5 Tips to Successfully Transit to Remote Working during Coronavirus-and Beyond

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@sidharth-jainSidharth Jain

Founder at Graffersid.com | Developing Tech products for startups with billion dollar dream

It has been four months since Coronavirus originated in China's
Wuhan and the outbreak continues to be on the headlines. On one hand, many employers are getting ready for the possible disruptions that Coronavirus would bring to their business in the long run, such as transportation issues, labor shortages, reduced working hours and low consumer traffic. 
While, fortunately, some businesses have already started taking
precautions to reduce the risk of spread of disease, including global giants
like Twitter and Amazon. These precautions include canceling-in person meetings and conferences, travel bans and encouraging work from home. Remote working, which was already becoming a trend in countries like the USA, with a 159% increase in remote workers from 2005 to 2018, has now become the biggest resort to maintain productivity.
For the companies, which are jumping to remote working for the
first time amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, here are some tips:
Be Open and Authentic:
If you want to make remote working as a culture of your company,
start from the top. The first step of building any successful team is trust. To
foster this trust, higher authorities of the company must remain open and
authentic across channels. When the sensitive topic arises, run to the fire and think of a solution, instead of running away from it. Deal with the issues that your employees are facing.
Hidden agendas and secrecy will kill the efforts to build digital
trust. Try to collaborate with your team daily through tools that help in
maintaining seamless communication with a remote team. Learn to be diplomatic, courteous and compassionate online, the same ideals will be manifested in your team.
Promote a Digital Company Culture:
When you work from the office, decisions and business happen in the digital space, while interpersonal relationships are built spontaneously in the physical space. But, how to build this interpersonal relationship when you go all remote and all digital? Try to find online expressions.
While working remotely, it is crucial to bring jokes, celebrations, community, gossip, personal interests and attention to the humans, along with maintaining a professional environment. These things need to be given a worthy channel while working remotely, as it allows for the random and spontaneous encounter. 
Utilize the right tools to connect with your remote team:
There are myriad of digital tools available to facilitate communication. Connect with your team over text messaging tools like Slack, host your webinars and arrange video conferences over Zoom. For project management and data sharing, tools like Jira and Trello are your go-to option.
Some successfully operating organizations do exact opposite of this, they choose a minimal set of online tools and remain strict to which tool to use for which purpose. When you are working with the remote team and in a situation like prevailing currently, being flexible with your employees is beneficial. Here are 3 tools to help your remote team stay productive.
Try to Create-Remote first Experiences:
In Slack or any other messaging tool you are using, create a channel where employees can spontaneously send high-five and happy emojis to each other. You can also create a Confession channel where employees can confess things to each other and get some break from their monotonous work. This will keep them connected with their fellow workers and won't make them feel that they are working in isolation.
Apart from this, whenever you are having meetings with people in the room and others connected through video conferencing tools, always let the remote attendees speak first. And, when you are planning for an event or some project work, start by considering the needs of your remote attendees.
Set an example:
You, being CEO, must try to set an example by being present over online tools and channels, timely engaging in conversations and communicating proactively. In such times, it is crucial for you as the owner to be available and approachable for your team. Show your personal side and not just the professional side, listen to your team instead of pontificating.
A risk while working with a remote team is that people start spending too much time online and work for unhealthily long hours. Here also you can set an example by going offline after working hours.
Be creative when handling conflicts:
In an office setting, if any individual is under-performing or facing a problem with the teamwork, you can call the person for an in-person meeting to resolve the issue. But how would you do this when you can't bring people to the same room? How would you take disciplinary action when working with a remote team?
It is difficult managing things in such a situation, however, it is not impossible. It requires detailed and clear communication with team members. For clear and crisp communication, prepare a detailed script, think of all the possible misinterpretations that your statements may cause and prepare a supporting script beforehand. Your script should talk about values and guidelines, and address the intent of those involved. Logically proceed with the conclusion that you have arrived at and share it with your team.
Show Compassion
While in the office setting, people have different ways to show compassion towards each other. They show they care by ordering something like lunch or juice for their colleagues. But in all-remote setting, such things don't exist. However, you can try looking for other ways to show care and compassion. Send caring emails, share flowers or gift cards to appreciate employees.
Take out time to be Social:
In all-remote organization, each employee is all alone in their boat, working until the work is done. It should be the responsibility of the company to bring everyone together to one place, to get social and share their fishing stories.
The remote working environment is more like fishermen who head to the sea alone every morning before dawn. They can stay in radio contact with each other, however, each fisherman works on its own. There is no coming until they have caught enough fish, however, once they get back, they have fun together.
It is good to arrange some fun sessions through video conferencing once or twice a week to keep your team social.
Parting Ways
When you apply the above-mentioned guidelines, you will find that remote work is not a challenge to overcome. Remote work has now become an advantage to achieve. The whole world is online and human civilization is digital. Remote and distributed organizations will continue to exist long after the coronavirus outbreak recedes. By not tying work or collaboration to the workplace, synchronous moment or any particular location, we democratize opportunity and open up a whole new world of
possibilities.
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@sidharth-jainSidharth Jain

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Founder at Graffersid.com | Developing Tech products for startups with billion dollar dream

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