Switching From Office to Remote Work with Bitrix24: Ten Easy Steps

Switching From Office to Remote Work with Bitrix24: Ten Easy Steps
Irina Valyanova
April 1, 2020
Last updated: September 7, 2021

Ever thought you’d be living through one of those zombie apocalypse movie first acts? Well, welcome to 2020 where stuff just got real: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is seriously messing with everyone’s plans for this year. Tens of millions of people are switching to work from home, telemedicine is on the rise, schools have gone fully online while some people have gone fully insane - all the while, online collaboration and communication platforms are exploding.

However, this is hardly the end. Most central banks agree that after this COVID-19 pandemic is over (and it will be over eventually), we will have to expect an economic downturn of a varying degree of ugliness - from “one of them regular recessions that happen once every 10 years” to a “crisis you haven’t seen since the Great Depression”. Whatever it will be, we must be ready - it’s either we collaborate online or shut down. 


Do Your Part and Switch From Office to Remote Work


Since going remote is rather a necessity than an option these days, we had to follow the likes of Microsoft and Google and switch to working from home. We did it pretty quickly - in a little less than 2 days all but 15 of our 400+ staff went from working in the office to working remotely.

How did we manage to pull it off? Well, cause our main product Bitrix24 is basically an online collaboration platform originally conceived and designed for uniting the efforts of multiple people working for the same organization, whether they are in the same building or spread all across the world. If you talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk - and we stand by this principle.

However, not all organizations around the world are prepared to go remote like that. The main challenges for business owners are:
  • Lack of proper tools for going fully remote
  • Fear of loss of control over their employees and business processes
  • Keeping the same level of efficiency as they used to have in the office

Needless to say, all of these can be remedied with a number of solutions, one of which is Bitrix24 - a service that combines 35 various tools for successful remote work.

Let’s go over 10 not-so-easy-but-certainly-doable steps a company needs to take to switch to remote work within just a few days and how Bitrix24 ties in.

Step 1. Create a Single Virtual Hub for the Entire Company


Most companies use one or several tools that allow for online communication and interaction - tools like Skype, Slack, Dropbox, or Google Calendar can really help to solve particular tasks when and where you need them to be solved.

However, none of these tools is sufficient enough by itself as they are limited in their scope. What if there was a service that conveniently combined the functionality of all these separate tools into one easy-to-use platform? Enter Bitrix24. Let’s see what challenges a typical company is faced with when switching to remote work and how they can be addressed.

Challenges

Responses

Each employee or department may start picking their own tools for communication, which will inevitably lead to total disarray and chaos

Move everyone to a single, unified platform accessible online from either desktop or mobile device

Supervisors can’t manage their subordinates properly and lose control of the process cause they don’t see the full picture

Start managing your projects online by assigning tasks to remote employees and monitoring work progress in real-time

Employees don’t always know what they should be doing and sometimes it’s unclear who’s responsible for what


Multiple conversations and files in multiple places get lost

Store all online communications and files in a single online platform with various levels of access defined by the managers

Bitrix24 is a juggernaut of a product combining all the tools you may ever need for effective remote work and putting them together in a neat online service + a mobile app.

Here are some of the tools we’ve got:

  • Tasks
  • Chats
  • Videoconferencing
  • Projects
  • Business processes
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Knowledge base
  • CRM
  • Telephony
And that’s just us scratching the surface! Now let’s scratch a bit deeper and move onto the next step.

Step 2. Make Internal Communications Effective


One of the first things you might notice after switching to remote work is that the system of communications you had before quickly becomes disrupted. Since clear and quick communications are crucial to efficient work, this is something you need to handle immediately.

Here’s what you should look out for:

Challenges

Responses

Hard to get timely responses from managers and coworkers

Give your employees something that we like to call “Facebook for work” - a kind of social media-like environment where everyone is in touch 24/7, stays updated on the latest events and easily monitored

You don’t know if everyone got the message

It’s hard to stay focused when you work from home - people need to be a part of the team

Remote employees are not familiar with the company workflow

Create a single knowledge base with rules for everyone to follow and adhere to


Strangely enough, Bitrix24 functions much like a social network without being one, strictly speaking. Users have their profiles, live feed, groups they’re following, notifications, private messaging, mobile app, etc. - everything you would expect from Facebook except it’s purely work-related (but can be fun at times nevertheless).

Step 3. Agree on Common Rules/Etiquette


Sinc the current situation with this temporary “work from home” thing, you have to update your corporate rules regarding work ethics and etiquette to accommodate for the situation.

While you’re at it, you might be faced with the following challenges.

Challenges

Responses

You get bombarded constantly with messages from all around, which leads to unnecessary distractions that decrease productivity

Work chats are for work only - do not allow any chitchat. Also, limit video calls and conferencing

Same platforms are used for both work and fun

Obviously, all the work has to be done within a single platform, which is not Facebook, Skype, or anything else that is not meant strictly for work

Discussions do not automatically result in tasks or decisions

Every important decision has to result in a task or project with deadlines and responsible people


In Bitrix24, you can easily manage all your contacts, notifications and incoming stream of information disabling everything that’s not relevant. 

