We are almost at the end of the year and there is no doubt that the future of work is from anywhere, at any time. Ever since the declaration of the pandemic and the mandatory lockdowns worldwide, office-based employees have been asked to work from home. Looking at the world after the pandemic, we are seeing that the new normal would be working from anywhere.
We have seen the importance of technology and connectivity in our everyday lives. Our smartphones and social media activities have kept us sane amidst the uncertainties. It has even become the holy grail to those who have started working from home. Though working remotely is not something new, it gained traction because of the need for businesses to continue their operations despite the lockdowns. In fact, long-time remote workers and freelancers are rejoicing because their working setup is now being recognised and adapted.
The earlier months of 2020 have been a series of trial and error for most office-based companies and businesses as they go about this abrupt change of work setup. It’s good that there are technologies that support remote working and help make global collaboration easier. Most of all, having the perfect team of remote workers will make everything run smoothly.
Here are some of the important qualities you should look for when building your remote team of experts:
Look for someone who already knows or has an idea how this setup works. It would mean he or she is already familiar and has adjusted to the needs of remote working. They should know how to manage their time wisely, deal with distractions, set deadlines and follow throughs, and respect the time of their colleagues.
Motivation is a challenge for remote workers, especially to those who have come from office-based jobs. Being self-motivated or having that can-do attitude helps in ensuring that a person can and will do the job independently. He or she should be able to stay on track and accomplish tasks even when colleagues and superiors are not around.
Skilled in communication
Despite the lack of physically present colleagues, communicating is one of the most important skills in a remote work setup. Though there is no need for face-to-face interaction, being a good communicator using email and other messaging platforms is essential. It doesn’t just mean good in composing clear and concise thoughts, but also in understanding the relay between people.
In connection with being a good communicator, everyone should also know the importance of being responsive. Since this is a remote setup using high technology platforms, quick responses are expected. Make sure the team is reachable via any messaging platform of your choice. When it comes to global teams, take note of the time difference in every location so that you would know when to expect the other person to respond.
Another challenge for companies and businesses transitioning to remote work is introducing the use of technology to their team. It is important to gather people that are already familiar with working with gadgets, softwares, and apps. In this way, tasks are efficiently done without having the need to orient them with step-by-step instructions and to avoid misuse.
Working from anywhere at any time is the new normal. This is a huge shift in our work culture at a global scale. The future is in the hands of the remote workforce and by next year, companies and businesses will have a better understanding of how this setup works. This does not only mean keeping safe against the coronavirus, but also gaining other benefits such as improved productivity, greater retention of talent, and more effective recruitment. Companies and businesses can save a lot from hiring worldwide talents. Everyone can enjoy working from anywhere in the world during any time they want.
The only secret lies in forming the right team with the perfect members. Not everyone is fit for a remote environment. Make sure each individual is capable and ready to embrace the future of work.
After forming your team of remote workers, the next question is how to collaborate productively. While it is easy to have a brainstorming session in an office environment, the new normal calls for group meetings that have to be done remotely. With video conferencing technology, brainstorming anywhere in the world is just one click away.
To be able to conduct an efficient and effective brainstorm session, here are some tips to help you conduct a successful collaboration.
Gather the participants
When inviting the participants, you must take note of their involvement in the session. You might not need everyone in the team to be present. You also need to consider their time zones, internet connection speed, availability, and how comfortable they are working with others in this remote setup. If they are not yet formally introduced with each other, it is best to have separate introduction sessions with them before inviting them to a bigger group. Knowing other participants in the brainstorming will lessen the awkwardness and shyness of talking to each other.
Specify the purpose
It is important to have an agenda and stick with it. In this way, goals will be set and the time allotment will be strictly for the topics to be discussed. If you already have an objective before the session starts, you can end it by achieving its purpose. If you think that a one-time gathering is not enough to get the answers you seek, then let everybody know that it will be a recurring session and set a fixed schedule for the next ones.
Lead and facilitate
Remote brainstorming is harder than it looks because the participants may seem distant or can have the tendency to disconnect with the rest of the group. There are unseen distractions and disturbances. Video conferencing has options to mute or turn off cameras. Problems with connectivity in their respective locations can sometimes create delays and dead air. The importance of leading and facilitating the session will ensure that everyone is still onboard and on the same page. If no one wants to talk first, take the lead and keep the ball rolling. Make sure to avoid awkward silences and give others a chance to speak.
