The fourth industrial revolution which brought artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced wireless technologies amongst others made working remotely and connecting with your team from anywhere in the world a reality; one of its many advantages being team diversity, access to skill regardless of location and improving work-life balance.
Whilst many companies have some sort of policy around working remotely or having flexible hours, the notion itself has not become mainstream as we would have assumed. Human nature being what it is with resistance to change, treated it as an option – in other words, companies that can and should have instituted more flexibility still make people physically go to a location.
Today, the world is severely disrupted by COVID-19 (WHO Corona Virus); almost everyone now has to work remotely. Since we have been doing it for a while, we’d like to offer some tips:
1. Humans are humans, relationship and communication is what keeps us going: Make sure your team stays connected every day. We use:
a. Daily Check-ins at specific times – phone calls will work just fine. This can and should happen at the various level e.g teams @ a hundred hours, managers @ b hundred hours etc.
b. Information sharing – google docs, dropbox, anything that lets you have visibility on activities
c. Make it fun and create a specific time for your team to bond at least once a week
2. You still have to manage performance: Our partners at Skill Nav have an excellent tool that makes us track activity based performance. You have to continue to measure the work done. We have a skills library that defines requirements so there is no ambiguity or confusion.
3. Give room for internet and power lapses: We live in Nigeria and these are precarious times so please give room for not being able to reach someone or them having connectivity issues. You can insist on a morning check-in (so any power left should be saved for that) and that work is delivered within timeframes.
Hopefully, your HR Managers have recruited right and your team members are self-motivated and disciplined.
4. Tips for workers:
a. Prepare a dedicated work space
b. Maintain a schedule: hit your dedicated workspace, fully dressed at your typical start time
c. For parents, make sure your children are engaged with their school work during school hours; we all have extra to do but do take breaks to check in on their work
5. For all of us, we still need to exercise- even more so now so keep moving, keep drinking those fluids, adopt all safety measures and stay safe.
We will beat this and come out stronger on the other side.