Covid-19 is forcing a change to the way we work, with many of us now working from home for the next few weeks, at least. If you haven't worked remotely before, it can be a bit hard to know where to start. Here at Yonder, working remotely has been our daily reality for a long time because we are not all based in New Plymouth. So, we thought we'd share some quick tips to help you get started if remote working is new to you...
You might be worried about how you are going to monitor your staff if they aren’t in the office. What if they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing? We recommend you trust your employees… set expectations with your team, and give them the tools they need to perform. Most people want to do a good job.
The two essentials for working from home are a solid internet connection and access to a computer. If these aren’t available, then look at other options like using your phone’s data allocation (hot-spotting) or a mobile broadband device that plugs into your laptop via USB.
There are a few options for meeting together when you can’t gather in person.
Use your smartphone - most have teleconference capability. An iPhone, for example, allows up to five callers into a conversation, but each phone is different. Check to see what yours can do. This is a quick, easy way to chat with colleagues.
Have a video meeting - Free platforms like Skype are trusted and easy to use. At Yonder, we have used Zoom meeting, which has a free plan that is robust and will meet most needs. If you are using Google, then Google Meet is another really good option, or if you use Microsoft 365 then Teams is free to use..
A stumbling block to collaboration is making sure that all staff can access corporate files regardless of whether they are working from home or some other location. This requires documents to be stored in a secure online facility that is hosted in the “cloud” rather than on a local desktop at your premises.
Again, this is how we’ve done business since we got started and can recommend Google Drive and Dropbox as great solutions (both have free versions). You can move key files to this online location, and staff can store files here as well, so that others can comment. It’s easy and it works.
Use task designation software such as Asana, and communicate with your team using systems like Slack, both of which we use and love.
Another stumbling block might be accessing online services from a new computer. We use LastPass which means we can save passwords to an extremely secure online server, share common user logins and passwords amongst the team (and manage centrally by an admin), and I can access all passwords from all my devices. It's also smart enough to recognise the webpage you're on and suggest a username and password from the shared folder. We use LastPass, it's a lifesaver.
We've published a useful article about how to use Yonder to communicate with your customers during Covid-19. Read the support article
Phone enquiries - we suggest redirecting your landline to a designated staff member’s phone, so that incoming calls continue to be answered.
Web enquiries - Secondly, make sure emails and web enquiries are able to be accessed remotely by giving passwords to relevant staff, so that they can access the enquiries online (instead of on the computer at your premises).
Your team can use tasks (a common feature of most email platforms) to delegate tasks to other team members that may result from incoming enquiries, or use something like Asana.
Staff will be looking to you for answers, and even if you don’t have them yet, communicate regularly with staff with what you do know. An update that says “We’re working on it,” is better than no update at all. Also take time to care for your own well-being.