As the world adjusts to self-isolation in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has brought up some interesting questions that even remote teams, like ours, face. While we’re pros at handling projects remotely for our clients, the fact of the matter is, even we’re facing a new normal. Some people believe this should be nothing for us, but while we’re used to being remote from our clients, we’re not used to being remote from each other. Sure, we might have a certain leg up on teams who aren’t used to remote work at all, but it still presents its own set of challenges, and we’re certainly learning as we go.
For those of you who are new to the world of remote work, you might be asking yourselves some pretty important questions. Things like: How do you measure productivity? Success? Discipline? How can you maintain the sense of a team when everyone is remote? These are all great questions, and we’re grappling with them all too. But we have some ideas on how this can work. Here are three tips we’ve been leaning that might help you settle in:
- Plan – With the new challenges of working from home, it can be more difficult to concentrate. Productivity might suffer as you adjust to the new routine, new location, and perhaps, new coworkers in the form of partners and kids. One of the best ways we’ve found to make this all work is through intention. Build a plan for every day the night before, so you start off knowing exactly what needs to be done. There are hundreds of planners (both physical and online) that can help with this. The real key is to find one that works for you and stick with it.
- Interact – Schedule at least one interaction with a fellow remote team member every day. By this we mean a phone call, Skype call, or Zoom meeting. Anything that allows you to connect and talk about the challenges you’re facing. When we work together in close proximity, often we don’t realize how many little validations we get, letting us know we’re on the right track or doing things well. Communicating with a coworker this way will help you both feel better about how things are going, even if things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped. It can be a struggle to work from home and stay focused when you’re also trying to keep kids busy. Talking about those shared frustrations can help alleviate stress and get you more centered so you can find a better place of productivity.
- Grace – This one is crucial. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes and figure this whole thing out. Don’t expect perfection right away because you’ll be putting far too much pressure on yourself and your teams. It takes a while for people to get used to this new type of normal. There can be a lot of variables at play that each person needs to sort out before they can find their groove again. Be resilient, flexible, and patient. Things will get easier and velocity will increase again, so keep your chin up as you all adjust.
- Bonus Tip: This transition can be hard for some. Take a moment at the end of every day to reflect back on your daily wins. Write down one or two every day, no matter how big or small they might be. Remember, in the office, there’s a natural reinforcement that you don’t get when you’re by yourself. So, whenever something goes well, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for it.
Here at Gullview, staying connected by leaning on technology has certainly been a saving grace. Our CEO, Bill Wolff, sends out weekly emails, checking in and offering support and motivation to the entire company. President, Ross Graba, connects frequently one-on-one with team supervisors, checking in and making sure everyone feels supported.
Our company Slack channels are used extensively as an online bridge of communication that never shuts off. This way, all employees are connected real-time and can communicate as frequently as needed. They also lean a great deal on conference or Skype calls with clients and each other.
All of this communication and remote work infrastructure has helped us continue to provide support to our clients. Some of them are even working hard to manufacture items needed for the front lines of COVID-19. We are very proud to be able to say we’re one of the partners helping ProtoLabs with their important and critical work, as they help our country during these trying times.
As we all adjust to the new work-from-home lifestyle, we have to say that we couldn’t be prouder of our incredible team for all they’ve done transitioning to this new norm. If it wasn’t for their expertise, ability to pivot, and willingness to dive straight into this challenge, we couldn’t make this work. We are so thankful and cannot express the true level of gratitude we feel for our people, as they continue to do such good work, despite all of these new challenges. So, thank you.
For those of you looking for support in this new era of business, we want you to know that we’re here for you. No matter what type of support you need, we’re here to help in whatever way we can. Rest assured, we’re all in this together, even though we might be apart.