Keeping Staff and Teams Connected and Successful When Working Remotely

For the first time, associations and organizations all over the world are making the shift to remote staff to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Ascension was built from the ground up as a remote-first company, and we have a unique perspective on the challenges and benefits of managing a remote workforce.

With the multitude of free remote technology offerings during COVID-19 from tech companies like Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom and others, the decision regarding best fit and best practice can be overwhelming. Ascension's years of experience brings a deep understanding of the requirements needed for to successfully at remote work from home. Ascension wants to assist by sharing some best practices, tips, and tricks for remote work that has made our team thrive. Check out our key steps for a successful remote workforce below.

If your organization is needing assistance with defining or implementing processes or remote technology, Ascension is here and ready to partner with you, your staff, and your teams in making the necessary and right steps during this transition. CONTACT US TODAY!

These best practices can keep your staff and teams connected and successful from home:

  1. Connection is key! You can’t walk down the hall to your colleague’s office or chit chat at the water cooler, so video conferencing is critical to your success. There are many tools available, some you may already own. Microsoft Teams, Amazon Chime, Google Hangouts, and a host of others. Without video, your staff loses those personal connections, so it’s important to meet by video as often as possible. At a minimum, we recommend:
    • Weekly staff meetings with all staff on video at the same time. This is, of course, subject to the realities of the size of your organization and may need to be broken out. Use this weekly time to have each department give a brief synopsis of the past week’s accomplishments, upcoming objectives, give staff recognition, and celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries.
    • Daily standups. All department heads/managers should meet with their staff either as a team or individually each day for a brief check-in. This is a great way to get updated on what was accomplished yesterday and what is on the agenda for today. It is also a great way to keep your staff focused and accountable for their tasks while adjusting to working from home and the distractions that can come along with it. It is also an opportunity for managers to clear any obstacles the staff has in achieving their goals/tasks for the day.
    • Project Meetings. In addition to stand-ups, always get each project team together a couple of times a week to check-in and collaborate on the team’s work.


  2. Encourage chat. While we prefer video whenever possible, some things can be handled via chat. Whether you are on Microsoft Office 365 or Google Business Apps, you should have access to Chat. Many people think these are distracting tools and email should be used for all communication. This is simply not the case; it is a quick and easy form of communication where you can quickly get the answers you need. The following are some tips for using chat:
    • If you have a meeting scheduled or need to focus on some work without interruption, simply silence your chat but communicate this with staff or team prior to doing so.
    • If there is a project that requires input from an entire group, create a group chat so you are not having to send the same message to several people. However, be careful not to communicate in a “group” to get an answer or share information that is meant for only one individual if the entire group does not need to be aware of the information.
    • Department managers should create department groups to get information out to their specific department or for department collaboration.


  3. Project Tools. If you have large projects, where you are dividing out responsibilities but need the overall team to be aware of responsibilities and status, then we highly recommend using a project tool. Ascension uses Confluence by Atlassian for tracking internal and external projects; however, there are plenty of free products to try, like BaseCamp or Asana. Asana is more robust than BaseCamp (our humble opinion) and is free for up to 15 users and integrates with Office 365 and Google Apps as well. Contact us if you need assistance in defining best fit or with setup of a new project tool.


  4. Scheduling & Time Management.
    • Set a Schedule - Encourage your staff to stick to a standard work schedule. While the flexibility of working remotely is a great benefit to staff, it is important that staff have a standard daily routine. This is one reason we kick off every day with standups.
    • Share Calendars - Make sure that all staff has their work calendars/appointments shared with the direct supervisor/manager and team. Seeing the team's availability makes it easier to schedule meetings and helps managers better manage their staff.


  5. Set Good Workspace Boundaries at Home.
    • Dedicated Works Space - Encourage staff to set up a dedicated workspace that can be shut off once the workday is complete.
    • Close the Laptop - Some people may not have a dedicated workspace or office that can be shut off. If not, encourage staff to shut down work applications, laptop and/or computer at the close of the business day to encourage a work-life balance.
    • Communicate with Family - Working from home is a transition for staff as well as their family members, especially kids at home. Working at home can give the feeling or appearance of constant availability, so encourage staff to proactively communicate what their work responsibilities and schedule will be from home.
    • Background Noise - Encourage staff to proactively communicate with customers/members that they are working remotely. It is inevitable that the dog will bark, a siren will go off, or an unintentional family interruption will occur during one of their phone or video conferences.

Ascension's unique perspective and deep understanding regarding implementing the processes and technologies required for remote work and managing a remote workforce can help ease your transition required during this time. Ascension is ready and here to help make your organization, staff, and teams successful!
Contact Us Today!