Encourage individual teamwork
As a remote team located in different parts of the world with no one to physically collaborate with, it is important to learn the art of individual teamwork. This means working on your own to look for solutions to the challenges presented, then the output is collected and combined with those from the others. Use collaborative platforms where you can easily share individual ideas and learn more even after the session has ended.
Ask for feedback
The best way to improve is to be open to suggestions from others. Find out what worked and what didn’t work by asking the participants what they can say about the session. Learning from each other opens more opportunities for comfortable collaboration. It also creates a connection with everybody in the group. In this way, participants also know that their opinions matter and their thoughts are being heard.
Brainstorming encourages the freedom to express and exchange ideas. It is important to adjust to remote setup as the new normal and transition to working together but separately. Though it is a bit challenging compared to having it in person, doing it online via video conferencing should be no different. Remote collaboration does not end with the video call. With these tips, you should be able to work together with your team from anywhere and any time without any worry.
It has been challenging to create and maintain deeper connections with other people at this time of global pandemic. Everyday is full of uncertainty and everyone is spending more time with their gadgets. Though some of us are stuck indoors with our families, socializing with other people outside our homes seem really important for our wellbeing. Going online has been the new norm for social distancing.
For professionals working in the field of marketing, this is a struggle. Like everyone else, they need to adjust to the new normal. Companies and organisations that continue with their business-as-usual operations are up on their feet to find new ways to make their strategies work in the middle of the global pandemic. Here are some of the ways they try to be more human for their customers.
1. Adjusting to new expectations and experiences
With governments locking down, quarantine measures and health precautions being followed, day-to-day experiences of people and their expectations have changed dramatically. One example of this is the effect of staying at home and closure of shops. Previous strategies of advertising will no longer be effective. To better adjust to the current situation, marketers should change their strategy to match the expectations of the people based on their experiences during the pandemic. In this way, marketers can get in touch with the people and stay relevant.
2. Listening and observing
Observing the changes in the environment is one way to familiarise with the current situation. During this time when people spend most of the time online, social media plays a great role. By browsing through the different platforms, you can already see and listen to the needs of the customers. You get to understand their circumstances and feelings, and have an idea on how to rework your strategies to stay relevant to them.
3. Showing genuine compassion
During this time that we are facing a global health crisis, it is important to show genuine compassion without pushing too much for your products or services. It is much better to aim for relevance instead of sales or conversion. There are some companies and businesses whose plans were already laid for the early months of the year and failed to retract them. They ended up looking like they did not care about the situation at all. In times like these, marketing efforts should focus more on showing compassion. This means letting customers and other people know that you are promoting the importance of our humanity amidst crisis.
4. Rewarding loyalty
With everything going on, it is hard to reach out to your customers on a personal level. Even if we are in the middle of a pandemic, we still have to be able to provide the best customer experience and maintain good relationships with them. This is important because we want to remain in their minds until all goes back to normal. By then, customer relationships should be as strong or even stronger than before. One thing you could do is to reward their loyalty in an innovative way. You can listen to their needs and provide them with help. This act of kindness can go a long way more than simply a reward. It is a way of reaching out to them.
5. Preparing for the post-COVID-19 world
As we enter the latter part of the year and embrace the new normal, marketers should already be able to fully adjust and learn from the situation. The world no longer revolves around how companies and businesses survive. It is about how important humanity is above all else. This can be achieved by collaborating with and caring for people, the customers. Make sure that from this day forward, all marketing efforts will be aimed towards establishing human connections and keeping the relationships strong through your products and services.
The global pandemic has pushed the world to embrace a fully digital lifestyle. To keep up with this advancement, associations and businesses should be able to fuse together a healthy mix of digital experience with a human touch. To make it possible, marketers should totally overhaul their strategy and execution in terms of adapting to the current situation. Strategies from last year and pushing for hard selling will not be that effective today.
The Digiters have been working from home since the team was established years ago. Each one of us is located strategically around the world at the comfort of our own homes. This year’s global pandemic made us realise that our working setup will soon become the new normal. Most companies and businesses had no choice but to oblige their employees to work from home unprepared.
Remote working has been effective for us and because it will be the future of work in the post-COVID-19 world, we are here to share our knowledge in this working environment. Here are six technologies that we use on a regular basis.
