Face-to-face conversations are the preferred way by many people to share ideas, but due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, this has suddenly become a luxury. Many companies and their workers are struggling trying to figure out how to operate productively at a distance.
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There are many factors to consider to optimize remote work. However, on a deeper level, remote work requires a whole new strategy. From our experience, this strategy requires operating under the right mindset, prioritizing making efficient use of time, and having the right tools. These are major challenges that cannot be achieved from one day to the next. Like many other activities, working remotely has a learning curve.
At Koombea we’ve been implementing a one-day-a-week work-from-home policy years ago. Thanks to this we were prepared to make the shift quickly to a full work from home strategy. As a result, we’d like to share with you our thoughts on this issue. In this post, we share some strategies to work remotely as a team. We also highlight some of the benefits of developing your website or app with a remote-friendly development partner. Don’t worry if you are not in the tech world. The points discussed here can help anyone across any industry.
Adopt a Remote Friendly Mindset
Working from home has seen a drastic 400% increase since 2010. Thanks to the cloud and other technological advances it is now possible to share information in a fast and easy way across entire teams. However, not all companies take advantage of the benefits. Many still operate under an old work paradigm where it is necessary to go to the office even if it isn’t absolutely necessary. As the current situation shows us, it is mandatory, no matter the industry, to move beyond this old idea of work.
The first thing non-believers or new to remote work companies should do is embrace change as an opportunity and give remote work the benefit of doubt. Without an honest shift in mentality, it will be impossible to successfully implement a remote work culture. Unfortunately, this shift is occurring abruptly and many companies are now struggling to get things done. Consider that change takes time, and adapting to new situations, particularly under stress, is not easy. So don’t be harsh on yourself or others. The best is to take it as what it is: an opportunity to learn. Start creating great choices rather than obstacles.
Having a remote-friendly mindset does not mean that guidelines must be followed by the book. The good thing when there are no rules, like right now, is that anything is susceptible to experimentation. Being creative on how to use your time and resources to get stuff done or communicate with others is an asset, not a liability.
As a work from home advocate, I believe that everyone can potentially have greater autonomy on how to manage themselves to be more productive, but this requires effort and time. Being honest with your coworkers about the difficulties you might be having can help you find solutions that others might have already experienced.
Prioritize Efficient Use of Time
Let’s be realistic, working from home means dealing with all sorts of distractions. To some of us, that means restraining ourselves from excessively reading the news. For others, it means taking care of children. Whatever your distraction is, it probably can wait until you finish some of the things on your to-do list.
Because maintaining focus can be difficult, learning to make efficient use of time should be a priority. Take the time to organize what you need to do during the day. Prioritize by differentiating stuff that is urgent from those things that can wait a day or two. Take into account that new things might pop up during the day, so don’t be over-optimistic about what you can achieve. However, don’t let this demotivate you. Keeping track of your tasks is the best way to monitor how you are spending your time.
If you get easily distracted and can’t seem to focus try dividing your work into smaller tasks. By doing so you will not be demotivated by your work pace. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is get going. So go and start something that needs to get done, the rest will eventually come.
Don’t forget that we all have different ways to manage our responsibilities, and overwhelming ourselves or others with tasks is not a good way to approach work. Being resilient does not mean enduring everything that comes up. Besides work, you also need to take time to recharge, so don’t feel bad if you feel tired or need to take a break. Spending your whole day in front of the computer will only burn you out.
Use the Right Tools
Willpower and discipline are of no use if you don’t have the right tools at hand. The challenge today is not being able to find what you are looking for, but rather being able to find the best tool for your needs amongst the existing choices. If you are unfamiliar with the best work tools available for your team, we recommend three:
- Trello/Jira: these are project management tools that will help you organize tasks with your team. They allow you to keep track of your teammate’s responsibilities and what particular stage a given task is in. If you really want to make the best out of them we highly recommend you consider adopting an agile working methodology.
- Slack: a communication hub that lets you bring teams together, allowing you to share information and communicate ideas clearly across different topic-specific channels to achieve a common goal. We recommend pairing it up with Koombea’s own virtual assistant Conversely.
- Zoom: you’ve probably heard about this by now. It is one of the best video communication tools for group or individual meetings. You should definitely try it out if you feel like looking at your counterpart is necessary. Don’t forget to check out the share screen option if you need to work on something with your team.
Remote Web and App Development
As a web and app development company, Koombea is used to working remotely with clients. Although we have offices located across various American cities, our operations are located in Colombia. This has given us the expertise to deal with clients scattered throughout the globe in different time zones. Taking into account where someone is located is a great way to start coordinating efforts. Don’t leave aside cultural differences just because you are interacting through a computer; being empathic is never wrong.
One of the best pieces of advice we can give you if you are developing a website or app is to constantly communicate with your team or clients. This way you will be able to define clearly what needs to be done. Closing communication channels is a major mistake you don’t want to make right now, so even if it seems like you have too many tools at hand, don’t get rid of them. Having redundancies is alright if your business needs it. Just make sure you use them correctly.
Right now people are looking for new ways to do business, and having the remote work advantage is something that transmits tranquility, especially for tech investors like you. In our case, our clients are comfortable knowing that their projects are in the right hand’s thanks to our remote working capabilities. Being able to work remotely is an asset we are very proud of.