A business guide to working remotely… for teams who never thought they would!
Across Canada and in many parts of the world, businesses are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging staff to work from home where possible. Working remotely during this health crisis is an unanticipated challenge for businesses – but there are ways to adapt.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to help teams work effectively and collaborate, no matter where they are. These tools and tips can help keep your team on track:
G Suite by Google Cloud or Microsoft Office 365 allow you to securely access, store, edit and share documents online with ease. These productivity suites also allow for calendar sharing, real-time chat and video conferencing so you can conduct effective meetings – virtually.
Integrated with Office 365, Microsoft Teams is a collaboration hub where users can use familiar programs, like MS-Word, Excel and PowerPoint in addition to sharing files or setting up meetings and chat groups.
Master the conference call
Never underestimate the importance of a simple phone call for keeping employees connected. Microsoft 365 Business Voice provides each employee with one number that applies across all their devices, Business Voice uses AI for automatic voicemail transcription, inline chat translation and real-time captioning in meetings as well as multi-level auto attendants and call queues so you don’t miss important calls.
Business Voice is a great solution for organizations that have offices internationally, have already heavily adopted Office 365, or who are already looking to the cloud for rapid scalability. Other businesses may find what they need with Rogers UnisonTM. With instant messaging and telephone features, Rogers Unison is a complete business communications system that can greet and direct your customers’ calls with a fully automated answering system, route incoming calls between your team’s mobile devices until someone answers, and more.
Find balance between work hours and home life
Oftentimes remote workers will work longer hours, ploughing through lunch and not logging off when they would typically leave the office. Given the unusual nature of the COVID-19 situation, with childcare or other demands on their time, your team may need more flexibility.
Managers can set an example with regular communications at the beginning and end of the day, reminding staff that flexible work doesn’t mean working every available minute. Consider a simple as an email near the end of the workday thanking everyone for their work that day to help draw the line between work-life and home-life.
Many managers have an open-door-policy in their office. Stay connected now by scheduling regular one-on-one virtual meetings, either by voice or video call.
One-on-one meetings give employees the opportunity to voice concerns, ask for help or just touch base on upcoming work.
Mobile apps for mobile teams
There’s no water-cooler chat for remote workers, so brief check-ins and short-agenda meetings are a great idea. This allows for quicker answers and the opportunity for organic questions or impromptu brainstorming to happen. Mobile apps such as Microsoft One Note, WhatsApp, and Yammer can improve collaboration and productivity. Read more about keeping your business connected during COVID-19.