there relevant channels set up for each unit? How about additional ones for brainstorming or sharing inspiration? Or simply just to share funny stories or memes? Segmenting communication can help team members focus on tasks when they need to, and take breaks and crack jokes with co-workers too. It might be helpful to set some ground rules or provide some suggestions (e.g. send quick updates via chat and connect via video call for anything that needs to be described in detail).

Be sure to also check out if there are features that you haven’t taken advantage of like file sharing, video calls and setting up polls. And if there are opportunities to integrate other software that you’re using to create a more seamless experience. Zapier can help to connect your apps and automate your workflows – trust us, it’s not as scary as it sounds!

Check-In Personally & Professionally

Getting used to an isolated workspace can be hard for an employee who’s used to being onsite. Humans are social creatures. Well, most of us at least 🙂

In addition to collaboration and accountability, is why regular check-ins are necessary. Using your team’s collaboration tool (i.e. Slack, Flock, Microsoft Teams, etc.) set up times that are convenient for you team to connect for video calls. Google Hangouts, Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx and Whereby are some good options. 

Share an agenda in advance if possible, so that team members can prepare and contribute (e.g. present updates, concerns, suggestions, feedback and/or reviews). Ask a different team member each time to record and share minutes.  

And kick off each call with a few minutes of checking in on how everyone is doing. This can be 10 minutes of team members just sharing stories about their new coworkers (i.e. their kids who are home from school) or swapping ideas of how to stay positive and busy on weekends. Starting off calls like this can help put the team at ease and create a sense of community. 

Enable Your Team To Succeed

For some, working from home can be unproductive – especially if their home is full of distractions. Ask your team if they are facing any challenges to their productivity at home. Let them know you’re open to suggestions if they come across any tools that will help with workflow.

If possible, see if you can offer them access to a tool, software or product which can help alleviate the issue. This will make team members feel supported and of course, help the overall productivity of the team.  

On that note, to support productivity prioritize having setting up contingency plans as soon as possible. This will help you in the event that one of your tried, trusted and true tools has an outage.

If possible, if you’re in a part of the world where working from home hasn’t been mandated, do a test run. This will help you address any issues you may face before they become bumps in the road.

Establish A Routine And Tweak As Needed

We’re all feeling a bit off with our routines out the window and without a new norm to replace them. It’s making it a challenge for employees not to fall down the slippery slope between taking it easy and not being productive.

This is why it is important to establish new routines with your team. And beyond those, share resources and perspectives to help them figure out ways to stay motivated. Like this post on creating a morning routine when working from home. 

Seemingly small steps can go a long way. Like getting dressed as if you were all heading into the office. Which will help with being presentable for video calls too. Encourage everyone to also set up a workspace that helps them focus. Not everyone has the room for a separate office. But there are still options other than working from bed. It’s important to create as much separation between the space you work in and space you rest and unwind in.

It may take some time and tweaking to get things right. But don’t give up! Keep trying new approaches, and tweaking existing ones.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Connection

It can be easy to let communication be just on a collaboration tool. But working from home can create a sense of isolation that builds over time. 

As a cure for this, you can create opportunities for your team to socialize. Setting up fun channels in your collaboration tool is one option we mentioned above. This can be great for sharing non-work-related stuff like jokes, memes, events, birthday celebrations, etc.

You can also set up remote events. Training sessions – both work-related and not. Socials via video calls. Group stretching/yoga sessions. Let your team members take on organizing and running these as well.

Anything that you can do to help your team feel engaged and connected will help support their mental health and yours. Especially when a lot of us turn to social media platforms for a sense of connection and that’s where we are currently getting slammed with scary headlines.

You Can Do This! We’re In This Together

These are uncertain and unprecedented times. That can be nerve wracking. But it’s also an invitation to stand up for and support each other. To lead the kinds of businesses that support their teams to the fullest. At Kimp we’re rooting for you. And we hope that you and your teams stay safe and healthy.