We’ve always said we’re a technology company with a human touch, and right now is the perfect time to explain just how much technology can be used to help people. 

Those companies who have utilised online collaboration tools effectively and taken the steps to allow remote working have a head start right now. But it doesn’t mean all companies can’t work to make remote working effective and productive. 

Step One: 

Trust and empowerment > Controls and rules. 

You hired your employees because you believe they can do a good job, so trust that they’ll continue to do so from the safety of their own homes. We trust that all of our team believe in our mission, all we need to do now is ensure they have the tools they need and that we keep enough lines of communication open to ensure all blockers can be quickly resolved. 

Step Two:

Business continuity. 

We’re working towards the three C’s – Care, Continuity and Capacity. 

Step Three:

Making the most of your collaboration tools.

The most effective tools are often the ones that we don’t even think about as tools. They have just become the de facto means of communication.

Google forms. They’ve been around for ages, but right now it’s the way we check in on every single person who works here to check they’re mentally and physically doing okay before 10am every day. We have people on hand to provide extra support for those who may need it.

Google Hangouts. Every meeting has been moved online. Including an all-hands meeting with 100 people online at once. This meant we could continue to share company-wide updates and keep everyone motivated and connected.

Confluence. We’re adding information daily to keep people updated on what’s going on with projects and business continuity. 

Slack. This is where most of our internal communications happen, both on client-side and within the business. Moving from email to instant messaging means we get a more personalised message across and it makes communication quicker and easier taking out the formalities often found via email. 

Step Four: 

Maintain the culture. 

We have many Slack channels to bring people together during work breaks to discuss shared interests. Ranging from tech, dnd, cats, and all sorts of others.  We’ve created a digital space where all of our colleagues can be themselves.
What’s good now is that we’ve always been encouraged to be ourselves and share our interests via slack ever since we joined AL. So now that we’re all practising social distancing we’re still able to share said interests with like-minded people.

During the isolation period, we’ve also started hosting digital catchup lunches using Google Hangouts. These give us an opportunity to meet each other’s pets and get food envy about each other’s home cooking prowess. We’re even using this as a great opportunity to share knowledge across the team and one of our Lead Engineers has planned a gig tutorial to help up-skill those that are interested.

Step 5:

Have some fun and raise peoples spirits!

Our creative lunch hours have also given me the opportunity to exercise a small creative outlet I call AskMartyn. AskMartyn is a Slack channel where I create funny photoshopped images that have been requested by my colleagues to share in some fun together. It mostly consists of pictures of other colleagues in random situations. I’ve begun streaming the process during our lunch breaks while taking live requests. It’s something I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise and my hope is that it helps create a sense of community and light-hearted fun at lunchtime.

So start by focussing on your team and ensuring they have all they need to do their job, but we also strongly encourage allowing the team to use technology for the social aspects of office life right now as well. Never again will we underestimate those chats by the coffee machine!

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