More and more teams are making the jump to an online format and for good reason. You can cut out the costs of an office, forget about lengthy commutes, and allow your workers to spend more time with their families. What's not to love?
Well, it's not quite as easy as it might sound. You can't just send everyone home, put your fingers in your ears, and hope everything goes fine.
Before leaving the office, you have to implement a set of guidelines with rules and structures that are well-understood by everyone, and adopt cloud-based tools to keep things running smoothly. Luckily, Bitrix24 is on hand to make this all a lot easier with our online collaboration platform for remote work.
Here, we’re going to tell you what remote work planning is, how to create one, and how it will help you transition to an online office.
Let’s kick things off with the obvious. Your plan is, at its core, a document that outlines how your team can work from outside the office. It should include things like the tools you need and the rules and regulations for working from home, but it isn’t necessarily fixed. You can always make small adjustments to get your remote office working as efficiently as possible.
You can’t just take a remote work plan template from the internet and expect it to work for any team. While you’re working on your plan, bear in mind that it should be directly related to the situation of your staff. This means knowing who has kids at home, who would prefer to work in an office, and which jobs make sense to be remote.
A key part of a remote work plan that is often missing is the actual hardware involved. Not everybody has a home office with an ergonomic seat to protect their back.
It is only fair that with your reduced costs in the office, you reimburse all the tools that your team will need to work from home. Items like an office chair or a laptop may be a big investment, but in the long run, it will work out cheaper. Of course, it’s a good idea to keep your team as happy and healthy as possible, so work out the costs and include options in your remote work plan.
Bitrix24 offers team calendars for your whole company and for individual departments so you can work out your schedules and see when other people are available or not. Absence calendars give you a clear picture, while your organizational chart will signal if someone isn’t at work on a certain day.
Time tracking tools can help you ensure that your team isn’t slacking, which is a very real possibility outside the office. Yes, it’s true that people can sign in, then head back to bed. However, with Bitrix24’s task supervision and control tools, you can pull up efficiency reports to see who is completing their tasks on time and who isn’t.
Tracking your team doesn’t have to be a Big Brother-style system that stresses out your staff. You can also use it to give people more flexibility, for example, parents can drop the kids off at school and log on later, making up their hours in the evening.
Working from home can be an isolating experience, especially for new recruits who may have never met their colleagues in real life.
You can get nice and creative in this part of your plan for working remotely. Maybe a Monday coffee morning at 10:00 on a video call. Sure, if your company is more than 100, it could get tricky, so try it at a departmental level. Alternatively, you might prefer a morning workout or one of the thousands of games, quizzes, and challenges you can set up as team-building activities.
Bitrix24 not only makes planning remote work easy, but you can keep both managers and staff happy with only a few added extras.
Part of your remote work plan should include how and when to communicate with your teams. There is a real allure to instant messaging systems for every little favor, but this kind of culture can quickly lead to a feeling of being overloaded and burned out.
Create guidelines to limit your team’s stress: if you’re simultaneously working on a project, instant messaging is great, but if something can wait, asynchronous communication like email is best. You can take things even further with work-related tasks as you’ll see in the following section.
Regarding meetings, there is a cultural shift towards reducing them as much as possible. However, remember that with remote teams, video calls are also the only time you get to see your colleagues face-to-face, so a pre-project meeting or a quick daily stand-up on a video call isn’t the worst idea.
As we alluded to earlier, communication doesn’t have to follow the same old tracks of emails and chat. Bitrix24’s project management tools give you a framework that you can fill with all the instructions, documents, deadlines, and people involved in every job. Everybody receives a notification when there are updates, and any requests or queries can be contained within the project. So congratulations, you’ve avoided the awful trap of having to trawl through past messages to find that crucial document you’ve been looking for.
Speaking of documents, remote teams always need a way of being able to work on them efficiently. Whether it’s three people writing a file simultaneously or one that needs to be approved or shared with colleagues, you need a good cloud-based Drive with collaborative documents.
With automations, you can simplify your remote work plan by letting Bitrix24 take care of the kind of repetitive, boring tasks that demotivate you and your team. Imagine a world where you don’t have to send an email to a sales agent every time you get a new lead. With CRM automations, you can automatically assign the lead to a team member and get them started in your email marketing workflow.
Similarly, you can upgrade your project management approach by making dependencies part of your workflows. The principle is simple: when one task is marked as complete, another is assigned. You can customize your dependencies to work for your team’s needs and save time for everyone involved. Don’t worry, you won’t lose track of things — everyone can see what is in progress and what has been done.
Automations have the added benefit of cutting out a lot of confusing back-and-forth emails and instant messages which reduces stress on your team.
Now you’ve learned the basics for a successful remote work plan and a smooth transition to home offices, it’s time to put it into practice! Sign up for Bitrix24 today and get exploring.
It is unbelievably easy to get started and we’re sure your team will think the same. More than 9,000,000 companies have already streamlined their processes both in the office and in the cloud. Are you going to join them?