How to Make the Work from Home Transition Effective

How to Make the Work from Home Transition Effective

Remote teams and Work from Home are here to stay. They are not the trend but the norm! Teams across the globe are adopting project management & virtual collaboration tools such as Orangescrum to make the work from home transition smoother.

WFH isn’t a new phenomenon but has been around for over a decade with last 5 years showing at least 44% of US professional work half their work week remotely.

More and more tech savvy businesses and new age entrepreneurs have chosen to run an entirely remote company.

Let’s get back to the recent economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and why remote teams and work from home has gained so much traction.

The Background

First off companies weren’t ready to deal with the sudden lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because they had not envisioned or ever dream of running their business on remote collaboration.

As a result they did not have the required:

  • Work from home policies and procedures in place
  • Infrastructure and technology
  • Remote collaboration & project management tools
  • Remote work mind set & a high trust environment

What followed was panic, chaos, anxiety & stress at all levels and business component included.

  • Customer service & support was impacted
  • Employees did not know what to do next
  • Leadership was battling to get the lights back-on
  • No clarity around revenue & new business

All in all not a very good spot for businesses to start with.

At the same time there were organizations who activated their substantial disaster recovery and business continuity plans to keep the lights on and minimize the impact of a prolonged lockdown.

The Challenges

After the initial setback teams started to get innovative. All joined a race to activate as many remote collaboration tools and techniques possible to get off the ground.

There was a sharp spike in subscriber rates as publicly announced by Google for Google Meet, Zoom for their video conferencing app.

Organizations were also restricted in terms of budget and pricing and for the ones just starting with a new tool proved an uphill task.

  • Unsure if the teams would use it?
  • How long will it take to adopt?
  • What features do I need?
  • Am I ready to make this investment?
  • Will the tool support my business & processes?

Now taking a deeper look into the modus operandi that the teams adopted with remote collaboration:

  • Meetings for meetings
  • Constant team check-ins
  • Hourly updates
  • Too many calls
  • Communicating effectively was a huge challenge
  • Too many ad hoc report requests
  • Inability to collaborate effectively
  • Lack of real time progress visibility

The Solution

The first thing for project managers, team leads and the C-suite leaders to focus on is to build & support a high trust, high performing team environment.

And this needs having the right operating procedures in place.

Clear, crisp and easy to follow practices that provide highly visible & immediate benefits.

E.g. have a centralized task list where all can see who is working on what and when is it expected to be completed.

Now you can start it with a shared sheet but not very optimal. As the required team members will not be alerted of your updates and progress made.

Quick tips to transition into a robust Work from home operations

  1. Bring the team on a single all-in-one collaboration tool – YEAH! YEAH! We all know it. Focus on your core processes, the team’s skill sets and daily activities before choosing one. But do implement one robust project management software.
  2. Easy Access to required info and docs – Do not make your team search for relevant info and project documentation. Control with role based user access but make them available in one single repository
  3. Share the tasks list – maintain a project wise task list that can be accessed by the project team. Helps with transparent task management, progress tracking & provides visibility to who is doing what.
  4. Enable notifications, alerts & reminders – these will curtail your urge to constantly check-in on your team members. You are alerted of progress, status updates, comment posts, change of assignments etc. Streamlines your tasks flow and execution.
  5. Automate & easily replicate repetitive tasks – things will fall through cracks when everyone is remote. But if you have a tool that can bring your process alive & automate repetitive tasks nothing like it. You save time and never miss on important activities and timelines.
  6. Time tracking – now this is the most crucial aspect. You need to get paid for your work and so do your employees. In-built time tracking capabilities within the project management tool helps you know how your team is spending their time and grants visibility to your confirmed revenue stream.
  7. Resource Management – visibility to your workforce’s availability and utilization is furthermore crucial in the current times. Unless you know who is available, when, for how long and who has just been sitting idle you are draining your revenue and overloading your committed resources. STOP that with a holistic project & resource management tool.
  8. Kick security concerns out of the park – self-host or look for a SaaS option as most of them are hosted on a secure AWS private cloud plus they offer very robust user role management. Hence you control what information your teams will access, when and how. Keep Calm.
  9. Reports & Metrics – you must have control on the pulse of your business & reports are a must. Now you cannot keep on asking for reports every other hour because you are jittery. Real time dashboards provide all information transparently. Be it
    • Planned vs actual
    • Billable hours
    • Pending tasks
    • Resource utilization
    • Completed & overdue tasks
    • Resource allocation

You have all you need just a few clicks away!

  1. Empower, trust & celebrate – None of the above will work if your teams feel threatened. Curb the inner Sherlock Holmes & focus on transparency. Identify quick wins, share it with the team and celebrate. Encourage positive behavior. Highlight the efficient members and encourage others to follow suit. The tool will help you get to that, all you need is a high trust & self-organized mind set.

Keeping it all together!

Uncertain times are not meant to be necessarily bad or ominous. They are times to retrospect, improvise & innovate.

I am not talking about building another Rome Just start with “simplification”. Make a one point agenda to remove all the clutter, any item that have come to your attention as cumbersome, simplify it.

Amongst all the ruckus and confusion you will find that one simple thing to streamline the way you work or think.

Most importantly, when you start to simplify the non-value adds are identified and removed. As a result what is valuable comes to fore, becomes further valuable & you are well placed to replicate this value frequently & incrementally.

The unspoken attributes of this simplification would be:

  • More transparency for your teams
  • Kill confusion eliminate chaos to a great extent
  • Generate confidence & motivation within the team
  • Goals and priorities are clearer
  • Teams find it easy to adopt & align with the current paradigm shift
  • Willingness to contribute more, deliver more value

And at the heart of it all sits, simplifies remote team collaboration provided you have just the tool your team needs.

How ahead are you in transitioning into an effective work from home team?

Haven’t started yet? Get there Now!

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