We use Zoom and Google Meet for meetings and conferences, either in groups or one-on-one. The good thing about these conferencing platforms is the capability to create breakout rooms where the meeting host can split the meeting participants into separate smaller sessions. In this way, you can communicate faster with everyone at the same time. We defined usual daily rooms for different teams and projects. So based on what project you are working on, you can enter into that particular room to be virtually together with your project team in one place. This work setup improved our efficiency, communication, and team spirit.
Lear more about Zoom and Google Meet.
2. G Suite for emails and file storage
Aside from using Gmail as our business email provider, we also use other Google tools to make our collaboration easier. We have Google Drive for storage. For the actual file creation, we have Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. We also use Google Hangouts for quick audio/video chats and Google Calendar for meeting invites and scheduling. The best thing about having G Suite is that everyone can easily access anything.
Learn more about the Google Suite.
3. Slack for team communication
We use Slack for professional messaging and team communication. It is a quick and easy to use app for computers or mobile phones. You can send a direct message to anyone or create public and private channels where your team can discuss work matters instantly.
Learn more about Slack.
4. Asana for project management
For managing and tracking progress of ongoing projects, we use Asana. In this tool, everyone in the team can see what tasks are being done and to whom they are assigned. Each task on the board can be transferred to a different column depending on their status such as to-do, doing, and done. You can add more columns to easily track everyone’s assigned task. You can add teams and create projects. This is a more organised way of collaborating especially if team members are all working remotely.
Learn more about Asana.
5. Clockify for tracking work hours
Compared to an office environment, you cannot check the attendance of each team member when you all work remotely. For this reason, we use Clockify to track the working time of our team members. Aside from this, you can also view what tasks they are working on. Checking how long a person has worked is good if your team works full-time or on an hourly basis. The team can set hourly rates, billable time, breaks, and send a report of how they have spent their day. By using time trackers, you can have enough proof that the team is performing even while working from home. This is also a proof of how much you have worked and the time you invested.
Learn more about Clockify.
6. Revolut for salary disbursement
Of course, what better way to appreciate the team’s hard work than to send them their salaries in a timely manner. This is why we use Revolut. With this financial tech, we can easily send or receive money in any currency, either directly to our personal bank accounts in our respective countries or within the Revolut app.
Learn more about Revolut.
There are a lot of other technologies made available for use to improve the productivity of everyone working from home. These are just some of the platforms that the Digiters are using. We are sharing them to you to help you get an idea of how effective remote working can be and how it can be beneficial especially in the new normal.
Since the World Health Organization already declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic, the question lies as to how businesses and companies will continue their operations. Employees around the world are advised to work from home to prevent the spread of the disease. If they are more inclined to the corporate lifestyle and office setup, how can they adjust to their new workplace? Here are some tips on how to stay productive even when working at home.
1. Explain your situation to your family members
You have to involve your family members and everyone in your household into this situation. They have to know that you will be working and not taking a vacation. Explain the need to respect your time and space. Their full cooperation will ensure a peaceful working condition at home.
2. Setup a proper work station
Sure, you have your laptop and you can take your work anywhere. But did you know that setting up a small area for working makes it more conducive? Make it more realistic by customising it to look like an office desk. You won’t feel a change of environment and you get to focus more on the tasks at hand.
3. Set a schedule and divide your time wisely
Working from home means you have all the time in the world. You just have to know how to manage it properly. Create a schedule of the things you need to do starting from when you wake up until you go to bed. This way, you would know when you should dedicate your time for working and what part of the day goes to other stuff.
4. Create your own routine
When working, set a list of things to do as a habit. Should you check emails first? What task should you do first? Would you need to check up on what your other colleagues are doing? When would you know it’s time for a virtual meeting? Following a routine makes it easier to adjust to the new home office lifestyle especially that you are working alone in an all too familiar environment.
5. Make use of technology to connect with colleagues
Having no coworkers around might make you feel anxious. Especially if you’re used to collaborating with an actual team surrounding you, the silence could be bothersome. There are a lot of online tools that help remote workers communicate and work as a team even when separated by distance. Use these technologies to your advantage. Video conferencing, virtual office, messaging apps, and task management tools can make your lives easier.
6. Reduce distractions
Truth is, you can’t really avoid distractions when you are at home. As much as possible, lessen your exposure to what causes you to be distracted and eventually procrastinate. This could be your pets, your family members, other personal matters, or simply the act of sleeping or eating. TV and social media could also be the top sources of distraction. You might even be tempted to browse the internet for irrelevant stuff. Even if no one is watching you work, focus on your task and act as if there is a big boss hovering behind you.
