One of the key things we have told our team is that to be successful in our ability to work from home; we require that the work environment at home be set up in a mindful manner.
To make this a relatively standard list of things to think about, we have suggested the following tips to all our employees:
Quiet workspace: Please choose a quiet place to work from every day. It is best if a separate room can be found where the door can be shut so that there is no disturbance.
- Punctuality: It is recommended that you start work at the same time every day. This is important as it will also drive a focused approach and position your mindset that this is work, not free time.
- Connectivity: Your cell phone should be available and charged irrespective of the fact that a lot of the chat, talks, voice calls will happen online through our platform.
- Get dressed: You should dress as if you were at work. This is specifically important for the teams that are client-facing and interact with the customer. Appearing sloppy on a video call makes one appear very unprofessional.
- Take breaks: Take breaks as you would typically do for tea/coffee, lunch, etc. The idea is that you can afford to be more relaxed as you have perhaps a few extra hours in the day to get more done since your commute time is zero.
But, if you take time off, please update your online status to let your peers know that you are on a "lunch break" or have taken a break.
- Communication: Keep communication channels open with your fellow team members and team leaders, all the time. It is critical to keep them updated on how things are progressing and here is where you cannot over-communicate.
- IT infrastructure: In the case of any significant issues with infrastructure, hardware etc., it is essential to escalate/communicate that immediately to the team/leader/IT, so that team members who depend on you are not adversely
How to manage work break down & lists of work to get things done
- Each group within the organization must be split into sub-teams managed by a Team Lead or Group Leader or Regional Head responsible for allocating work and track activity. Smaller groups of 7-10 people can be created where possible.
- This leader, in turn, reports up to the Regional Heads/CEO/CFO respectively to touch base daily on activities performed, WIP (Work in Progress) and what work was accomplished for the day.
- Each leader needs to be made accountable for the time of their team members.
- Monitoring Daily Activity once work is allocated "Allocate and Monitor" are the key words. Once there is clarity of what needs to be done, the team leader for each group must assign weekly work or daily work that will then need to be tracked
and monitored daily using the integrated Excel feature in Microsoft Teams. The team leader must ensure compliance for each day by connecting at the start and end of days. Unproductive or non-reported work not accomplished by an individual
must be addressed immediately and sorted out quickly.
- A break down in the chain of execution should not be allowed. A person who is not following process for example, or who has not reported any issues with infrastructure which perhaps is not working for them immediately, should immediately
be taken to task.
- Communication & Daily Meetings (Touch Base) to ensure compliance Frequent, pre-scheduled, agenda-driven meetings must be held online with key team leads. Being in a virtual environment, it's easy to "assume" work is happening, and expectations
of productivity are often stretched. One can easily estimate that productivity may not be at its peak and utilization of resources may not optimal. Hence the only to ensure one is on track is to connect for short and quick meetings,
often in a given day.
- Like regular meetings, they need to be kept short, productive and to the point. Problems should be addressed immediately and quickly to follow the progress of tasks moving ahead.
The role of HR Teams
The HR team is given the role of ensuring compliance across the company as well as to make sure that people are doing well in their environment.
The HR team is allocated the responsibility to call either through Microsoft Teams or through the cell and touch base with 20-30 people during the day. IT allows the HR team to act as a touchpoint for each member of the team at least once
The lists are created randomly, and during the call, the HR person makes notes to report back in their status due at the end of the day on their findings. The focus is really to understand how the individual is feeling and if everything is
ok with them and their family. They also check if there are any issues in their work environment that we can help with as a company or if there is anything on their personal side, one can do to help.
Motivation & Beating Loneliness
Often, when working remotely and working alone from your home, it is quite easy for one to get de-motivated about their work. The monotony of not having a larger group of people around you is sometimes often challenging for people. Therefore,
it is critical that once a week, time is kept aside to have some fun activities organized online.
Teams are encouraged to meet virtually online and share how their week went with others on the team. The creativity of what one could do online in a video call format is left to the teams.
The HR group also gets involved in planning a meeting ever so often where several teams must log onto a video call and participate in an online event.
Leaders across the organization are encouraged to hold meetings specifically to acknowledge good work done by specific individuals and recognize them or reward them in the presence of their peers.
A Final Word
There are so many things that we are learning along the way, in real-time, that it is hard to put all of this down in words. We have tried to put what we believe are the critical elements to look out for, but as we all know, it is not simple
by any means.
Please feel free to reach out to us with your thoughts or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would welcome your suggestions and thoughts.
Of course, if you need any help in getting this done and deploying our experience in your organization, we would look forward to helping you.