How to Maintain Productivity and Motivation in Teleworking
Teleworking or remote working is a working regime that allows employees to operate without having to go to the company premises. It is often associated with working from home, but this is not always the case. People can work from home or in shared places, such as a café or a co-work space.
Following the increase in infection with COVID-19, in recent weeks many companies have decided to close their offices and work from home. Visor.ai was no exception and also joined the remote work in order to protect its employees from this pandemic.
According to Observador, in Portugal, only 9% of employees are able to perform their professions via telework. This small percentage conflicts somewhat with the fact that we were among the first European countries to include distance working in legislation. This is not surprising, however, as we are a small country and the majority of the population does not work by digital means.
Fortunately for us, Visor.ai, we are a digitally native company and can easily apply the home office system. But like other companies in the same situation, we had to take into account certain challenges.
Preparation and Challenges
Even before we left home, we decided to lay down certain guidelines. This way, our daily lives would not be that different from what we were used to. At the same time, we wanted to maintain the company culture: rigorous but relaxed.
In order to get everyone in tune, we planned three points that could be more challenging: communication, organization, and monitoring.
Transparency in communication was essential. As in the office, we have to be contactable and accessible to any colleague during working hours. We must be able to discuss and exchange ideas without distance being a problem. That’s why we adopted some communication tools, namely those available in the Google G Suite.
Meetings and Collaborative Work
The second essential point was how to organize people and their work. In order to make everything go smoothly, we agreed that each department would meet in the morning in brief “Daily Meetings”, with a maximum duration of 30 minutes each. These meetings happen via video call (Google Hangouts Meet) and aim to organize the teams. Know what they have to accomplish that day and the partnerships that need to happen between colleagues.
It is important that everyone has access to tasks and their record, so we use the Trello tool. This works as a task board and everyone is aware of its changes. This type of application is very beneficial for companies working remotely, as it allows the monitoring of individual and collective work.
We store work documents on shared drives on the company’s Google Drive. Thus, the entire team can access it at any time and work collaboratively.
Finally, we do the monitoring of the work by video call at the end of each day, in “Wrap-up Meetings”. Each employee reports on what has been accomplished or the status of their tasks. These meetings also allow the manager to help its workers in any difficulty they have.
The stipulation of goals for each day and their monitoring allows employees to remain focused and motivated. With the necessary guidance to perform their work, without falling into micro-management, which is one of the main threats to remote work.
Maintaining Visor.ai’s Culture
One problem encountered during this change of space was the interaction between people from different departments. People who are not from the same division of labor do not interact with others. Therefore, and to maintain the relationships that existed in the office, we decided to maintain our “TEDbeers”.
“TEDbeers” is a Visor.ai’s event that happens every Friday. The aim is to promote relations between workers and increase interdepartmental interactions. It starts with the visualization of a TEDTalk, chosen by one of the workers, and consequent comments and analysis of each one to the presented theme. Of course, all this is accompanied by a cold beer or a glass of wine!
With the impossibility of being all in the same place, we meet by video call. Each one with their favorite drink and in the safety of their homes.
Through small (for us, who have the possibility of teleworking) changes, we are able to maintain the links created in the office and ensure the culture of our company.
The Lucky Ones
We are fully aware that we are lucky to be part of the 9% we have already mentioned. But it is important that companies that already have their systems online adopt tools that allow them to work remotely.
The Teleworking Overview
There are still many people who are reticent about working remotely, but it brings a lot of advantages if you look at the whole. One of the added value is that the worker can work anywhere. Whether at home, in a café, on a train or in a park. The possibility to choose allows you to be more comfortable and that comfort results in a better job done.
Another point in favor of teleworking meets the previous one. The possibility to hire people from other regions. Without the need to go to the company’s office, there is the possibility to include people from other cities or countries. This makes it possible to increase the range of contacts and the cultural diversity of the company.
The geographical difference can bring difficulties when it comes to the coordination of schedules. If we talk about employees on the other side of the world, the time zone will be quite different. Therefore, it is imperative to have a well-defined working schedule. Both on an individual level – knowing the “in” and “out” times, as well as having time to take breaks. As on a collective level – knowing how to manage the time with the rest of the team and try to get everything moving at the same pace.
Finally, it is essential that there is mutual help and that each one fulfills their role. This is the only way to succeed in teleworking!