Recent days and weeks have been challenging for millions of people across the globe who are dealing with the impact of COVID-19. In order to lessen risk and prevent the virus’ spread, businesses are implementing drastic yet necessary social-distancing measures for employees. The sweeping changes have led to a sudden and unprecedented increase in the number of people working remotely.
In response, Google is helping to ensure that all globally distributed teams can still reliably meet face to face, even if employees are not in the same location. The company is offering free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite customers globally.
Here at SADA, we’ve implemented a remote-first work environment in order to safeguard our employees, our customers, and our partners. Equipped with the best technology and Google Cloud portfolio of products, we’ve enabled our entire company to work remotely with the same level of quality and efficiency. We’ve been sharing remote team collaboration tips with our employees to help ease the transition to a temporary work-from-home (WFH) policy. Whether your business is temporarily embracing remote work as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic or you already have a remote policy in place, here are 6 tips that will come in handy to keep you and your teams connected and productive while they WFH:
1. Make Communication a Priority
Take a moment to set clear expectations with your team on when and how you all will communicate during the remote period. With Google Calendar, you can set up a recurring event for your team each day or week to check in and get aligned for the day. Virtual 10-minute daily huddles and weekly or bi-weekly one-on-ones with each of your team members will go a long way in keeping communication lines open and ensuring team members don’t feel isolated. Among individual teams, it is a good idea to block time for meetings or daily huddles. Hangouts Meet, a G Suite-integrated video conferencing solution, makes it simple to connect with your team from anywhere with easy-to-join video calls.
Decide how you would like everyone to provide any important progress updates. Hangouts Chat, a messaging platform integrated into G Suite, allows you to create a room with all of your team members to keep conversations flowing. A quick note at the end of each day or week on what each person worked on and will be working on, and any blockers they have, can keep everyone aligned. Consider using a task or project management tool to help you stay on track. Google Tasks lets you create a to-do list within Gmail or the Google Tasks app. When you add a task, you can integrate it into your Gmail calendar, and add details or subtasks. Tasks also enable you to drag and drop emails into your to-do list, rearrange the order of your tasks, and check off completed ones.
2. Use the Richest Form of Communication
93% of communication is non-verbal, which means a lot can get lost in a chat message, document comment or text. Whenever possible, default to a video conferencing platform like Hangouts Meet. If video conferencing isn’t an option, then consider phone conversations. Google Voice gives you a phone number for calling, text messaging, and voicemail. It works on smartphones and computers and syncs across your devices. It can be added as a paid subscription to any G Suite edition. As a last resort, communicate via chat or email. If you anticipate a lot of questions or if it’s urgent or complicated, video conferencing or voice calls are more effective.
3. Stay Connected
There is no water cooler, kitchen, or lounge for your team to gather and catch up on life happenings when working remotely. Keep your team connected to each other and other employees with posts and updates in group channels. Much like SADA’s monthly remote Coffee Break, where we invite all remote employees to log in for informal conversations and catch-up, regular informal virtual coffee chats or group lunch gatherings on Hangouts Meet are a great way to stay connected too.
4. Document, Document, Document.
It won’t always be possible for everyone to be on every video conference or call. Designate someone in each meeting to be a scribe – jotting down key takeaways and action items (and who is responsible for them) and sharing it in a chat room after each meeting. This will keep everyone up to date and in the loop.
5. Edit Team Documents in Real Time
The ability to edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations or other files with your remote team in real time helps physically dispersed employees feel more connected since it allows teams to work as though everyone is in the same room. Real-time collaboration solutions provide a platform for everyone, no matter where they are, to share information, and give instantaneous feedback. With G Suite, you can use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to edit simultaneously in real time and get targeted feedback using comments. Changes are saved automatically, so team members are always accessing the most up-to-date versions. And, if questions come up while working on a file together, you can chat with each other inside the document, spreadsheet, or presentation.
6. Lead With Trust
Avoid the temptation to micromanage your team while working remotely. At SADA, we have an excellent recruitment pipeline that has built a team of highly productive, self-motivated employees. The focus should remain on output and productivity, rather than forensic reporting of activities. With rich communication, regular check-ins, and documentation your team can continue to be successful as ever.