Remote Working Should Be Accelerating Your Growth, Not Hindering It

Our global team here at Ooze Studios has been remote working for many years. I’ve tried and tested a whole heap of solutions. Continually trying, testing, and iterating until succeeding. Nearly all of our workplaces across the global community have been affected by the pandemic. A lot of you are being forced to trial remote working, and therefore venturing into uncharted territory.

I wanted to help our community the best way I could; share our experience and recommendations. Remote working is not a new concept but it’s now being implemented at a greater rate than ever before in history.You’ll experience new confrontations that you wouldn’t expect. Everything is manageable though. I’ve broken our tips into these 4 categories:

  • People & Culture
  • Client
  • Operations
  • Governance & Security

 

Remote Social Interaction

This is very important. Just because you can’t be next to each other doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy social interactions. Play virtual board games to keep social engagement up. It might sound silly but we do it fortnightly for 60 to 90 minutes.

It’s a good space to find out how everyone is doing outside of client work or business chat. We use boardgamearena.com, it’s free for most games. Don’t play Chess! We tried that in our first week and we all ended up being in complete silence trying to think of the next move. Worst social interaction session.

I recommend the following games that are easy to learn, fun, and social; For Sale, and Yahtzee.

We’re also trialing Social Hour, where 1 team member is in charge of the fortnightly Social Hour. No constraints, they’re allowed to choose whatever they want everyone does in that 1 hour.

 

Avoid Micromanaging

There is a natural pull to micro manage team members when remote working as you can’t see them physically. Progressively the requirement for trust is amplified to a point that it can become uncomfortable.

To overcome this mindset, have clear transparent workflow systems. By setting clear objectives, workflow structure, and internal meeting structures you eliminate the need to micromanage, which no one wants.

We use:

  • Monday.com
  • Daily morning huddles over video chat so you can see each other’s faces
  • We reconcile our weekly workflow on Fridays so on Monday morning, whenever anyone starts their day, they’re clear on their objectives. Part of remote working is not everyone starts at the exact same time, so it’s important to encapsulate this.

 

New Space = Better Headspace

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole when your workspace = your living space = your sleeping space. You feel the walls become smaller, the fridge starts to annoy you, the lounge rug is so boring now. You obviously need to follow your respective region’s self-isolation rules and laws. Where possible, take the opportunity to leave the house to buy supplies. It’s easy to get into a bad habit here, break that habit.

 

Client Communication

It’s extremely important to keep all channels open for clients to communicate their requests. Not all clients will need video conferencing but some do, keep this option open.

Zoom is popular for a reason. It’s easy for both parties to use, and to send a meeting link. Anyone with the meeting info can also call in if they don’t have access to data.

We use a VOiP landline over Skype. No matter where you are, the call will come into a Skype account which can be picked up by one of many staff members.

 

Audio > Visuals

When you’re talking with clients or team members over video call, the better the audio the better the engagement. The microphones on laptops are usually bad, and when you’ve plugged your headphones in the laptop won’t recognise your headphone’s microphone. When we attend a Zoom call we sign in with our laptop and our mobile. Zoom allows you to login twice from the same account. Our mobile is for audio, and laptop for visuals. This allows for a very smooth, high engagement meeting.

Also, if your internet connection is bad, don’t force it. Turn your visuals off.

 

Security – Password Sharing

Never share a password over email. It should be shared via onetimesecret (a free, temp link service) or LastPass (a paid enterprise level software).

 

Security – VPN

We use ExpressVPN. The top 2 are NordVPN and Express, with Nord being cheaper but having less international servers. If you’re travelling a lot then Express is a better option. You have to be careful and use a respected VPN; choose one that would be damaged by negative press on data storing their clients confidential info. A VPN can see everything you submit over it, if it really wants to.

 

Timesheet Recording

We use ExpressVPN. The top 2 are NordVPN and Express, with Nord being cheaper but having less international servers. If you’re travelling a lot then Express is a better option. You have to be careful and use a respected VPN; choose one that would be damaged by negative press on data storing their clients confidential info. A VPN can see everything you submit over it, if it really wants to.

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