Insights from our Small Business Webinar series
Working remotely is new territory for many small business owners and their employees. With the daily business setting stripped away and standard processes upended, small business teams are finding themselves disoriented and struggling to keep work flowing. But with a little planning and flexibility, you can make sure your employees are able to communicate, connect and collaborate when they work from home.
As part of our ongoing Small Business webinar series, on April 28 Ramon Ray, author of “Celebrity CEO” and owner of SmartHustle Media spoke with Anita Campbell, small business authority at smallbiztrends.com to offer tips and insights on how to help your newly remote teams stay productive and satisfied.
Here are some of the remote productivity tips from their session.
- Set your schedule. Regular schedules encourage accountability and help with productivity. At the same time, flexibility is key, said Campbell. “Unless you set schedules, what happens is you end up not respecting people’s boundaries, and that eats into their personal time.” Employees appreciate having a set schedule, which gives structure to the day, she added, while also ensuring flexibility so employees with family commitments, like elderly parents, can run errands and offer assistance when it’s needed.
- Get the right tools to collaborate. It takes three essential tools to create effective collaboration while remote: chat, conferencing and shared cloud documents. These tools can help everyone stay connected and working in tandem.
- Focus on communication. Remember that it's harder to communicate when you’re not face-to-face with someone. “We do a lot of text chatting in my organization, and we had to learn how to do that, said Campbell. “Tone matters. Emojis help prevent misunderstanding. A “thumbs up” is fast, efficient and feels positive.”
Also, starting a remote meeting with a few minutes of small talk can help employees stay connected and engaged, especially if they haven’t talked or seen each other for a while.
- Set some ground rules for worker conduct. It’s smart to set a few basic rules of etiquette. Doing so can help make sure that more casual home life is respected, but doesn’t get in the way of work productivity and professionalism.
What does that look like?
Campbell says it includes reminding people about what’s appropriate – no oversharing of personal details or inappropriate images – and setting clear rules for interactions with clients. Establish a dress-code for on-camera time and define the behavior standards for videoconferences.
Additionally, it’s important to be flexible when it comes to family and pets, but don’t let it get out of hand. “A kind reminder at the first of the meeting can help – such as asking people to turn off their phones, make sure the dog’s been taken out, and everything is taken care of,” Campbell said.
- Pay attention to well-being. Health is another consideration. Sitting in the chair for eight hours might be new, so emphasizing good posture and workplace ergonomics is important. It’s also a good idea to remind workers to get up and move frequently, or even implement a shared stretch or footsteps challenge.
Campbell also provided several tips on how to prepare employees with the right tools and technology for their remote work set up. Additionally, she answered several questions from attendees, offering thoughts on how to stay motivated and ways to evaluate productivity of newly remote professionals.
Learn why Campbell says it’s important to keep in mind how you’re helping others, and the value she finds in knowing she’s keeping her team employed through this current crisis.
Access the playback of the webinar and additional handouts in the Verizon Small Business Webinar Series.
*This article is a partial summary of a webinar session that was held on April 28, 2020, where the opinions and advice belong to our webinar guest, and which do not represent Verizon’s opinions or advice.