The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to quickly reassess their working methods, as offices close around the world and working from home becomes the norm.
At SkedGo, we provide personalised trip planning and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) technology, for corporations and governments, and our global team has been doing this remotely for more than a decade. If like us, you have to collaborate with teams and clients across several continents and want to help ensure business as usual, here are our top tips to keep remote working running smoothly in the weeks ahead:
You need the right tools, but not too many.
If you have too many communication channels, it can lead to redundant, repetitive communication and inefficiencies. So take this time to review your communication tools and decide if you have too many channels running in parallel. Here’s what we do:
- At SkedGo, our primary internal comms channels are Slack (for day-to-day, announcements, short-lived comms) and Redmine(task list, issue tracker and tech knowledge base).
- We use emails as a supporting channel.
- We find Zoom works best for team and client calls, Notionfor company manuals and general knowledge base and we use GitHub/GitLab for code review. We use Google Drive, docs, sheets and slides for collaborating on proposals and other items.
- We try not to rely on WhatsApp or text messages, as these can often be lost in the wider noise.
Meetings should be smart, not long, especially when working with different time zones.
As with physical meetings, letting virtual ones run for too long doesn’t make for quality sessions or higher productivity. If you keep meetings between 30 to 60 minutes, then all of your team will make an effort to get to the point as quickly as possible and not waste time.
Take notes in every meeting, sharing actions afterwards with your team in Notion or Slack so the next meeting can start promptly. Make sure to add action items, owners and deadline. This ensures everyone is held accountable and you get things done.
Make sure everyone is heard (and add a bit of fun).
Some team members will talk to their colleagues a lot more than others, depending on their roles in your company. To make sure everyone feels heard and valued consider setting up a monthly or weekly team call with as many staff, and across as many time zones, as possible.
Start with a brief update on business, tech and marketing and then move on to the fun part, asking everyone to share a little about themselves. At SkedGo we do this with an icebreaker, asking the whole team questions such as: ‘Which famous person would you want to have dinner with and why?’ or ‘What are you most excited about in the new year?’ As all team members are encouraged to keep their answers to under a minute, these calls rarely last more than half an hour and make for a perfect coffee break.
While your staff are remote working, they need to be able to raise issues quickly and efficiently so keep your hierarchies condensed and make sure your senior leaders are accessible to everyone. With short communication paths, we can all be heard.
Let’s be honest, not everyone is suited to remote working.
If you have a business model based on remote working, you hire people who are naturally suited to this. Not everyone today has that luxury or feels comfortable to work alone, especially when having to deal with an immediate crisis, such as coronavirus. Transitioning from office life to working from home quickly requires discipline and self-motivation, but it can be done.
If you are a team leader, research remote working and productivity strategies and pick the ones that work best for your business. Present your team with a variety of options and techniques so they can choose what works for them according to their personal preferences.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t neglect your mental health.
Humans are social creatures and it is normal to feel isolated at times, especially when working from home. Make sure to look after your mental as well as physical health by talking to colleagues if you are struggling or feeling lonely.
As far as current restrictions allow, go out for walks to get the sun on your face and some fresh air. You may be moving less than you are used to, so exercise from home and keep up a healthy diet. Monitor your water intake and stay hydrated.
Finally, make sure you get up from your desk regularly, stretch and move your eyes off the screen to look at something in the distance.
About the author
Sandra Witzel is Head of Marketing at SkedGo, a company that provides technology enabling companies and governments to develop their own tailored mobility solutions, quickly and cost-effectively. Based in London, Sandra has worked remotely for several years.
She began her tech career in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), moving on to marketing roles in online gaming and fintech, before taking up her position at SkedGo, where she helped the team transition from a B2C company to a well-known B2B technology operator.
Since it was founded in Sydney in 2009, SkedGo has integrated thousands of transport service operators into its Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform, covering hundreds of cities worldwide.