31 March, 2020 | Rebecca East

Using technology to support remote working

Did you have viral pandemic in your 5-year business growth forecasts? No, neither did we.

It is frightening to feel out of control, but while there are things we can’t plan for or change, there are others that we can get a grip on and do something about. One of those is how you manage your workforce through a challenging time, to make sure your business and teams stay intact, happy and engaged.

That, we can help with.

One of the biggest challenges to managing a remote workforce is structure. The habits and routines we develop in our shared workspaces help us to communicate: those casual conversations in coffee breaks, those daily briefings, those weekly team meetings, all feed into our more formal one-to-one meetings. Just by being together in a shared space, we can gauge how teams are feeling, how projects are progressing, and what we need to do to make positive changes.

With a switch to remote working, that structure can quickly be eroded, siloes can form, and manager-employee communications can break down. But technology can help us to stay connected and maintain communications.

Here are a few ways to use digital tools regularly to emulate co-working as your teams work from home:

  1. Team collaboration tools: You have probably used one of these in the past – Basecamp, Trello, Slack, Teams etc – but these tools will come into their own as you all work remotely. By creating a central hub for projects, everyone can keep track of tasks, responsibilities, objectives and results.

  2. Video conferencing: Speaking face to face allows for deeper conversation than a phone call. Schedule for team meetings, one to one management meetings and

  3. Email in moderation: Try to keep emails restricted to client communication or lengthy, one-way internal messages. If the email is likely to prompt a conversation, try to move replies to a messaging platform like Teams to avoid confusing chains of replies.

  4. Performance management tools: If you have a performance management tool, use it. Many tools can be accessed remotely, allowing you to keep one-to-ones with employees via video call, while using your performance tool to bring structure and accountability to conversations.

  5. Combine technology to communicate: With a combination of all of the above, managers and employees can feel in control. The most important aspect is communication: the right conversations, using the right tools, will help you track how employees are coping, make adjustments, and maintain output.

If you’d like to talk through how your OpenBlend tool can help during this time, or would like information on setting up a new OpenBlend platform remotely, call us on 01628 613 040 or email hello@openblend.com.

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