a man handing you a headset

Lock-downs, social distancing, and community quarantines are in full force all over the world, and for those whose who are able to accommodate it, working from home is the new norm for many businesses as well. Switching from a normal office setup to a remote setting can be a huge adjustment and those of us who have been doing this for years would like to share some tips and insights on what you can do to ensure that you and your business continue to thrive despite this major shift. Make sure to read all the way to the end, we’ll be sharing some other articles we’ve posted in the past that might be helpful as well!

Navigate the ins and outs of running your team remotely with a MyOutDesk Virtual Assistant. Book a consultation with us today to find out how.

Your Home Office

Setting up a home office can be a great way to ensure that you continue to remain focused on your daily grind. If you don’t have one already, make sure you have enough space and all the materials and supplies you need. Anything from stacks of notepads and sticky notes, a corkboard, and even a snack drawer think of everything you usually need at your office desk and make sure you have them handy. You might need to invest in some hardware or technology that could be very helpful to you as well. Like a good pair of noise-canceling headphones or headset, a webcam, etc.

If space is an issue for you, putting up a divider of some sort can be a great option.  If you have children, roommates, or other people who are staying home just like you, have a conversation about what you need and perhaps agree on “quiet time” or “do not disturb” hours so you can all focus on what you need to get done.

The important thing is to focus on the positives of working from home, like your fully equipped kitchen and the fact that you can wear your PJ’s to work, oh and did we mention the short and hassle-free commute from your bed to your desk?

Your Team

Leading a remote team will have its unique challenges but if you are able to set it up well then you can expect smooth sailing. By setting specific parameters that you not have had to do in your office, you can all go on as you usually do. Assess the roles in your team and how working remotely might change the dynamics of that role and find solutions to how those differences can be addressed in your new setting. As time goes on, make sure you are all clarifying and re-clarifying goals and roles so that nothing slips through the cracks.

A disruptive event like coronavirus will generate new and competing tasks across the business. As a result, leaders need to continually clarify goals at the team and individual levels to stay focused on key priorities. A great way to keep track of this is by using a project management tool like Monday or Slack. Make sure all members of your team are\updating their boards consistently and in real-time so that nobody gets lost and everyone knows each other’s progress.

Keep your team’s unity strong by creating ways to interact online. Schedule regular meetings via applications like Zoom or GoToMeeting. Many programs offer free subscriptions and many are offering free services for companies and businesses in light of the coronavirus. Make sure you also set time to have interactions that are not work-related so that you and your team have a chance to check in on each other’s personal lives.

The Harvard Business Review suggests the following:

Take a virtual tour. At the start of a project, encourage each person to take a few minutes to show the team his or her home workspace and share some personal context. What are the possible distractions — like barking dogs, noisy passing trucks, or kids coming home from school? The aim is to help colleagues develop an understanding of each person’s work context so they can be more sensitive to each other’s constraints.

Acknowledge non-traditional workspaces. Michael, a millennial working in New York City, lives in an apartment with multiple roommates and doesn’t have private office space for working at home. If some of his roommates are also working remotely, he is likely to face the challenge of people walking or talking in the background during video calls. Let Michael know you appreciate his challenge and are open to discussing alternatives like flexing work hours so that calls happen when it’s quieter for him.

Keep your assumptions or stereotypes in check. Sarah, an executive participating in a conference call, received a text message from a colleague: “Mute yourself. We can hear your baby crying.” She replied: “My baby is napping. That’s Matthew’s son you heard.” The ambiguity inherent in having team members working from home can lead to biased assumptions about focus and commitment to work.

Here are some articles we’ve published that might further help you out as you lead your virtual team:

While the coronavirus and other such calamities might lead to disruption and cause you to have to change things quite drastically, we now have technology and means to be able to adjust with the right strategies.

If you would like to find out more about MyOutDesk Virtual Assistants and how they can become key players in your team during this time, please schedule your consultation so we can help you out.