At Youmanage, we're no strangers to remote working. That's why one of our developers, Paul Oldfield, has provided some valuable tips to help your workers be happy and productive if they're working from home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are some things that have worked well for Team Youmanage:
A Team Channel
Teams can set up a channel – whether it's in Slack, Microsoft Teams, or another platform – to keep in contact with each other. My first experience of this was with Yammer. That was organisation-wide and had the advantages that we could have “Special Interest Groups” over and above “Team Groups”.
For a large organisation this worked really well, improving co-ordination and transfer of knowledge. You didn’t need to be in the same department or on the same site to get access to the 'gurus' who participated.
A Social Session
What has worked well for Youmanage is having a 'social' chat session for the team once a day – we don’t need more than 15 minutes, 10 minutes would probably do the job, just to keep people in touch with each other. Using audio is a must, but video might work for some teams. This helps keep spirits up and is particularly useful for those unaccustomed to working from home or remotely.
If you have channels to communicate, some people need 'thinking time', during which interruptions can be pretty costly. This varies between individuals, and such rules should be negotiated rather than imposed – from either side.
It can be quite useful, for example, to have a place where requests can be posted or queued, with an agreement that a person will look and respond within a known time. Again, the 'known time' can be tailorable: for some a response within five minutes can be important, but for others, two hours is adequate.
Talking about, setting, and living by, the rules governing interruptions can turn what was a growing source of irritation into a growing level of understanding and co-operation between team members.