These last weeks, many leaders have crossed the first obstacles of moving their teams to remote team management, as they make sure colleagues have set up their tech tools, defined their processes and permanently logged into their video conference accounts.
Although we live in the age of technology for many years already, only now we can say for sure that ad hoc face-to-face meetings are no longer an option for many people; those were replaced by online virtual meetings.
It is now time to find out how will the best leaders succeed in virtual environments. For many, working from home, and communicating through digital mediums is not new. In so many countries and organizations, business models have supported virtual work for years as they need to manage employees and clients in so many different locations and, already for them, travelling was not an option.
Still, while technology has improved our ability to get work done and communicate remotely, for many people, there was no need to develop a set of best practices for leading remote teams. But this pandemic crisis has made us rethink. It is now time to find out what can and must be done to deal with remote work and many teams at home, leveraging their productivity and keep them engaged!
Remote team management – it’s in our DNA
This is a scenario Blue Screen IT Solutions already knows well, as it is part of our culture; we have been working with remote teams for years, much before this virus came up. We have developed cloud-based business agility platforms that can be accessed from anywhere with only a PC, or any other mobile device, and internet access. And we also offer some other working conditions to our teams in order to get them involved in the job.
Even though our experience with teleworking has been excellent, there are, for sure, many other companies being affected by this reality caused by the pandemic. So, we join them with our expertise in digital transformation to assist in this phase but not only… as we believe this is a reality that is here to stay for so many years.
Nevertheless, there are always some challenges that come with remote work, and it may not be an easy task to identify them as they vary from person to person, from a work environment to another. According to the report State of Remote Work from Buffer and AngelList, flexibility is still the primary benefit of remote work over the years, but there are some “struggles” that keep on being identified by people: loneliness and communication/collaboration being the most important ones.
And why is this still a problem? There might be a bunch of reasons but one idea could be that, while many people are starting to work remotely, their company remains office-based with different working tools and if everyone on the team isn’t communicating in the same ways, the challenge remains.
To overcome some of the difficulty, employers must maintain a community for all workers despite their physical location. It is also important to design and offer remote workers some manager training as well as the latest technological advancements in digital collaboration tools. In fact, digital platforms, productivity tools and adequate remote management software…this might be the secret to keep the teams connect and engaged.
Work home, work more
Some people say that, while at home, they work a lot more than if they would when in the office. Is that a fact? We can say it is. According to a recent survey by Airtasker, done in the U.S., working from home eliminates daily commutes for instance, but it also increases productivity. Telecommuters “worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year” than their colleagues who remain in an office. In addition, 54% of remote workers and 49% of office workers said they felt “overly stressed during the workday”.
And, while Coronavirus has made us rethink the different ways we have to work and put us all at home, the fact is that not everyone is enjoying the experience. Some specialists say this is not FoW at all, as people should work at offices and interact with other people.
Are we facing a new normal?
Microsoft data are also showing that a more flexible workday created by remote work is allowing people to work when it’s best for them. And, while some are much more productive during the morning, others work better all night long. And so, we are creating an all-new working schedule for us.
But teleworkers started also to look into video in a different way. As the world begins to work remotely, it should come as no surprise that people are turning on the video to do their meetings two times more than before. A Microsoft study says that Norway and the Netherlands turn on video most, with about 60 percent of calls including video. People in Australia use video in meetings 57%of the time, Italy 53%, Chile 52%, Switzerland 51%, and Spain 49%. Meanwhile, people in the U.K., Canada, and Sweden use video 47% of the time and people in Mexico and the U.S. use it 41% and 38%, respectively.
Nevertheless, this pandemic situation led organizations and workers into a new reality and made us all deal with things like getting into the right frame of mind to get work done, distractions posed by other family members, children in particular, and broadband connectivity. On the other hand, they report fewer distractions and greater autonomy.
A lesson that came from China
But what did really change over these past weeks, that gave us topics to think about? A new way of managing people, remotely, that is for sure. As teams stay at home, organizations had to find ways to get to them by using the most recent IT platforms. Taking China as an example, let’s look back to see what data could teach.
As they could not connect with their teams in the office, managers in China relied on instant messages – with an increase of over 65 percent among managers – and digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams voice and video calls, which doubled from seven to 14 hours per week.
