Much like most of the country - and indeed, the world - eduMe recently made the decision to work entirely remotely for the foreseeable future, following government and WHO guidelines to minimise social contact.
This marks a huge shift from our previous ways of working, which was mainly office-based, other than two days of WFH per month, per person. This is the first time the entire office has worked remotely, so we were determined to maintain a positive and productive workforce.
If this is your first time working from home office-wide, we’ve compiled a guide on how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Here are some of the things we’re doing (and have learned) so far:
It’s impossible to communicate too much when your people are working remotely, especially when it's indefinite. We’ve mainly been using Slack as our day-to-day communication tool, to stay connected throughout the whole process. We’ve opted for Zoom video calls for any meetings. Both softwares offer free versions - you can find Slack’s here, and Zoom’s here.
It’s really important to communicate with the team regularly, and not just about work related subjects, but to stay socially connected as well.We’ve set up two ‘coffee breaks’ per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon - anyone who is free can jump on the Zoom call, and we can have a catch up about how we’re getting on, and just check in with each other.
Just how different it feels to be alone at home all day, as opposed to at an office, can come as a surprise. It’ll make you realise how often you socialise with people at work on a day-to-day basis - the contrast is huge once the office disappears.
Connecting virtually helps people to continue to feel like a part of the team, despite the physical boundary. Creating and maintaining a company culture is a huge part of any business - luckily, we already have a great culture and well-bonded team at eduMe, so we had a good foundation to start on.
Zoom-ing our weekly Friday huddle 🚀
It’s now about maintaining those relationships, and not losing any of our team spirit. It’s easy to get up to speed on how the business is doing, and ways to make sure we’re all able to be as productive at home as we would be in the office.
While this is important, so is pastoral care, i.e. making sure our team’s wellbeing is looked after. At the end of the day, collective success - or Workforce Success - can only be achieved when the people that make up the whole are empowered to perform at their very best.
As well as communicating through meetings and messaging, we’ve also been utilising eduMe, our Workforce Success platform.
As soon as we made the transition from office to home, we created and shared a course on telecommuting best practice. We’ve also been asking for - anonymous - daily feedback to check in on people’s mental wellbeing, and give them an additional channel to feel heard through.
Your people are empowered by feeling heard, so much so that having a voice makes them 4.6x more likely to perform at their very best.
This helps us build up a picture over time of how people are handling the remote working, and allows us to have a better understanding of what might be needed from us to better support them.
Keeping track of how our team is feeling daily is a really good way to make sure we’re on top of things, and hopefully address any possible future issues, before they become too serious.
Simulate your commute
Something we’ve been encouraging our team to do, is to simulate a fake ‘commute’ to work; whether this is by going for a quick walk before the day starts, listening to a podcast, or reading a book - just making sure we do something, before we sit down and open our laptops.
The team found it was a huge help to give ourselves time to wake up and adjust the day, as we would do normally, rather than wake up and go immediately to work. For most of us, fresh air was a really important part of this ‘commute’ - it’s so easy to feel trapped when you live and work in the same place, so it’s key to leave the house (if you’re not quarantined) and feel a little more human.
We’ve been sending daily reminders out to the team to remember to get some exercise and take some time to go outside and breathe.
It’s also important to try and separate your ‘work’ area and your ‘leisure’ area physically, if possible. We’ve been encouraging people to get up and move to a different part of their home, or even room, to work - keeping home and work as two separate entities.
Create a schedule
A schedule has also proven really important in making sure working from home goes successfully - both in terms of making sure work is done productively and in a timely manner, and also ensuring that employee’s physical and mental health doesn’t suffer.
It’s so easy to let the lines between work and leisure blur, when both are happening in the same physical space. We have made it very clear that employees must be using statuses on Slack to signal when they are at work, having a break, or finished for the day.
This helps to keep people accountable, encourages easy communication, and also allows for people to have down time once their working hours have finished.
Time-management is a key part of working from home, and some people may struggle with this when they’re working so independently. We know that our team is keen to work productively, but we just have to empower them to do so.
So, we’ve encouraged managers to check in regularly with their teams - having daily stand-ups via Zoom, with everyone being clear and transparent about their focus for the day and week ahead. Being project focused, rather than micro-managing, is a great way to keep people working productively.
Giving recognition is directly tied to employee motivation and engagement. And at a time like this, when motivation is more vulnerable than ever, it’s important to maintain a high level of enthusiasm and dedication among your dispersed team members.
As a company we provide many tangible perks in the office, like free fortnightly team lunches. Though we are unable to congregate, it is really important that we continue to encourage and reward employees.
We are avid users of bonus.ly, an employee recognition scheme that allows you to show appreciation for team members. Perhaps they helped on a project, or even just brought a smile to your face. Use of bonus.ly doesn’t just allow us to create a recognition-rich - and motivated - team, but it creates cross-team transparency and sheds light on the great things everyone is up to.
If we continue to have to work remotely for a prolonged period of time, we’d like to work out a way of bringing back our catered lunches. We’re looking into how we could allocate a certain amount of expenses per person for food delivery, and dial in via video call to enjoy lunch together while apart.
Replicate business as usual
We’ve found it crucial to try and instil a sense of normality in abnormal times - so everything we would be doing in the office, we do remotely.
This means checking in on new starters, having our stand-up meetings; even our company-wide Friday huddle at the pub, which we now have over a zoom call (featuring a few drinks, should team members wish!).
We’re continuing to use eduMe as our internal communication tool, and it’s really proving invaluable as we continue to work remotely. It’s also proving invaluable for our clients. For Tigo, Honduras’ largest mobile operator, our Workforce Success platform has aided in delivering ‘constant communications and prevention campaigns’ that help them ‘reach each of our collaborators in an immediate and simple way’ during ‘difficult times’.
Ultimately, these unprecedented times, and the social distancing measures that have come alongside them, mark a huge change for many people and businesses.
And we can’t underestimate the impact working remotely may have on our employees and our company. So it’s our duty to make sure they have everything they need to be equipped for success.
Looking for further guidance on going from office-based to remote seamlessly and successfully? Get in touch 💬