This newsletter is different than usual, because the situation in the world is different. Many companies and people are suddenly confronted with “mandatory” remote and working from home due to the Corona virus. At CE-iT we have been working without an office for 15 years and we would like to share how we manage to do that. Perhaps it helps you.

When working remote, you can be just as productive, or even more productive, as working in the office. There are fewer unnecessary meetings and you are usually less distracted by colleagues. Of course, that situation is slightly different if you have small children who can’t go to daycare.

We would like to briefly highlight three items regarding remote work: tools (resources), collaboration, social contacts.

Tools

In recent years, many apps and other solutions have come onto the market that enables both individuals and teams to work location independent. These tools allow you to share files and screens, communicate through chat and conduct meetings (by telephone and video).

If you don’t have these tools yet, there are a few you might want to check out:

Many companies have announced that they will offer their services in this area for free or at a reduced rate for now due to the crises.

Collaboration

Depending on how your company is organized, you can access all the files you need from home. That’s the beauty of the technical developments and the tools mentioned earlier support that. In an office people can sit next to each other when working on the same project. You can do this remote too. With Microsoft Teams or Slack you can share your screen with a colleague or customers, so that you both look at the same thing. Or even work in the same file. And that might be more productive than sitting next to each other in the office. These solutions also allow you to share files, make calls and send text messages.

Sometimes it is useful to draw something quickly during a conversation. Microsoft Whiteboard enables you to do that remote and others can participate. The sync in Microsoft OneNote is also very good, so you might be able to use that app for that too.

If you are familiar with Agile, you will undoubtedly know the post-its on Scrum Boards. With Trello you can do that digital. You organize tasks, assign them to team members and see at a glance what the progress is. We have an old blog about how we work with Trello.

Most companies use Microsoft Office, but if you are writing a document with one or more colleagues, you may want to look at Google Docs. This is the Word version of Google. Partly because of the excellent synchronization, collaboration is flawless. That works so well that secondary school students also use it as a chat program during lessons.

With everyone working in a different location, you will not see whether a colleague is busy when you want to ask something. So please send a message first to ask if it fits. That way everyone gets their work done.

Social

One thing many people miss when working alone from home is contact with colleagues. Here are a few helpful tips for:

  • Say hello, both by phone and in text messages, as you would do in the office. So good morning, etc. It’s a small thing, but it helps in the contact.
  • Make sure that you have a short stand-up by phone or video as a team on a regular basis, for example daily. You use this to coordinate work, but it’s also a moment for social contact.
  • As a manager or team lead, you consciously seek contact throughout the day and week with both the team as a whole and with individual team members. This can be done through chat and by phone. That way the you will stay in touch with what’s happening.
  • When working remote, communication is even more important than usual. Therefore actively tell, both management and other team members, what you are doing and if you need help. If you don’t do this, others don’t know what’s going on and you might get stuck unnecessarily.

The upcoming period will remain restless. If you have questions about working remote, we are here to help you as a customer. You can best contact Wim at his e-mail address w.postma@ce-it.nl.

Take care.