Step 4. Start Meeting Online Regularly


When working remotely, one of the most effective and fastest ways of communication and discussion is videoconferencing - that’s as close as it gets to a real meeting. However, even this great tool requires careful approach and a bit of tweaking.

Challenges

Responses

Limited number of participants per call

Choose a tool that will ensure at least 5 contacts

No written meeting agenda

Every meeting should have an agenda prepared beforehand - this will save you plenty of time and unnecessary efforts


Currently, our videoconferencing tool in Bitrix24 allows up to 10 participants and works faster than Skype. You can schedule online meetings in our Calendar and write the agenda right in the event notes. To top it off, our Calendar is easily synced with Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.

Step 5. Accumulate and Share Knowledge Online


When working in the office, a lot of knowledge does not exist in any written form - it’s kinda there, passed on by the more experienced employees to the less experienced. However, this can no longer be the case when you switch to remote work - that’s why you should have your knowledge base online and instantly available to any employee who requires it. Also, certain employees may just leave or become unavailable for some period of time, which means their knowledge is lost - and you cannot have that.

Here’s what you should do:

Challenges

Responses

Hard to access and share knowledge, hard to find the information you’re looking for

Create a unified knowledge base with texts, images and videos available from any device. Supplement it with easy search and restricted access.



No written standard procedures

Have your team members describe and write all the information that might be useful for their colleagues and/or newcomers. Don’t forget to update it regularly


  Knowledge base is one of the key modules of Bitrix24. With its help, you can collect all the important information in your company and store it conveniently in one place while updating it on the go.

Step 6. Set Your Workflows Online (Yay RPA!)


Disrupted workflows is something we have addressed earlier - however, one cannot stress their importance enough.

In times when your previous schemes are not working, you need to automate as many processes as possible using RPA (robotic process automation). We have already created templates for most common situations - however, you can always add your own.

Challenges

Responses

People can’t get verbal approvals

Transfer all your previously offline workflows into online using automation

Physical documents and orders are out


In Bitrix24, things like paying a bill or requesting a sick leave can be easily done without any human interaction and within a few clicks. In this case, all invoices, orders, leaves are processed online. 

If you are a person who’s a part of the approval process, you will get a proper notification. All launched workflows are available to you for monitoring online.

Step 7. Switch From Verbal Commands to Written Tasks


Most managers are experienced enough to understand - people aren’t perfect and everything that’s been said sometimes can be forgotten or misinterpreted.

That’s why you need to have your orders given in a written task format - this way, you will always know what’s what.

Challenges

Responses

Supervisors don’t see all the assignments of their employees

Create and manage tasks in a single platform where they can be easily tracked and viewed as part of a bigger project

Hard to estimate employee workload

Tasks and project discussions are lost in chats

Have your tasks tied to your projects complete with an evaluation system and commentaries

No feedback from supervisors to subordinates


Bitrix24 is all about tasks. With the help of our service, you can easily handle projects of any magnitude. A project can be presented via the Gantt Chart or Kanban board where you can track both individual and overall progress.

Step 8. Monitor Work Progress and Collect Work Reports


Once all the tasks have been set up, someone has to monitor work progress, make necessary adjustments, and control the efficiency.

Here’s what the typical challenges are:

Challenges

Responses

People tend to start slacking off when working remotely

Employ a clear mechanism to control and see what your employees are currently doing

Unclear how to evaluate the performance

Collect work reports and define the KPI


With the help of Tasks module in Bitrix24, you can easily control even a large group of people working online from home. Each one of them has a task with a clearly set deadline. Once the task is finished, you get notified and can view the results. Finally, you can rate your employees performance, which gives you a nice KPI to evaluate their efficiency. 

Step 9. Activate Remote Selling with CRM


On quarantine or not, people still need to buy stuff, perhaps even more so online. That’s why your sales department will probably be busy working with their clients during this period. How to make this work more efficient when it’s done from home?

Challenges

Responses

No access to a single up-to-date customer or prospect database

Online CRM accessible from ANYWHERE

Employees keep their own private databases

All incoming data (calls, email, chat, social, etc) are attached to a single CRM. Chat and discussions directly inside the CRM

No understanding which stage the deal is currently in

Quick and easy CRM search allows to find info quickly


If we had to get rid of all the modules in Bitrix24 and leave just one, it would have to be our CRM. Allowing you to store and manage all your client data in one place, integrated with our telephony, emails, and chats, available from any device connected to the Internet - this is arguably the most useful tool we’ve ever created.

Step 10. Transfer All Your Client Communications to Online


Starting up an online CRM is one thing - you have to master it and use it to the maximum extent.

Challenges

Responses

Phone sets are in the office

Enable IP telephony

Incoming inquiries from multiple channels

Have your calls taken and routed automatically

Hard to control what your sales people are saying

Have detailed call stats for each sales rep

Sales people feel like they’ve been left alone

Process and route incoming calls according to the rules set by you

Hard to route leads and customers among sales reps


This is exactly what Bitrix24 CRM gives you - once you hooked up our telephony, you can start accepting and routing calls automatically, which turns your sales team into a professional call center automated to the teeth. This way, you can be sure no piece of important information is missed and every client is accounted for.
Free. Unlimited. Online.
Bitrix24 is a place where everyone can communicate, collaborate on tasks and projects, manage clients and do much more.
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