Tips for Moving to Remote Working Successfully

Created: Monday, April 20, 2020, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

Updated: at



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By Hugo Tilmouth, CEO, ChargedUp

Well before the UK Government advised businesses to work remotely where possible, we took the decision to make the move. We switched to remote working on 10th March. We called a meeting that morning and had transitioned to remote working by the time everyone left that evening. We haven’t been back to the office since that day.

It’s now over a month since we moved from actual office to virtual office. You won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve learned a lot in this time. Here are some tips to help you and your team work remotely, based on our experience to date:

Work from home

Your plan

As the saying goes, fail to plan and plan to fail. Don’t just send everyone home, check what they are going home to first. Our critical objectives were to ensure that we could continue to provide a seamless service to our valued customers and secure business continuity while ensuring that staff could work effectively, stay connected, stay motivated and feel part of the team.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel

There is a wealth of online resources out there. I would recommend Notion and particularly Notion’s remote working guide as a source of excellent information for start-ups. Notion is a wiki where companies share best practices and experiences to help other start-ups. Start-ups simply do not have the resources to produce extensive guidelines and policy documents so Notion has been a lifesaver. For example, in preparing our team for remote working we mined Notion. I would particularly recommend the video Zapier’s Guide to Working Remotely.  We also used SeedLegal‘s Free Coronavirus Workplace Policy to guide us through the swift planning and preparation stage.

Keep coaching your team on how to work remotely

It’s not too late to do this, even if you are already up and running from home. It is vital that each team member is well equipped to work remotely. Team leaders should discuss the logistics of remote working with their team members; providing guidance on creating a quiet space, setting a schedule, limiting interruptions from social media and other members of the household, etc.  We coached the team on good working practice, including maintaining regular working hours, scheduling breaks, etc. We have a very committed team and we don’t want them burning out by working 24/7. It’s never too late to do this, so if you haven’t already, then do it now – even if your team has been working remotely for a few weeks already.

As a precaution, we had been advising staff to take laptops and other tools essential to remote working home with them on a daily basis for about a week before the office closure. We asked staff who used larger monitors to take them home and paid for a taxi to facilitate this. We left the office on the 10th and have not returned.

One of the key lessons we learned from this is that it is often difficult for people to find room at home for a desk to work on. I recently took the plunge and purchased a small second-hand desk from eBay, after trying to work at a coffee table for a week! The extra investment was well worth it.

Establish a working day routine

To facilitate a structured approach, I suggest starting each day with a 15-minute team stand-up at 08:45. I would also encourage you to introduce a progress tracking tool such as Clubhouse. It allows you to create templates so that people can report what they did yesterday and what they intend to do today. We use the Slack automation tool to prompt everyone at 8:30 each morning to complete this form. This is then visible to all team members. This is so important to keep our team focussed and to keep projects moving in the right direction.

Make use of inexpensive tools to support remote working

Like most companies, we already use collaboration software for audio conferencing, file sharing and communication. We chose Slack, from Slack Technologies Inc., although there are many offerings out there. Slack is a great option for small companies. When we want full video conferencing, we turn to Google Hangout. This enables us to share screens, presentations, etc.

ChargedUp uses Loom to record processes, new code, etc., to then share with the team. For example, the operations team have recorded all of their policies and processes via Loom. This is so useful for on-boarding new employees.

Run online meetings with strict discipline

I would strongly recommend implementing a robust meeting policy to ensure that meetings are effective and that each one is time-limited, has a clear agenda and that outcomes, actions, and owners are agreed. I found a great article on How to run a more effective meeting from the New York Times Business section.

Keep your team motivated

Of huge importance to ChargedUp is the wellbeing and mental health of our team. We want them to stay well so we can hit the ground running when we get through these difficult times. Feeling isolated is one of the key issues raised by habitual remote workers and so we have made a particular effort to create opportunities for colleagues to socialise together online.

The team meets online for lunch at 13:00 each day, encouraging downtime and an opportunity to chat and share ideas.

We also use Donut to arrange 121 coffee breaks with each other. Many of the best ideas originate by the water cooler so do encourage opportunities for chatting and brainstorming.

Continue rewarding and praising your team

Although cash may be tight, go out of your way to praise and celebrate successes. For example, I arranged for a case of Jubel beer to be sent to each staff member so that our regular Friday 17:00 beers could continue, albeit remotely. We meet online at 17:00 and celebrate our successes and have a laugh. Not only does this boost morale but also supports a local brewery.

Use any downtime wisely

We fully anticipate a huge bounce in our business when the crisis is over and we are using this time to plan for the next stage in ChargedUp’s expansion. This quieter time allows us to develop our capabilities, hone our processes and improve our application. It is a strange time right now, but we are excited about the future and look forward to taking the business onwards and upwards.


Hugo Tilmouth
      
ChargedUp is Europe’s largest phone charging network. Building on the British philosophy to promote sustainable innovations, ChargedUp gives customers power on demand through its network of portable power banks. It also provides venues with a unique marketing tool that drives footfall and increases dwell time. 50 people work for the young company, which has expanded its charging network to over 3000 stations across the UK, Netherlands, and Germany since 2017. The ChargedUp app now has around 210,000 users.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.


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