3 ways to transition to remote working during COVID-19

Companies around the world have rolled out mandatory remote work. It's a great measurement to take to stop the spread of the COVID-19. And whether you're a newbie or WFH veteran, here's how to transition to remote working during COVID-19.

Google, Amazon, Hitachi, Apple, Twitter and so on. All these global companies have rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus spread in the Europe
Coronavirus spread in Europe

And it's pretty realistic if you were to assume that shifting to the home office will become normal for many of us. At least for a couple of days, given that the WHO stated that coronavirus reached pandemic status.

A lot of employees will from home for the very first time in their careers. This means that they have to figure out how to stay on task in a new environment that not always lends itself to productivity.

Here are 3 ways to transition to remote working during COVID-19:

  1. Create an emergency kit to a fast remote shift
  2. Know the 6 basic steps to proceed with remote practices
  3. Do some personal changes

The emergency kit to a fast remote shift

First of all, you will need some necessary tools to set the infrastructure for smooth collaboration between all team members.

A great combination of the ones below works perfectly once it's set up properly:

  • Asana: a task management tool
    Slite: documentation tool
    Slack: a communication tool
    Geekbot: monitoring progress and status updates

If you're a software team, you should use GitLab or GitHub for version control. Well, depending on the size of the team you'll probably need more tools, but this is the starter-pack of it.

How to succeed as a Remote worker
How to succeed as a Remote worker

Second, be in constant communication with the team in setting up the new tools. The time lost to this doesn't even come close to the productivity continuation achieved after this. All these self-service products mentioned above provide an extended source for FAQs, case studies, education material and so on.

And finally, even if you're a small team, you have to hold some specific people accountable for the platform management. That saves tremendously lots of time for the rest of the team. It also saves them energy from dealing with the platform's specific issues such as payment, training, support, etc.

  1. Know the 6 basic steps to proceed with remote practices

  2. The 6 basic steps to proceed with remote practices are:
  3. Mapping all tasks and work-related activities to tools
  4. Making sure your current personal status is available
  5. Syncing on the progress with the team
    Moving all face-to-face conversations to documentation
  6. Assuming no one knows anything
  7. Over-communicate everything

Map all tasks activities to tools

Let's take a simple example. You used to chat over the watercooler in the morning or had breakfast together in the office. Now, you might want to set up a meeting in Google Hangouts or Zoom to keep your morning routine over the camera. Take your colleague together with you in the kitchen as you prepare your morning toast. That way not only will you keep your processes intact but also you will have the information registered for future reference. There are tools for every process, just make sure you use the right one to genuinely transfer the existing progress.

Make sure your current personal status is available

Either by blocking it on your share calendar or choosing the correct Slack status (away, available, in a meeting, etc), you should state your current state. Your co-workers need to know about your whereabouts and availability. Just like they did when you were at the office. This way, they'll know if it's okay to ask you or request something from you.

Slack status example (of someone very lucky)
Slack status example (of someone very lucky)
Sync the progress with the team

Similarly to your availability, you have to let your crew know about your work. Since people are not able to just drop by your office and ask you what's the progress with a task. You have to keep each other on the loop, frequently.

There are a lot of tools, such as Trello or Jira that keep you on the loop on who's working on what. This also saves time on asking and waiting for an answer.

Move all face-to-face conversations to documents

Can't stress this enough. Try to use Slite!

Slite has proven really effective to document every single piece of information regarding past, present, and future projects. A rule of thumb is to be able to provide a link to every question that some ask about the content or context of a project.

Assume no one knows anything

To avoid communication disruptions when conveying a message be clear on the content, request, and context of it. Instead of saying “Its ready” try “The presentation deck on ‘Project X’ is completed and uploaded to Google Drive (link)”. Eventually, the purpose is for everyone who reads this to know what is going on.

Assume no one knows anything
Assume no one knows anything
Over-communicate everything

You don't hear this that much often, right?

Well, this might overlap some of the above points but it's pretty important. For tasks related information you have to track the history of the complete task, list what it should do, etc. People need to know what happened, what's supposed to happen, and pretty much everything in between. Don't feel bad for over-communicating things.

Do some personal changes

There are four main things to consider while doing some personal changes:

  • Change your mental model
  • Define the working time
  • Allocate some deep work slots
  • Avoid over-working

Truth be told, you need to be mentally different for remote working. What's important is to prepare yourself that you're going to work in an environment associated with family and fun. Sometimes these two can be used in the same sentence, sue me.

You have to start by creating a daily schedule of timelines and activities throughout the day. You don't have to stick to it 100%, but you'll manage through time.

There are different techniques that work for people with the most popular being the Pomodoro. It uses a timer to break down work in intervals, usually, 25-minutes-long, divided by short breaks.

Change your mental model
Change your mental model

And if you want to get concentrated, you have to isolate yourself from notifications, calls, meetings. This will create some room for deep concentrated work. Having Slack notifications always open up will definitely not help. So, spend a couple of hours per day in a “do-not-disturb” mode.

Remote always exposes the danger of working anytime, anywhere. Based on your personal schedule, there will be a time to shut your laptop down and stop working. Don't fall into the trap of just leaving your desk. Shut it down, pack it up and take the day off. Take this advice seriously!

We sincerely hope you have an easy transition to remote working during COVID-19.

And if you need any help, feel free to contact us.