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The ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic can still be felt across the entire globe and in all industries and niches. The altered business landscape and workplace has put many organizations to the test of resilience, prowess, productivity and internal communication. This is particularly true for those teams that suddenly had to face the pitfalls of working remotely and quickly adapt by adjusting their workflow according to the newfound work environment.
One of the major obstacles in this endeavor is the team’s ability to stay as productive as it was prior to the pandemic. Those that were lucky enough to keep the same workload (i.e. didn’t lose too many clients), often struggle to maintain the optimal levels of efficiency and get the job done in a timely manner.
The main building block of successful remote collaboration is keeping the communication among the teams and team members at a satisfactory level.
This can be quite challenging as recent surveys show that nearly 30% of remote workers struggle to maintain their work-life balance and say they practice taking time off more frequently for mental health reasons.
Properly maintaining all the projects and business operations can be difficult even in normal working conditions, and with the virus outbreak now making communication and collaboration among employees that much more convoluted, the need for finding new ways of sustaining efficiency has increased quite a bit.
That said, here are 3 actionable tips on how to keep all teams and employees happy and efficient while working remotely.
Essentially, your virtual workplace should include a similar set of infrastructure components compared to your physical one. The end goal of each workflow element remains the same.
Typically, you will need a set of platforms and tools for team communication and collaboration.
Brainstorming, sharing ideas, and managing tasks and projects needs to stay on par with the market and industry standards, which can be challenging within virtual environments.
Aside from the basic tools your employees use on a regular basis, team managers are required to provide all the necessary collaboration and communication platforms that enable all team members to efficiently work together in a virtual environment.
Recreating “normal” work conditions requires handy and user-friendly communication tools capable of providing internal chats and video conferencing solutions (like Slack, Zoom, Skype), as well as project- and task-oriented platforms (like Asana, Workzone, Trello, Basecamp). These platforms and tools equip and enable each employee to have quick access to and a clear overview of all the projects and tasks.
If necessary, be sure to provide quick training to the employees who are not familiar with these tools so all your departments are effectively in the loop and properly interconnected. You can also have an active virtual help desk for helping team members navigate across this virtual ecosystem.
Once you have a working virtual infrastructure in place, it is time to use it wisely. You would want to make sure the communication among your employees and across your departments is as parsimonious and streamlined as possible.
Getting one’s message across can be challenging in a virtual workplace as the lack of organic, IRL interaction tends to hinder the communication flow and prolong meetings quite a bit.
As we are living in the age of information, it is absolutely necessary to protect your and your clients’ data. Not only because of potential breaches and cyber attacks, but due to the necessary compliance to certain rules, regulations and laws regarding sensitive data and privacy protection. You don’t want to face any legal issues on top of the already convoluted work environment.
The most effective way of taking care of data protection and proper compliance to all the necessary laws is to implement an internal system that will automate and monitor your data security, breach prevention, as well as implement email retention policies so any sensitive information is being highly protected.
Your ecosystem of work emails contains a great amount of highly-confidential business-related information, which is why enabling proper email compliance and adhering to relevant regulations is expected from your organization.
Be sure to keep your other communication channels (social media, tools, phone calls, texts) secured as well.
Once you’ve successfully tackled the aforementioned steps toward improving your business’ internal communication and quality of collaboration, it is highly important to keep your newfound workflow consistent.
Be sure not to abandon critical policies and keep your monitoring systems in place. Should the landscape change yet again, it should be easier for you to adapt and tackle new challenges as they crop up.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.
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