Its become increasingly clear that remote work is here to stay and will continue to grow - flexible hours and work environment are starting to become the norm. Transitioning to a remote environment does not come without its drawbacks, however. Here are 5 tips that worked for us when we first went remote during a state of emergency in January 2020.
1. Use The Right Tools
The first key for a productive team is having the appropriate tools at their disposal. We use a variety of tools here at CoLab and below are a few of our favorite's for remote work.
Remote or not, Slack is our primary communication tool. It is a great digital space that helps communication and collaboration among teammates. It significantly reduces the number of emails we receive and organizes everything in easily searchable channels. Slack also integrates with several different pieces of software. We have several tools connected to Slack, which provides a central place for files, notifications, and information to keep our team connected and productive.
While we are avid users of Slack, there are many other options available with Microsoft Teams being a common one. Regardless of what you use, having a robust communication tool is at the crux of productive remote work.
Along with Slack, we use the Google suite of productivity tools. Instead of sending documents, slides or spreadsheets via email we can collaborate in real time. With Google drive we have all our files available wherever we are, safely and securely.
A relative newcomer to the space, Motion is an fantastic browser plugin that helps prevent you from getting distracted while online. We all know how easy it is to go down a YouTube rabbit hole or waste time on social media. Motion helps alleviate that by recognizing when you are on a distracting site and reminding you of the task at hand. Our favorite part: Motion doesn't explicitly block the sites but allows you to browse on a timer if you need to use it.
2. Video Calls Go A Long Way
Face-to-face is generally the most effective means of communication. Remotely, using a video call is the closest thing to working together in person. We use Google Hangouts for our meetings and being able to see everyone goes a long way to feeling connected. Video calls will always have more engagement - callers are less likely to multitasks and will focus and maintain virtual eye contact.
3. Team-Wide Focus & Transparency
Have consistent touchpoints to keep everyone on track. Here at CoLab every Monday, we start the week with an "All Hands" meeting to stay focused and so everyone knows what we are all doing and how we impact one another.
4. Maintaining Friendships & Conversations
We are implementing a buddy system where co-workers are paired up to check in with each other. A 15-minute video call to see how one another is doing will go a long way to ensure no one feels genuinely isolated.
5. Remote Fun
Just because we aren't together doesn't mean we can't have fun and make each other laugh. From awesome pet photos on Slack to dedicated time at the end of the week to catch up, it all helps.
We hope these tips help you stay happy and productive while working remotely! Have any tips or tricks we left out? Let us know.