DATE: April 2, 2020
AUTHOR: Donna Miller
Here at C3Workplace, we’ve been virtual for a long time. We eliminated our onsite server over 10 years ago taking our data to the cloud. Then we moved our Outlook and email to a hosted solution and even our enterprise level phone system is now hosted.
As someone who very much believes in work-life integration, we’ve offered the work at home option for years. I founded my company on the golden rule principal – treat people like you want to be treated. Well, I opened this company 25 years ago so that I could be a mom AND have a career. And so, I offer those same options to my team and trust me it comes back to you in spades! But, having a team that is working remotely comes with new opportunities to create solutions (otherwise known as challenges).
As you begin, or continue to work remotely here are a few things that have worked well for us:
Communicate, communicate, communicate – pick up the phone or jump on a video call (preferred so you can read body language). Make sure your team feels connected. Schedule regular team meetings for each area of your business. This is important for many reasons, but here are my top two:
- It allows for creative input from all involved — if everyone creates it, everyone owns it. Skin in the game is a great motivator and creates accountability.
- It eliminates disruptions (and emails) because your team knows they will be meeting regularly and so they “hold that question” until the meeting
In addition to holding meetings by function or department, hold regular company wide meetings to make sure “the left hand knows what the right hand” is doing. Cross train and teach each team to identify opportunities since they are your front line.
Up your technology game – Technology can be a shiny object (distraction) or it can be a tool to help your team be more efficient. Innovation is what drives companies forward and what I love (and hate) about technology is that it is always innovating, updating, changing – especially in a hosted world. Make sure your team is checking out what’s new – consider assigning this to someone on the team. Share what you are learning at your staff meetings helping everyone to work more efficiently. Here’s two of our favorite technology tools:
- Timetrade (or any appointment software) – this allow me to send a link to my calendar so that anyone can pick a time to meet with me. This is probably my # 1 timesaver – eliminating time sucking back and forth in setting appointments. It’s feature-rich and easily syncs with your calendar.
- Asana (or any project management software) – talk about tactical communication. You can create templates for repetitive projects, you can search and organize in many different ways, you can use it to list ideas or agendas and so much more. Not only does this allow you to delegate efficiently, it VASTLY reduces email since all your back and forth on a project is … wait for it … with the project, NOT in your in box!
Document your SOPs (Standard Operating Practices)– This is true for remote teams, in person teams and a combination (which is what we are). We have our SOPs documented in text, in video and in linked files. Here’s what I know for sure – documenting your procedures allows for easier duplication; duplication facilitates growth; growth allows you to scale.
In a time when we all need to be nimble and to pivot, being able to reassign or realign people, tasks and teams is a huge success factor. Documented SOPs make that easier to do with far less down time and retraining.
The current COVID-19 crisis has us all working at home. It’s likely you’ve got a bit of time on your hands. Use that time to deepen your operational and administrative infrastructure. When the faucets turn back on, and they will, you will be well positioned to capture as much market share as possible.
Donna Miller is a business and community leader, a speaker, an educator and an entrepreneur who is passionate about seeing small businesses thrive. Her team has helped thousands of companies to start and grow by providing office space, virtual assistance, bookkeeping, educational programs and advisory services. She believes in the power of collaboration (C3=Connect, Collaborate, Community) and that companies should be a force for good. She is the recipient of numerous awards, a sought-after speaker, and is grateful to be a servant leader in several volunteer roles. She is a regular blogger and can often be found on a beach writing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org