One of the most dynamic shifts in the global work culture has been the rise of working from home. Due to the COVID19 crisis, companies worldwide have realized that office spaces are not essential to running most businesses. However, working from home has its own challenges and there is no denying that this is a drastic shift from what was always considered the “normal”.
Communication mishaps, lack of transparency, inadequate planning, lack of focus on employees, and many other such issues are common growing pains as companies make the transition.
We at FunnelBud understand this completely. We have always been a fully remote company, Long before the COVID19 pandemic. With employees in 11 different countries collaborating to successfully implement marketing technology in over 74 enterprises across the globe - Working from home practically runs in our DNA!
So we decided to help by writing a Beginner’s Guide to Working From Home that outlines what we have learned working as a remote team for over 5 years. Here is a short summary.
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As you’re making this transition, we believe are there are 3 essential things to focus on:
These core principles drive us at FunnelBud every day and help our team focus on and achieve our collective goals.
1. Team Planning and Transparency
Working from home, the once clear division between your work hours and off-time suddenly fades away since there is no more separation of your office and living spaces. This brings a whole slew of problems, often without you even realizing – working into the late hours of the evening, skipping lunch until your blood sugar drops dangerously low, and even checking your emails into the ungodly hours of the night. The boon of “zero travel time” very quickly transitions into the “bane of always being at work”.
At FunnelBud, we combat this with thorough planning and a culture of complete transparency! Start off by setting your working hours for the day, outside of which you’re strictly “out of office”, and other breaks during the day, like your lunch hour. With this template in hand, you can now fill your workday, starting with your most critical tasks. Make sure you add some buffer time every couple hours in case some tasks run overtime, or to just catch a breath.
While, this individual planning is helpful, when your team shares their work calendars internally, the effects are ten-fold. Planning meetings and collaboration becomes a breeze, and if your team works across multiple time zones, this establishes a window of common working hours.
With the million things that can come up at home, getting distracted, or pulled away is expected and you’re bound to lose some concentration – but with effective planning, you can visualize your day and set goals of what you expect yourself to finish in your work hours.
Remember – “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”
2. Effective Communication
Working remotely a decrease in both the quantity and quality of your communication is expected– simply swiveling your chair or walking up to a cubicle or a shoulder tap to start a conversation isn’t possible anymore. The primary mode of conversation moves form in-person to either text or voice-based communication.
Humans are generally very emotive and no matter how much technology evolves, the richness of online communication will never match that of face-to-face conversations. So it is important to ensure your communication is clear, concise, and effective.
Additionally, communication apps are not a one size fits all, so it is essential to realize the effectiveness of your available tools for each circumstance. Ex. a proposal sent via Slack at 2 am will get lost in the pile, whereas a quick question on email at 9am will probably get a response hours later.
At FunnelBud we use an array of communication tools but each with its own purpose.
It may seem trivial, but communication is the key to a successful remote team and to continued effectiveness without a hitch.
3. Employee focused company culture
The transition to working from home is a very isolating experience – Suddenly one of the most social aspects of most adult’s lives becomes the completion of tasks in a confined space. This sudden lack of human interaction can cause a sharp drop in efficiency and maybe even a negative effect on mental health.
When worrying about the major changes working from home it’s easy to lose focus on the people, but it is important to remember that happiness is contagious – maintaining a happy team does half the job making clients and customers happy.
One way we deal with this is our weekly “water cooler hour”, where the team catches up on a personal level and learns from each other. We also have a company-wide chat channel for casual conversation where we can share non-work related ideas, plans, and updates on our lives. Ever so often we’ll even get a text from Yusuf, our CEO, with a video call link saying he’s going on a bike ride, and anyone available can join in for virtually biking together!
Finally, it’s important to acknowledge this transition – everyone is working from a full house and an undisturbed environment isn’t always possible. A child or a pet is going to walk into the frame of a video call occasionally– learn to simply laugh it off and humanize the situation!
Your employees are your most important asset and ensuring they remain happy, directly helps you grow your company organically and sustainably.
Whether you’re making this transition temporarily or trying to add working from to your company culture, we realize it’s not an easy transition. However, with some effort and planning, we promise it’s worthwhile.
Setting some ground rules and ensuring your team is on the same page is a great place to start – Planing and transparency ensure goals are set and met, effective communication fosters collaboration and quick turnaround times and focusing on employees maintains the mental health and productivity of the amazing team of people you work with!
Just remember, Coordinate, Communicate, and Collaborate.
...and of course, If you need anything, we at FunnelBud, are always here to help you out!
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