May 19, 2020 By Suzanne Robertson

In March 2020, many organizations found themselves needing to work almost entirely remotely for the first time. In many cases, remote work can help a business stay productive during disruptions. However, making the adjustment to virtual operations can be challenging. These are some tips on how to adjust your organization to function remotely more easily.

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1. Get the Right Platforms

First and foremost, you need to get the right platforms for your team to use. Tools like video conferencing, instant messaging, online document collaboration and more can help your team to work together remotely more easily.

One of the key challenges of remote work is that you are no longer sharing a physical space. This can raise some new obstacles to achieving tasks. However, almost all of these can be overcome with a little creativity and some research.

2. Focus on Communication

Communication is at the heart of business. It is also one of the areas of operations that suffer most from remote work (if you let it). Since people can’t have casual chats as easily, they can get off of the same page.

However, if you give your people the tools to communicate, they will. Furthermore, it is beneficial to organize team meetings with opportunities for people to raise questions, concerns and ideas. The more you empower people to communicate, the more they will.

3. Empower Asynchronous Work

Just as communication and collaboration are important, so is asynchronous (not existing or happening at the same time) work. In fact, if you only implement three tips for working remotely, it should be this one and the two above.

When people are no longer in an office together, there is less need for them to work at the same time. Furthermore, communication can be hampered by expecting it to be synchronous all the time.

Instead, try to find tools that let people work and contribute at various times. For example, a strong customer relationship management tool can help your people keep track of their work by updating customer files. The same is true for project management tools.

4. Offer Orientation and Support

Don’t expect your people to just figure out how to work remotely. Instead, give them an orientation to how you will operate. Provide training on the new platforms and tools you will be using. Also, explore how your practices and procedures will change (and not change) to support this new normal.

Furthermore, provide them with support to get their questions and concerns addressed. Making a dramatic change can be stressful for people. By supporting them, you can help to ensure that they will have the tools and knowledge they need to be successful and productive.

5. Keep the Updates Flowing

Another common challenge associated with remote work is the feeling of being disconnected. Many people find that they aren’t as informed about the goings-on of the company. Fortunately, this can be easily rectified with regular updates.

If you have an intranet, that can be a great tool for sharing the latest and greatest updates. Consider including some achievements by individual team members. Alternatively, send out a weekly or even daily company email with information and updates. This is a good way to help keep people informed and feeling connected.

6. Anticipate and Accept an Adjustment

Working remotely is different than working from an office. It can take some time to adjust to this form of work. It is okay to have this adjustment period. Don’t expect your team to become remote-work experts overnight.

Instead, try to accept the adjustment and support people in making it. Once they get their feet wet, they will start to perform better and settle into working remotely. The best thing you can do is accept that the road may be bumpy while everyone gets up to speed.

Get Started

Whether you are transitioning to remote work now or want to plan for a future contingency, get started with these tips. The key to successful remote work is to realize it is different from working in an office and plan accordingly.