With COVID-19 pandemic hitting the US, many companies are experiencing something they never have before, their entire workforce working remotely. Here at eimagine, we have gone full remote work starting Monday, 3/16/2020. This took a tremendous amount of coordination, communication and collaboration and we wanted to share our tips and tricks on accomplishing such an initiative.
Our 8-Step Plan for Remote Work includes:
Your company’s leadership must decide your goals for remote work. From communication plans and strategy, to action plans and work streams, having a clearly defined measurable of success is critical.
Whether you utilize an IT department, outside vendor or internal folks who handle your hardware needs, you need to ensure all of your staff and partners have laptops and necessary hardware. For example, we have a partner who manages helpdesk calls for a large State project. Their staff utilized desktops at the State and we worked with the partner to acquire laptops to ensure uninterrupted helpdesk support.
Your team may need one or more tools for full collaboration. At eimagine, we use Office 365 along with Teams and Outlook. While we use Outlook for normal email needs; Teams is a great remote work tool. Think of Teams as the one tool to chat, call, meet and collaborate from anywhere. Additionally, Teams offers document sharing, group chats, wikis, etc. I couldn’t recommend Teams enough.
4. Central Communication.
Create a central location to communicate updates in regards to the pandemic. We created a collaboration area in Teams to communicate COVID-19 related information we receive at a local, state, and federal level. All of our employees can quickly view new information or seek answers from our leadership on the ever-changing landscape.
5. Trial Day.
Schedule a trial day for everyone to work remotely. Start off with an all-hands meeting, clearly stating the trial day purpose and who your team needs to contact if there are experiencing technical issues, etc. With a trial day, your company can see any hardware, software or process issues before moving to 100% remote work.
6. Outside Communication.
Communicate your company’s remote work plans to your customers, vendors, and partners. The more you communicate, the better. This is particularly important if your employees work from client sites.
7. Meeting Protocols.
Communicate meeting protocols to your team as virtual meetings are vastly different than face-to-face. Ensure all future meetings have dial-in information. At the start of the meeting, confirm meeting duration, ensure all meeting artifacts are attached to the meeting invite or are ready to share via your virtual meeting. Meeting owners should handle roll call and purpose of meeting. Roll call is important, so meeting attendees understand who is on the call and are not wondering is ‘Bill’ on the phone? There is nothing worse than joining a meeting and having no idea who is or not on the call. Meeting purpose ensures everyone understands what you are trying to accomplish by the end of the meeting. Finally, make sure you cover next steps and all action items are collected, owners assigned, and due dates communicated.
Despite our best planning efforts, something will be missed. No big deal. Work with your leadership and employees on any missed communication, protocol, etc. What did we miss at eimagine? When working, most of our team prefers to use two monitors. Something obvious but we failed to identify and the issues surfaced during our Trial Day.
We hope this checklist helps companies who are dealing with the reality of a 100% remote work force. We are in unprecedented times and if you need assistance with Office 365, Teams, Outlook or just another person to bounce an idea off, we are here to help. Please call or email us at MSTeams@eimagine.com.