Original Article Featured in Forbes.
We live in a time of uncertainty. It has been a year since the global Covid-19 pandemic started, but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Has your business adapted to this “new normal” yet?
Before the pandemic, Dogtown Media, my mobile app development firm, had a mixture of in-person and remote team members. Today, my entire team is fully remote. But this didn’t happen without some trial and tribulation. Here are the most important takeaways my team has learned about making remote work actually work, which will hopefully enrich your organization and make it more adaptable than ever before.
1. Practice being proactive and adaptable.
Things change fast these days. To adapt to this frenetic pace, you and your team members should adopt a proactive, flexible mindset. With several companies suddenly turning to remote work, many employees have been forced to contend with suboptimal workspaces and unexpected parenting responsibilities. The only way to move forward effectively is to set your expectations properly and account for the different potential scenarios that could occur.
Reacting without a plan usually leads to chaos. So plan ahead for various possibilities. Regularly take some time to map out goals and define outcomes with your team. This gives both you and your team a “north star” to guide you. Doing so greatly increases your chances of staying operational and progressing in the right direction, even if things don’t go exactly your way.
Speaking of things not going your team’s way, that’s okay — it happens. Adopting a proactive, flexible mindset doesn’t only mean to make plans; it also means making plans with the assumption that they could change. If you practice this and stay adaptable, you’ll be better positioned to navigate and pivot in the months ahead. So while others are waiting for the “right time,” your team will be transforming obstacles into opportunities.
2. Revamp social structures to catalyze remote work collaboration.
Remote work tends to amplify a lack of clarity. This can make it difficult for team members to navigate their tasks at hand. Fortunately, an easy way to fix this is to revise your current social structures in place. For instance, many organizations employ large, siloed teams to get things done. But with remote work, I’ve found that smaller, cross-functional teams with defined objectives work better.
Another structure you should reassess for remote work optimization is how you hold meetings. In this era of remote work, a lack of check-ins could mean that many of your workers are wrestling with more ambiguity than you know. Establish a clear cadence of scheduled daily and weekly meetings with your team. Strive to strike the right balance of communication to give your team guidance on goals and allow them to consult with you about any questions or concerns.
Meetings shouldn’t be the only communication structure in place: Quicker collaboration is sometimes required. You must have other communication avenues open. With a plethora of options available, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and email, your team will feel freer to conduct simpler, less formal conversations about time-sensitive matters.
Lastly, it’s vital that you build in social interaction opportunities. Remote work conversations shouldn’t only revolve around work. Always take some time to catch up with your team members. Don’t be afraid to bring some levity to the table. This goes a long way toward establishing trust, transparency and camaraderie. Whether you’re doing in-person or remote work, all three of these factors are key ingredients to catalyzing meaningful collaboration.
3. Empower your team with the tools they need to succeed.
To properly equip your team members in the era of remote work, you must pay special attention to how they leverage technology in their workflows. You should mentally walk in their shoes to understand each tool they use to achieve business outcomes. Doing this allows you to assess each component’s efficacy. The main goal here is to identify and address any gaps in access and adoption. This helps keep your employees engaged, which in turn fuels the right results for your business.
Whether it’s a communication platform like Slack or a workflow tool such as Jira Basecamp, examine each piece of your team’s “productivity puzzle.” No matter how basic each element seems, don’t underestimate the friction or advantage it brings to your team. If you identify any weak links in your tech stack, either train your team to improve productivity or try another option.
Remember, your tech stack should empower employees at every level to work efficiently from anywhere in this “new normal,” but don’t forget to keep data security and privacy top of mind. Doing so now may seem like more work, but it only serves to protect your business in the long run.
4. Put your team’s health and safety first.
Remote work isn’t always easy. It’s critical that you prioritize your team’s health and safety during these tough times that we’re all living in right now. Nothing, including projects or deadlines, takes precedence over this.
When the pandemic started, we decided to go completely remote right away. We honestly didn’t know how this would impact our company, but that didn’t matter. What did matter was that all of my team was safe and that they didn’t have to risk their lives just to come to an office.
During emergencies, all great leaders practice empathy. Let your team know that their mental and physical health will always matter more than work. Give them the support they need to maintain both aspects. If you put your team’s well-being first, the right results will follow.
Want to leverage emerging technologies like 5G, AI, and IoT in your organization? Get in touch with my team for a Free Consultation.Tags: covid19, digital tech, dogtown media mobile app development, early-stage startup, emergency technology, enterprise mobile app development, Entrepreneurship, future of work, mobile app developer, mobile app developer news, mobile app developers, mobile app development, mobile app development platform, new startup, remote work, software startups, startup, startup CEO, startup development, tech, tech entrepreneur, tech entrepreneurs, technology