7. Remember to take breaks
Because you are working at home, you are no longer confined to a 1-hour lunch break time off. You can take breaks whenever you want. There is no reason to be burned out at home when you have full control of your time. You can take a nap in between, eat snacks, or even sleep if necessary. Just don’t forget to follow your schedule and finish your work at the end of the day.
Working from home is truly a rewarding experience if you know how to handle it. The important thing to keep in mind is how you can combine work and leisure without having to sacrifice the productivity and status quo.
Are you ready to work at the comfort of your own home? Do you have what it takes to remain productive even outside the office?
Having face-to-face collaboration and office setup will always be better for businesses and companies in terms of productivity. It has been the status quo for employers and employees working together. Clocking in and out, sitting on a desk from 9 to 5 with immediate superiors doing rounds from time to time, recognition and promotion for a job well done, pulling teams to a meeting… These are just some of the things office workers have been used to since time immemorial.
Although most studies suggest that 2020 will be the year of gradually embracing remote work, the whole world did not anticipate that there would be a need for everyone to work remotely from the comfort of their own homes as early as the first quarter of the year.
With the World Health Organization’s recent declaration of the coronavirus as a global pandemic, we all wonder how a company can adapt to a remote setup, especially knowing its importance to ensure continuous productivity and business operations. It’s not just the need to adapt but the need to succeed that is crucial. Sure, people will eventually get used to working outside of the office. But how will success be measured and achieved?
Transitioning from an office environment to remote working doesn’t happen overnight. There is a need to restructure processes and to change the culture itself. But with the current crisis in global health and the urgency of working from home, companies and businesses need to act quickly for their employees to adjust.
For us, the Digiters, performance and output have been our key focus regardless of the physical or virtual presence. We are a team of digital masters from around the world who bring value to organisations by offering our tech, creative and marketing expertise. So how do we reach our expected result and achieve success even if we are countries and time zones apart?
The top secret is proper communication. Effective and ongoing communication is crucial to our work and is an integral part of our business. Other secrets include maximising the use of technology as work tools, sharing the same level of passion in our own fields and merging our individual uniqueness into one culture. Knowing that we can rely on each other all the time is already an accomplishment. There is no such thing as barriers or borders. We are digital masters but we make sure we don’t lose our human touch. As we always say, #GoDigitalBeHuman.
Being a growing group of purely remote workers makes it easy for us to continue with our operations even in the midst of a pandemic. All we have to do now is to make sure we stay healthy in the comfort of our own workstations.
We have been operating with this setup for three years now. Yes, things were not easy at the beginning but we are growing and learning from trial and error. Our objective is to create an environment where we can all bring out our natural best wherever we are. So part of our mission is to help introduce this possibility, where a business or company can operate successfully even if the team members are not physically together in one room.
To help you prepare to start working remotely, here are some of our key learnings while running a digital-first, global team:
Trust each other
All team members should learn the importance of trust. If they are used to seeing each other and watching how they complete their tasks in real time, it’s time to put trust and have faith that everything will fall into place and succeed. This will only be possible through proper planning, project management and constant communication.
You can gain trust from your remote team by having self-discipline. Even if you are not working in an office, practicing proper etiquette such as reporting to work on time or submitting deliverables before the deadline goes a long way. When you are highly disciplined, you are capable of making logical decisions and finishing tasks right away. There is no room for procrastination.
Set goals and expectations
Working remotely where no one can see you does not mean you are free to do nothing. It also doesn’t mean you can escape your job. It is important to have goals and daily tasks so that everyone is clear on what output to produce. Always remember that you still need to accomplish something even when you are not in the office.
One of the perks of working remotely is having the flexibility in terms of time. This can also be applied in the choice of what productivity tools to use. Make sure you all collaborate only on the platforms you need such as video conferencing, virtual office, messaging apps, cloud-based file repository and task management tools.
Of course, working remotely will not work well if there is no passion. You have to love what you’re doing or else, you might have the tendency to disregard productivity altogether and eventually achieve nothing at the end of the day. Without passion, there is no focus. An employee who is used to an office environment might suffer from lack of enthusiasm when working remotely and end up being a couch potato at home.
Learned a thing or two? With all things considered, how prepared are you to work remotely? Share your experiences with us!