The work-from-home trend isn’t new. However, with the mass shift to remote work following the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies have found themselves migrating their entire workforce online in a matter of days – a process accompanied by many challenges.
Across industries, we are witnessing the adoption of new workflow strategies, the implementation of remote policies, and attempts to identify ways to keep providing value. But effective teams don’t just depend on the right leadership – they need a solid technology infrastructure to rely on.
We are experiencing the biggest step towards remote work in our history. How can your business make the best of it?
Prioritize effective communication
If you’ve recently taken a step back to evaluate how to run your business remotely, you aren’t the only one. Remote work is a test of both your entire business structure and each facet of your operations – and communication is no exception.
Start by reviewing and standardizing the processes in place. If you don’t have an instant message system (Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Chat), make that your first step. However, when rolling out new tools or features, always accompany them with clear instructions to ensure the most effective use.
Successful remote companies know that it’s paramount to document all interactions and decision making in one communication platform. To further bring transparency and organization into your daily interactions, promote the usage of status icons on your messenger. Similarly, make updating calendars and valuing accurate schedules a priority. By having a clear overview of everyone’s workload, you can set up meetings and realistic deadlines without causing disruptions.
Paying attention to your document management is also key. Your files are often the carriers of important information – not being able to locate them quickly can result in inefficiencies and wasted resources. If you are used to utilizing different tools – be it Google Docs, One Drive, or Egnyte – advocate for a centralized document and file management system with easy search capabilities.
Streamline data analytics
With the upsurge in collaborative software, it’s becoming obvious that remote work can not only help you sustain your business short-term, but also bring more long-term advantages. For example, many companies don’t realize that remote work presents a great opportunity to approach data differently.
In recent years, we’ve seen cloud storage and management usage expand dramatically. Even companies traditionally reluctant to move their data online are now realizing the scaling capabilities of millions of servers and security engineering backed by thousands of the world’s best cybersecurity professionals. By leveraging cloud-based tools for analytics and sharing, and by educating your analysts about their capabilities, your business can take another proactive step towards a more data-driven and analytical culture.
The analytics process is inherently collaborative. It’s important to bounce ideas off other people – but how can you guarantee that in remote settings? The work-from-home modality doesn’t allow you to look over people’s shoulders. Still, there are tools that allow teams to work together to explore and understand data effectively as well as generate, record, and share insights faster than ever before.
Rethink your productivity
When you first switch to the remote modality, you might find that managing everyone’s tasks and seeing their progress turns out to be a lot more difficult than expected. In many cases, this is about finding the right tools to facilitate that process. After all, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of teams will rely primarily on workstream collaboration tools to get their work done every day.
You can leverage different tools to ensure your team sticks to business-as-usual even without physical meetings. Virtual whiteboard tools like Mural provide easy collaboration capabilities, letting you manage your delivery strategies or carry out account planning easily.
Still, the number one priority for companies right now should be to assess their whole management and productivity processes, on both the organizational and individual levels. Many times, you might get wrapped up in client work, responding to emails, and making leadership decisions – without really thinking about your way of working. By scheduling regular breaks, turning meetings into tasks on Asana, or taking time to run feedback sessions on Zoom, you might find that remote work can help you understand how to collaborate in the most efficient ways.
Whether the remote arrangement is just temporary, or if it will become your principal focus in the long-term, know that these times bring unique opportunities to make the most of the situation. Look at different aspects of your business, including communication, data analytics, and management to identify the best processes and software tools to help you along the way.
Jerry is a passionate leader and author in the analytics space who has spent the past decade developing applications, advising on data and analytics strategies, and building analytics products. His work in more than 100 organizations across various industries has inspired him to take on the mission of enabling analysts to solve business problems faster and more collaboratively.