Events around the world are putting digital transformation to the test, as many companies adopt no-travel and work-from-home policies (of course, not all work can be done remotely). There is a lot of technology out there for remote workers: File Sharing & Content Collaboration solutions like Syncplicity, Box, Dropbox. Also chat tools like Teams, Slack—conference tools like WebEx, Zoom. But it’s not just about technology, a lot of it is culture.
Digital transformation in working from home
What is digital transformation if it isn’t about enabling your teams to work from anywhere, at any time? Some managers, just don’t believe people are productive at home. I would disagree with this assertion: as an employee and a manager, I am far more productive working from home. Below are a few reasons, as well as tips for how to navigate this new frontier.
Six tips for remote workers
- One obvious benefit of working remotely is that you need not worry about the dress code. I’ve been working from home for the last seven years and one thing I have learned is I need to (at some point) get dressed—not in the way only my dogs will see me, but in the way, I would if I knew I might run into another human being. I’ve saved a lot of money on clothing and when I do need to go to the office, it’s a novelty. Net-net, I save money and time that I can focus on projects.
- Flexibility in hours equates to more productivity. If you are like me and work with global teams, working from home makes it simpler to start at 5 AM or 6 AM, or on the flip side, it’s easier to work late. What I have learned is that I can adjust to the flow and rhythm of the culture. Because of the global nature of Axway, mornings are booked starting at 5 AM and on. Other companies may have another rhythm.
- The Water Cooler. I don’t know how many times people have been told that I will miss the “water cooler” chats. In my experience, it’s not missed, which makes me wonder how valuable it really is or is perceived. What I know is the importance of making time to chat with my colleagues and get to know them. For example, at times a meeting might run longer because we are catching up “socially.” You need to build that time in—get to know the people you work with—but if you don’t do that in the office, it’s not likely you will do it remotely.
- Balance. Yesterday was International Women’s Day. As a working single mom, working remotely has been hugely beneficial. It is challenging to balance it all, but when you work remotely, you can be highly productive in the morning and in the evening to meet deadlines—while being “home” in case COVID-19 hits your area and kids need to stay home. It gives employees more flexibility to do their job and take care of their children. This helps to alleviate some stressors (maybe adding different), which makes employees happier.
- Find a spot in your house (or not, see #6) or rotate. Find the place you work the best—with noise, without noise, with light, without light.
- Get out of the house, if possible. Go to a coffee shop, check out new coffee shops, it’s an opportunity to try something new. I don’t go to coffee shops, because I work well from my home office. Miss interacting in person? Meet a friend for lunch, or do an hour of volunteer work at the school.
Remote working tips for managers
- Be available. I have a remote team—U.S. and Europe—and I work with remote teams. I try to be available for quick chats via Teams, as does my manager. It’s a great way to connect. We also share funny pictures and memes, to keep things light.
- Make time to connect. I also have scheduled meetings and add extra time so that we can get through items, but also to just “provide space to connect and engage.”
- Don’t micro-manage (trust). You’ll know if your team is working, the work will speak for itself. Promote connecting with the larger teams—across the organization. Invite them to attend meetings to learn.
- Promote travel when possible. This is notable for younger teams. In my experience, they have more of a tendency to miss the environment of their peers. Providing a balance of working remotely with going to events. For example, I’ve had my team attend events in my stead because it’s good for them to meet teams and engage face to face.
When I took my first remote job, I was nervous—how was I going to build relationships? Well, I figured it out quickly—people are people. Just start by introducing yourself, saying “hi,” asking about their families or whatever is appropriate. But the one thing they need is the right tools, with the right access to data, applications and hardware. Some people can’t work remotely at all or not 100% of the time. But remote work for those that can do it can be a huge advantage. Core to making it work is trust, creativity and technology. Setting up your remote team or home office is also a good opportunity to test-drive Syncplicity. Axway uses it globally to share and collaborate.
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