As a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19 has created a wild race for many businesses to deploy a remote workforce. Thankfully, most of our customers were positioned to transition to working remotely quickly, and we’ve been able to focus on guiding our clients through the technology and security of a remote work model.
While technology is undeniably a critical, and large, piece of this deployment, we also understand that the cultural piece is even more important to the continued success of a business during this time. With this in mind, and knowing that many people never envisioned moving to this model we wanted to provide some resources to customers, partners and friends.
The IT Company CEO, Paul Sponcia has been hosting a series of virtual conversation with business leaders, workers, folks who lead teams, those with years of experience and those with none, and even internal team members at The IT Company. Recently Paul spent some time with Adam Slack, CEO of Two Roads – a cloud based Bookkeeping and Outsourced CFO company who has been running a remote workplace environment for the past 8 years.
Two Roads works with a variety of businesses, from startups to large enterprises, to provide bookkeeping and CFO services – the IT Company is a client of both! While Two Roads is a Knoxville based company, their employees reside in multiple states. Here are the critical takeaways from the convo:
- Implement a Communication Platform: One of the most important things Paul and Adam discussed was implementing and using a platform for communication. Tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack allow for communication to be at the center of your business while keeping all employees active and engaged. One great way to keep activity on these platforms up is by assigning a person (or multiple) to monitor this. When things are seeming stale, have them send a GIF, check in with the team, or ask for updates on how everyone is doing. Identify these people early on and have them stoke the fire when needed, to ensure the team is staying connected.
- Leverage Cloud Tools for your industry: Every industry has specific tools and technology that allows them to leverage apps, the power of the cloud and distributed workforce. In Adam’s case tools such as Bill.com and Receipt Bank are powerful for helping customers pay bills online, keep up with receipts all the while flowing into the accounting system. Research the best software’s for your company’s specific needs and combine platforms where applicable.
- Use your Camera and Everyone is Virtual: When it comes to virtual meetings– this time is so important for your team. Face-to-face interaction is a big component in successful communication by being able to identify body language, tone, etc. As you move to a remote workplace, that face-to-face interaction looks different than walking over to someone’s desk in the office.
- Leaders, Be More Present: You may be hesitant on how deploying a remote workplace with affect your communication with your employees. There is no doubt that trust and communication must increase. You will have to trust your employees are going to get their part done, while communicating and checking in to stay on top of any issues, questions or delays , they may have.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: The most important thing you can do during this time is check in. If you have people directly reporting to you, be even more intentional about following up and being on the same page as them. Use video and chat to check in. When you move to a remote workplace, you lose the opportunity to conveniently check in as you pass an employee on the way out the door. Take the time to pick up the phone, jump on a video call or engage in a chat and check in. Be proactive and jump in.
- Remember, Be Professional: As a leader, emphasize to your employees the value of maintaining professionalism from a remote workplace. It won’t always be easy with home distractions, kids, dogs, the mailman, etc. but maintaining the professionalism and responsibility of your employee’s will determine the success or failure of a remote workplace.Every company has new restrictions they are having to sort through during the COVID-19 pandemic, but sometimes as you move to a remote working place you may just have to launch it, go for it, and figure out hiccups along the way.
Two Roads is one of many companies nationwide who switched to a remote workplace long before COVID-19 was a global pandemic. It is possible to maintain a great culture for your company. It is possible to be successful as a company who operates remotely.
The changes the majority of our country are facing can be debilitating. Don’t let deploying a remote workforce keep you from being a part of a great company with a great culture.