Most of us in the digital communications ecosystem are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic with only minor inconveniences. But for many people, the coronavirus means serious disruptions to health, security, and livelihood, and these realities are the most serious and pressing implications of the current public health crisis. If you have the means, consider joining us in supporting Meals on Wheels and Feeding America.
As communities across the country continue to battle the COVID — 19 outbreak, millions of Americans are staying home. For those able to continue working from home, this means a major transition to working at home full-time.
Here at A+G, we’ve been a remote-first firm since our founding in 2018. We’ve worked out many of the kinks. Here are some best practices to help your team transition to working remotely:
In a remote workplace, you can’t stop by your coworker’s desk to ask a question. Project details don’t get worked out in quick meetings. Building clear and efficient communication channels is the lifeblood of a remote workplace. But as anyone with a cluttered email inbox knows, more communication doesn’t equal better communication.
At A+G, we use Slack, email, Signal, and an agile project-management platform called Trello (more on that in a sec) in well-defined ways. Communications with clients are handled via email and Signal, and detailed projects are assigned to our team members via email. Slack is used for rapid-response matters, clarifying questions and small tasks. All project details and timelines are tracked on Trello.
Regardless of the software your team employs, it’s important to have a well-defined system of communication. We want to be able to find past projects and communications with minimal searching. That means we need a system to tell us where each type of communication should happen.
Agile project management
An airtight project-management system makes sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle. At A+G, all of our workflows are tracked through Trello. The software allows us to organize all of our materials in one place and track projects through every stage of completion. It’s even capable of automating recurring tasks. If there is confusion in our channels of communication, our team members can always fall back on Trello to see the current state of things. This has allowed us to serve our clients while avoiding items falling through the cracks and missed deadlines.
Creative solutions for creative problems
In a remote workplace, the spontaneous and social aspects of a physical office are lost. Luckily, there are digital solutions that capture the same innovative spark. Platforms like Mural are built for online brainstorming and collaboration, and the wealth of video conferencing software makes it easy to host virtual meetings. We routinely use 1:1 video calls to touch base with team members and have a regular all-hands meeting via Meet.
At this time of uncertainty, it’s important to constantly check on your team and provide updates to them — however big or small. Overcommunication is a pillar of our firm and that couldn’t be more important today. It means scheduling more video calls and checking in on Slack to see how teammates are doing.
We also have channels to share creative ideas and inspirational campaigns so that we’re all kept updated on the latest trends and best practices. It’s important we do this to stay ahead of the curve. Our culture is rooted in flexibility, creativity, and trust. Our culture is rooted in values that keep everyone accountable to each other and to our clients. The values are on the very first page of our company Wiki and we always make sure we live up to them.
Your team’s transition to a fully remote workplace is bound to come with some hiccups, but these guiding principles should help you adjust. And giventhe critical moment, this quarantine presents for digital communications, it’s important that you don’t miss a beat.