I know this is the hot topic of the moment, with the shift from office to home working. And we here at Webio are in the same boat. As a flexible team we had already a number of employees that work remotely and have the ability to set up shop where ever they find themselves - stuck in a snowstorm, no problem, delayed in an airport, no problem and now, unable to go to the office, we are all working remotely and so far, there haven’t been any issues, even for those that were stationed full time in our head and support offices.
With all the articles on employees working remotely being published offering advice and what systems you should use, and how technology is going to save the day, we thought we would take a more personal, closer to home look.
So, in this post, we will share some of the things we introduced to make the transition easier. Our team are not contact centre agents remote working, but you may find some of the simple ideas may add just as much value as the more complex ones.
1.Employee Conversations are just as important as Customer Conversations
Of course with anything, there is the master plan which we looked at how to maintain consistent communications across the team and within teams. Communication is key. Whether you are dealing with customers or employees the communications may take different formats, but the essence is the same – more note less, especially in times of transition or change.
2.Twice daily check-ins
Many may now be thinking, “what twice a day”. But yes. Our whole team, at all levels join in our morning check-in call. It only takes 5-10 minutes, but it is a way to continue the interaction that so many of us are used to. We talk about what is planned for the day, a little banter on what is going on in our lives and in the news.
And we finish the day off with a ‘Good-Night Jim-Bob’ call. Again, we can recount any issues that need to be covered and wrap ups. Up may wonder why the meeting is called ‘Goodnight Jim-Bob, well for those of you who are way too young to know who Jim-Bob is, just check this out. You will get the drift.
3.Employee messaging is as important as customer messaging
As customer messaging is our business, we know how important it is to get the channel right, the message and the timing right. The right message at this moment will be one that takes into account the absolute turmoil that happening for all out there. Your business may be one of the few lucky ones not negatively affected by this pandemic but family, friends, neighbours and colleagues are being affected in many ways that aren’t even visible to us presently, be mindful of this.
Crucial for keeping the ebb and flow of the team and they company right is a good instant messaging platform. Let employees chat with each other, ask questions and have a conversational flow. Being able to ask the simple questions, send someone or the group a joke to lighten the day is great. And has proven to be a core engagement tool.
There are so many instant messaging platforms for business that offer complete business communication solutions, but sometimes the oldies are the best in getting an immediate job done, simply. For free and easy and simple to set up in minutes there is always Skype.
You can also try something a bit more engaging internal social media. The use of in-house company social media networks can improve overall internal communications and make it easier to communicate with employees and maintaining a consistent message which during these times is important.
4. Accentuate the positives
That old phrase. But it is true. Being honest and open with the updating staff on ongoing situations is important. And more importantly adding some positivity to messaging goes along way. Always end on a positive note.
5. Talking Face-to-Face
If some or all the team are working remotely, having some conference calls with video is a good idea. Maybe not all, but for more formal company announcements or meetings seeing the presenter is important. And just remember if you are not used to video calls, don’t forget that others can see you if your camera is on, as not everyone remembers this. Don’t worry this was not our team.
6. Adding to the team… or is it the family
The management team and everyone on the team need to recognise that we are working in different times. Being in a home office, or in a corner of the bedroom our work environments have changed. It is ok to have noises in the background and life going on around your team when they work. Some may see it as a distraction but very soon, each member of the team will get into a rhythm that works for them. Why not introduce the kids, the spouse, the partner and even the pets on your call they are all part of the team in some way?
7.Taking a break
Ensure that the team take a break. Working in a home environment there is a tendency to not get up from the desk as much, and the day can whizz by and before you know it and you haven’t stepped away from the desk. Our CEO every day sends out his note that is he out to get some air, and this usually leads to others doing that same with some sending some pics of their adventures. A nice touch.
So, these are some of the things that the Webio team have implemented to make the transition to working remotely. They have worked for us and we have seamlessly shifted to a remote working model. But core to this success is our ability to keep employees connected and making it easy to do so.
And don’t forget, sometimes the simpler things can be the best. Take some time to see what will work for your team and don't rule out some of the more off the beaten track ideas.