With the world of work booming increasingly remote and digital, now is the time for firms to consider how they can make distance-working work for them. In the office, it’s clear that certain issues and delays can be resolved simply by leaning over to the next desk and asking for advice; in the working-from-home new normal, that’s no longer an option. In this guide, we’ll take a tour of the most important ways in which you can institute changes that make your digital teams work more efficiently.
Without that across-the-desk communication, something needs to take the place of the quick question in the digital space. Happily, there are dozens of work communication apps available to help your workers get in touch in real-time, finding answers to their questions perhaps even quicker than if they were in the office.
The obvious and most popular example of this is Slack, the instant messaging service for businesses. But Google and Microsoft also operate communications suites for businesses, and there are many other independent vendors who supply communication software that might be more effective for your business. Do a little research online to find the best match for your company before onboarding your whole team onto the software you’ve chosen.
In a localized company, a local drive might connect all your office computers. Within that local drive will sit all of the files your workers need to do their jobs. But in the digital world, it’s more difficult to share files and to keep them securely accessible to your workers when they’re working from home. You may well use Google Drive, but you’re advised to use specialized digital asset management (DAM) service to help you manage all your files.
Compare the main differences between Google Drive and a DAM in order to get an idea of what the latter can bring to your team in terms of efficiency. With a DAM system in place, all of your workers – be they on your marketing team looking for logos or your finance team looking for spreadsheets – can access the files they need as quickly as possible, making everyone more productive.
When you’re working in the office, there’s a certain camaraderie to be enjoyed, working shoulder to shoulder with your colleagues. This tends to make everyone a little more productive, while managers are able to watch on and help give incentives, feedback, and criticism where they’re applicable. Working remotely is less of an option and can lead to demotivation among your staff.
So, to make your workers a little more motivated and enthused, you should take the time to instate some forms of incentive. Keep the sense of a team pulling together by scheduling daily calls so that everyone is aware of all the brilliant work happening around the company. Consider giving bonuses to the best workers each month, which should help everyone strive towards your ambitious goals.
Usually, each department within a business will have their own space within an office. They’ll be able to liaise directly with one another over the desk, helping to build team bonds and to brainstorm when each individual comes up against an issue. In the digital world, these silos are less easy to form – and often, you’ll find that your workers are drifting apart and working less well in their teams.
To counter this effect, it’s important that firms look to find new ways to bring teams closer together. Form break-out groups after your whole team’s conference call so that people stay on the line but separate onto smaller group calls. Build groups on your communications and messaging apps, too, so that smaller teams can share their progress online with one another without sharing those messages with the entirety of your business.
Working remotely entails a new set of software to what you might have working for you in an office environment. Everyone will need a set of logins for the software that they are expected to use – usually on their personal devices as well as on work devices. In this way, everyone will easily be able to access all of the programs they need to get the job done as soon as possible and with the least possible amount of stress.
There will also be new and emerging software that your firm should think about engaging within the remote working age. Some of this software will be designed to connect your workers over the cloud, while others will be designed to take tedious tasks out of their hands, leaving them instead in the hands of automated bots. Engage with the latest software to give your team the edge over their rivals in competitor companies.
Working digitally means changing the very culture of a company. You usually set this in the office by leading the atmosphere, planning post-work drinks and events, and generally ensuring that everyone is happy and comfortable in their roles. Without a central space to dictate your culture, you’ll find that it dissolves so that you’re left with a purely functional but fairly spiritless team of individuals working for the same brand.
To reverse this trend, you should consider what you can do to make your company’s culture strong and motivational in the digital space. Often, this will involve forms of socializing that takes place online, such as interactive quizzes or virtual reality escape rooms. That’s not to say that your teams shouldn’t meet in person – far from it, that should actually be encouraged. It’s more important that they feel accepted, valued, and liked when they’re working digitally, and that kind of culture has to come from the top. You can read more about how other firms have achieved this by researching online, helping you to get some inspiration for your own tweaks and changes.
Making changes to a digital-first company that way once office-based is difficult. There will be teething issues and disagreements within your team. But the tips above should help you overcome them, creating a fast-paced, agile business whose employees work entirely remotely.