You are not alone in feeling the effects of the recent Covid-19 pandemic. For the past few days our social, email and news timelines have been blowing up with recommendations to close up shop, exercise social distancing, and for many employees this has included a directive to pack up your desk and head home.
Working from home (or remote work) can seem really difficult or nearly impossible, but here at HeroX, it is our everyday norm. So we are jumping at the chance to do our part, and assist the people who are facing this sudden shift to a work-from-home (WFH) environment. Be warned, you might like it! As a 100% remote company, HeroX has employees that span from eastern Europe to the west coast of Canada. We have cracked the code on what it takes to turn a remote team into a mean-lean-productivity-machine.
Tip #1: Focus on results, not hours
One of the biggest keys to success in remote work is a focus on “results produced” and not “hours spent”. Today’s society has largely been designed on the mindset that workdays are 8 hours a day, 5 days per week. This focus on the number of hours worked does not necessarily translate into productive work. At HeroX, we choose to use what is called a Results-Only Work Environment, or ROWE. This approach prioritizes producing outcomes over finding ways to fill a time shift. Especially if you are not alone at home, structuring your day around clearly defined tasks and goals helps to alleviate the pressure of both wanted (hello darling!) and unwanted (tummy growls) interruptions.
You may find in your new environment, in the absence of water-cooler conversations and people physically around you, that you havefinished your “work” before the 8 hour day is done. Do not let this throw you off. Focus on what results you produced, and if that matches what you expected from yourself that day - you are in good shape!
Tip #2: Use your tools
Since you are likely not going to be in a physical space with your co-workers, you will need to lean into tools and methods that will easily and effectively enable your communication. HeroX has many tools and methods in place, but our meat and potatoes can be narrowed down to Slack and Zoom.
Slack is a quick and easy tool to set up and learn to use. It is instant messaging that allows for group chats, sharing of documents, reminder functionalities, and more. If you cannot physically speak to someone, Slack is definitely a great fall-back option
Although most of our communication flows through Slack, sometimes a quick 5-minute conversation is just simpler. Zoom is a video conferencing software that we at HeroX constantly use for “quick syncs”. It is as easy as sending a quick Slack message asking if the person is free for 5 mins, and jumping on. Zoom also allows you to record meetings, so if you are not great with talking and taking notes at the same time, your problems are solved!
Tip #3: Communication and morale ignores distance
When working by yourself from home, it is easy to feel isolated, and isolation can often result in a loss of morale. At HeroX we have circumvented the feeling of isolation and kept up morale using a simple method: Daily Huddles. A huddle is a daily meeting, ideally over Zoom, Zoom that the entire team is invited to. They are scheduled for 15 minutes at 9 am, and follow a simple 3 step agenda:
- Positive Focus
- Top Priority
- Blockers and Requests
Each team member in attendance takes a turn to tell the team their positive focus for the day (for example, you may have run 15km the day before in your best time yet); and their top priority for the day (for example, you may have to write and post a blog article by end of day). Once each team member has completed 1 and 2, the floor is open for any issues (i.e. blockers) or asks for help (i.e. requests) that they may have.
We have found that the huddle not only brings everyone together and puts them in a great mindset for the day, it is also a great forum to quickly ask for help and - most importantly - feel connected to your teammates which boosts morale.
BONUS Tip: For the parents…
Many schools have also been closed in recent days. So not only have homes been turned into offices, they have also been turned into daycares and schools for children. This tip is for all of the parents out there juggling their new WFH duties with their usual parenting duties….
Keep the routine
Kids thrive when they know what’s coming up or what’s expected of them. It’s easy to fall into the pjs and snacks all day routine. Try to steer clear of vacation mode as best you can because the reality of it is that we’re not on vacation right now. Get dressed for the day, have them work on their assignments sent from school and save the fun activities for when you’re on your virtual conference calls (you know, bribery!). At the end of the day we’re all just trying to do the best we can and chances are the person on the other end of the conference line is in the same predicament as you are.
We at HeroX acknowledge that we have spent years mastering the art of working in a remote environment, but the tools and approaches discussed above are simple and extremely actionable. We truly believe that using these 3 simple tips will help you take on the next few weeks of Work-From-Home life powerfully.
If you want to learn more about how HeroX optimizes its remote work environment, sign up for our webinar here.
Check out Dessie Maliaka, Innovation Manager, as she chats with Kal Sahota, VP Possibilities, about her experience with Remote Work Life.