As we all know, in a very short space of time, the world has had to fast-track a major transition to remote work, and where possible, many of us have been encouraged to work from the safety of our own homes. And while lockdowns around the world are slowly lifted, it looks like the WFH trend is here to stay one way or another whether we like it or not.
This new way of working has come with many advantages, but also with many new challenges most of us haven't had to face before.
At Pickit, we have colleagues stationed around the world, from Seattle to Stockholm and all the way to Sydney, so we've been well versed in the art of working remotely long before the pandemic came about. That said, with many members of the team working from one of our offices in Seattle and Visby before the outbreak, we've also had to make some big changes to handle the new reality of having every employee working from home. In these circumstances, establishing a set-up that ensures synergies for optimal results is a challenge that requires a high level of coordination amongst each and every employee.
No organization is the same and therefore I'm not going to promote a ‘one size fits all’ approach for you. However, there are a few key elements that I believe make Pickit’s current approach to remote working a success that might be helpful.
Remote is hard enough when everyone is in the same time zone. But how do you do it when you’re all spread around the globe?
At Pickit we have colleagues working in 5 different time zones, so now you must be wondering we all manage to sync–maybe by establishing a common time zone or even by using Zulu time? Well, remember this is Pickit and we like to try things differently. Maybe that’s our Swedish common-sense approach to problems.
Here are three areas worth mentioning:
1. Regular meetings and sync sessions
Like most organizations, we spend a lot of times in meetings. And you probably don't need anyone to explain what a meeting can look like, since you've likely sat through a few yourself. However, we've found that a good structure, cadence and format for different types of meetings has really helped maintain our clarity, connectivity and productivity during this strange season.
- Daily Sofa Sync
Before the pandemic, this was a short morning meeting for our Visby team, held in a room full of sofas at our office there. The idea was to quickly touch base and run through each person's task list. The meeting has now been moved to our home sofas and Microsoft Teams, and some of our permanently remote workers in other parts of the world have also started to join.
As well as briefly listing our personal to-dos, it's an opportunity to ask for help with problematic issues or tasks, regardless of it being a specific work or if there are any sort of physical or emotional challenges. Basically, it’s all about keeping everyone in the loop, and recreating the same atmosphere and vibrant energy we would have if we’d all been together at the HQ, so nobody feel left behind or unengaged.
I cannot stress enough how important these meetings are and how good it feels to lend a helping hand when you notice a fellow colleague struggling with something.
- Daily Team Meetings
We also have daily meetings in our various departments, where colleagues from a same team touch base to develop solutions and strategies as a natural part of their daily jobs. These meetings are mostly work-focused but also help compensate for not being able to have a quick chat across the desk or exchange a few words at the water cooler. We do also have a Water Cooler channel in Microsoft Teams where people can share random thoughts, anecdotes and ideas though. Not to mention GIFs.
- Weekly Sync Sessions
These meetings are held every Monday (except for our Australian colleague Brad who's almost a day ahead of our US team) and for this one, our senior management are the stars of the show. It's a 30-minute slot for them to share any major developments or new strategies as well as inform the team of anything relevant they need to be aware of.
When I say the team, I mean everyone working for Pickit, whether they be staff or consultants. And since we have colleagues located all over planet earth, this is our creative solution to the time zone conundrum.
So very diplomatically, remember Sweden being famous for diplomacy and common sense, we alternate the start time of these weekly meetings. So, one week these are help at 4pm CET, which makes it convenient for our colleagues based in Europe, and the following week the meeting is held at 9pm CET to make it more manageable for our colleagues based in the west coast of the US. I guess we have to still find a solution that is convenient to our Aussie colleagues. We are working on something Brad, I promise!
2. Clarity around tasks and deadlines
So, at this stage you've probably had enough of all the various kinds of meetings that we're lucky to have at Pickit. But by holding regular meetings and keeping everyone connected and in the loop, we can keep everybody working in a synchronized manner to achieve optimal results, minimizing the risk of unnecessary misunderstandings and avoidable mistakes.
To this effect, our best friend is Microsoft Planner. When you have each and every colleague afar, the need for clarity in communication is paramount. But communication of what? Well, you need to be extra clear on the tasks that are expected of everyone and you also need to set extremely clear and yet realistic deadlines, so that everyone is able to achieve these goals.
At Pickit we are extremely strict in making sure that all our to-dos are uploaded on Planner so each and every one of us knows what is expected from us. This is even more important in remote times, when your line manager can't just swing by your desk to remind you of a pressing deadline, or drop hints in the lunchroom when they're worried you're falling behind.
3. A remote-friendly toolkit
Thankfully, as I've mentioned previously, at Pickit we've been doing at least some of our work remotely for quite some time. Therefore, we've become well versed in how to work with a remote toolset and I didn't want to miss the chance to mention a few of the key solutions we use every day:
Thanks to Microsoft, Teams has become a virtual office that can be taken anywhere you go. and it has certainly helped us ensure a very high level of productivity. Needless to say, most Companies use Teams one way or another.
But have you noticed recently how dodgy some people’s backgrounds are during their video conferences? Everything from lighting, to a suboptimal room or weird furniture attracting the wrong attention.
Did you know that with our dedicated Virtual Backgrounds collection you can choose from a wide range of different backgrounds that can make YOU the star of any video conference? Virtual backgrounds can be a great way to help ensure that everyone's focus is truly on you and not any distracting elements around you.
Learn more on how you can level up your video calls with virtual backgrounds
Needless to say, for all our social media imagery we're lucky to be able to use our very own in-house image bank, providing us with the most varied and up-to-date selection of themed collections curated by our dedicated team. The results speak for themselves, right?
By storing all our visuals–from our company logo to all our corporate templates–in the Pickit platform, we're not only able to save time and stay productive by having everything in one central, easy-to-access location, but every member of the team is also able to stay on brand from the safety of this platform.
Did you know that with Pickit’s latest release now you can share and distribute all your templates and documents to PowerPoint, Word and Teams, right alongside your brand assets? Learn more here
There you go, a few ways we've managed the move to a full-time WFH situation during over the past few months.
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