Almost two months have passed since we here at Odyssey transitioned to working from home. We’re fortunate in that the nature of our work meant that we had the infrastructure to do so. We’ve been able to test and find remote solutions over the years that have worked for us.
In light of a Gallup poll that revealed more than half of Americans would prefer to continue working at home, we’ve compiled some advice. It is important for businesses now more than ever to recognize that there will be a push for remote work after the restrictions have gone. Every industry will vary in its ability to adopt these solutions. Still, it is of great value to examine what your business can do now to work with the trend, not against, to prepare for the new normal.
Communicate regularly and purposefully.
There are many that find working from home better for their productivity. There are also some that can attest to dwindling motivation and ability to complete tasks. Usually this is due to the fact that there can and will be distractions, and adjusting to working from home can be tough.
Regular communication can help keep employees focused. Keeping it consistent will lend rhythm and pattern to their day, but be certain that it is with purpose. For example, a video meeting that runs long or includes unnecessary individuals can prevent employees from working well.
At Odyssey, our team is small enough that emails are quick but reliable. Microsoft Teams is also handy on occasion for less urgent, quick-one-off conversations. It helps separate our conversations and prevent long email threads, where priorities may get lost.
Adopt and make use of collaborative online tools.
One of the tougher things to solve for remote work is how colleagues will collaborate. Many businesses can overcome this by making use of online collaborative tools, like Google G Suite, Trello, or Monday.com.
Our developer team relies on Jira and Bitbucket for software development. They conduct code reviews, make iterations, and communicate changes made through these tools. Our UX team uses Moqups and InVision for planning and executing UI, collaborating with our developers and clients on their vision.
A huge part of collaborating is being able to share your work or your files. Luckily, many of the online tools already have a sharing method built in. But if your needs are beyond what they provide, then you should look into cloud storage solutions. Dropbox and Google Drive are very popular solutions. Microsoft SharePoint is an excellent alternative if your office already uses Microsoft products.
We recognize that needs vary industry by industry, and so there may not be a perfect solution out there. Businesses should consider then the value of working with a custom software development company. These companies can implement collaborative solutions that fit business functions and needs exactly.
Identify business functions that can go online or digital, and make the switch.
There are some business functions that are more difficult to switch to online or digital. But there are definitely parts of it that you can transition as a start. For example, there are excellent payroll services for small businesses like Gusto or ADP Run. There are also secure document services, like DocuSign or SignNow, that make it easier to send confidential documents that need signing.
Businesses can adopt electronic invoicing through various services. Use of these services usually means that businesses can accept payment online. It also means that receiving payments is quicker and more secure, instead of waiting for checks in the mail.
Taking the time to identify your necessary business functions and switching what you can will help streamline your business. It can save you time and money, as many of these services will also keep records, generate reports, and even help prevent costly mistakes.
Ensure your infrastructure is secure and updated.
An overlooked part of remote work is how to ensure that your infrastructure is secure. As we all move to online services, it is imperative that employees use these services in a safe and secure manner. Consider reminding employees of best security practices, like establishing unique passwords. Businesses can use password managers, like 1Password or LastPass, to help their employees choose secure passwords and safeguard confidential info.
Also consider potential security and productivity risks. Update your software and hardware as needed. Potential bugs in outdated software may compromise the security of your system. Improper hardware configurations may mean a few days offline, unable to work or access important files.
It can be difficult to make changes when you are not sure yet where you will be in a few weeks, months, or even at the year end. Even in “normal” times, changing to remote work is a big undertaking for any company.
We understand how difficult the switch is. We have gotten a close look at the many considerations that companies need to make in our work. We have also gone through the same infrastructure transition. From the lessons we’ve learned, we understand now that making these changes are not just for pandemic times. They’re also helpful and necessary for normal, everyday operation in this changing world.