Herrmann employees have worked remotely for years. Our experience with remote work has been very positive. There are some key advantages in terms of how one can manage ones workflow and work without distractions. That's not to say that a hard turn into remote work will be an easy transition.
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Useful tools for a remote team
We have adopted and adapted to several communication tools such as email, video meeting software, and text chat software. Each fills a different role.
Most of our communication is done through Slack, which is an instantaneous form of written communication. Teams can write to each other in group chats, or individuals can address each other privately. Either way, it has numerous benefits which our other forms of communication do not, even some benefits not found face-to-face:
- Communication is more rapid than email
- Communication is grouped into channels by topic, making it easy to just focus on one thing at a time -- or conversely to participate in multiple discussions at a time
- Communication is more permanent and searchable than a spoken conversation. (Forgot what you discussed yesterday? Scroll up and reread it.)
- Communication is asynchronous. (You can be a part of a conversation without devoting your entire focus to it. If someone has a question, they can ask you that question without pulling you out of a task. When you finish the task, you can then respond immediately.)
But that's not all to say that that is the best tool all the time. For detailed group planning, our tool of choice is Zoom, or generally video meetings. You can communicate even more rapidly, you can speak instead of typing, and you can even see your colleagues.
Benefits of remote work
Even if the transition is not ideal, there are some benefits to remote work. You can do your chores during your lunch hour, which sounds simple but really gives you an hour back in your day. Similarly, you can just not commute in traffic for an hour a day. The days have more time in them.
A lot of the remaining benefits of remote work for me are attributable to the fact that I've put a lot of effort into creating a pleasant home environment. I can go outside and tend to my garden if I grow weary of computer screens. I have absolute dominion over a fridge full of the choicest snacks.
How communication makes a difference
Our customers know that we are all about making workplaces friendlier and more aware of people's needs. Communication starts with understanding others. This can be even more difficult without face-to-face interaction. But Herrmann already has experience helping teams work together effectively.
Herrmann also knows how to effectively work remotely. It's equal parts focused discussion and lighthearted humanity. Keep things fun and allow people to play, explore, and grow within your business. A few easy first steps here are to create Slack channels for people to discuss sports, cooking, music, or other topics.
The biggest fear I've read or heard about remote work is that one will feel isolated. Idly chatting with coworkers is important, as we have to understand each other's backgrounds and interests to support each other. The biggest mistake one could make in transitioning to remote work is abandoning the community-building part of communication.
This post was a contribution from one of the Herrmann team, Alexander Nye, Software Engineer. For more valuable insight, please download "The Whole Brain® Guide to COVID-19 Social Distancing & Communication” below.
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