On the other hand, email usage remained constant, proving that, when working and managing remotely, workforces prefer digital platforms and video to replace face-to-face conversation. Another pattern Microsoft study is pointing out is that there was much more collaboration during business hours and less after, but longer days overall, with a lot of workers logging back in to work right before bed.
CIO Tech Priorities
Cybersecurity: Seen as a top priority for many organizations, with seven in 10 anticipating increased financial investments, and four in 10 anticipating additional headcount;
Public cloud, infrastructure, and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML): they also will receive some more money in many organizations; nevertheless, will only result in increased headcount in less than 25% of organizations;
Public cloud: Only one in three organizations store half or more of their data in a public cloud.
AI: this is relatively new for many organizations: only 50% of enterprise CIOs said they use AI in one or more projects (25% for SMB CIOs).
(CIO Priorities, Adobe / Fortune)
When a trend becomes permanent
Now that most of the organizations have already figured out how to manage and communicate remotely with their teams and know what to do in order to keep them motivated and engaged, will they go back to an office? Too soon to say.
Among all the companies that “had to put their worker home” and find out ways to do it in a short period of time, some specialists say the IT sector is particularly well-suited for it. Thanks to the off-shoring of technical resources and distributed team structures for the last few years, working remotely is not a new thing in IT.
In fact, the scenario is supported by the desire of a large majority of technologists that prefer to work from home, at least, a few days a week. To be judged by their office time and an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is no longer an option as younger generations enter the job market. In fact, for millennials, generation Z and many other young workers that have always known online collaboration and sharing and making friends remotely, that kind of thoughts may be less of an issue for them.
Right tools at the right moment
By now, you must be asking yourself what to do…what to use in order to keep your team connected and engaged. It is time to choose the right tools and develop an IT infrastructure that supports the work.
If your company has never had full-time remote teams and all the workforce away from the office, we might be in a challenging situation that represents a transition point into an all-new reality.
In this case, as in all others, there are some few tech tools companies must work with, to get through this scenario:
- Chat / Instant messaging
Get the message out to the workforce can be the biggest challenge when teams are at home. Chat software allows seamless communication between individual team members, departments, and the entire company.
- Video conferencing
When teams cannot meet face-to-face, video meetings – where everybody sees each other’s expressions and react to one another in real-time – is the best way to replicate that. The new video conferencing software includes screen-sharing capabilities, recording and live chat, and some other features to improve communication.
- Cloud storage
One of the challenges of working remotely is the lack of access to your company’s internal servers. This is where cloud storage applications like Dropbox and Google Drive can come in handy. By moving files to the cloud, you ensure teams have open access to important documents, spreadsheets, presentations or videos.
LMS Software: what is needed in the legal area
Is your organization wasting too much time on administrative tasks? Missing deadlines and taking too long to find documents, e-mails or any other information needed to do the job on legal processes management, litigation process and credit recovery?
LMS is the solution; we are talking about an advanced business agility platform; a secure cloud-based solution that can be accessed from anywhere and in any device.
By centralizing and integrating all the information, LMS enables better communication between the parts involved in the legal process management, ensures increased productivity, time optimization and team performance control.
LMS lets users create dossiers in a very simple way, as well as managing documents, assigning tasks, setting deadlines, following up processes, expenses and collections, keeping a record of any change made, indicating what was changed, when and by who. Legal Management System is a smarter legal tech solution.
Xpress BSS: a customized ERP
One thing is for sure, every market has now many types of disruption provoked by new players. Technology-based companies, for instance, have been disrupting traditional and non-traditional industries through technology and digital transformation. The need to have agile and quick processes is now at the core of all companies.
It is time to innovate better, faster and be able to engage customers in new ways. Gartner estimates that, by 2021, the market demand for custom app development will grow five times faster than the capacity to deliver them, generating a big gap.
In order to close that gap, low code development platforms are bringing IT and business together enabling a more rapidly, interactive and collaborative development. Applications can be built faster than ever, seamless deployed and fast changed with low-code development.
Xpress BSS means digital transformation and agility at the service of business and operational innovation.
Just get in touch. We can help your business.