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Diary of a Remote Company

video conference

REMOTE WORK AND BENEFITS OF VIDEO CONFERENCE

By | Diary of a Remote Company

NEW YORK, (Mar. 26, 2020) – Shelley Tanner, SanovaWorks CEO/President

In the wake of COVID 19, I wrote a article about the Top Immediate Needs of a Remote Employee

Regular communication through video conference calls was at the top of my list. I asked the team what their thoughts were and received a great response from Nick.

Nick Gillespie, Assistant Publisher

Use video conference tools, not the phone.

Sometimes staff can feel that it’s an imposition, but the quality of meetings for those participating via video is infinitely better than just via phone

I would say the most important tip is to embrace the video component of remote working.

People quickly become used to the video interface, to the point where it becomes no different from meeting face to face in the office.

Gaging facial expressions and body language is very important for effective communication.

I think if you are a manager in a company, you should make video attendance mandatory for all. 

Some links about the benefits of face to face meetings (even remote ones):

https://timemanagementninja.com/2012/10/5-reasons-why-meeting-face-to-face-is-best/

https://medium.com/@shannonkelly_80469/steve-jobs-on-the-importance-of-face-to-face-meetings-even-in-the-age-of-iphones-a5a4b83621a6 

https://sebastiancorp.com/10-reasons-video-conferencing-is-better-than-a-conference-call/

THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF COMMUNICATION WHILE WORKING REMOTELY

By | Diary of a Remote Company, Remote Work

NEW YORK, (Mar. 23, 2020) Signe Pihlstrand, Vice President, SanovaWorks

In the wake of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, many companies are having their staff work from home, and a great portion of them don’t have a routine remote policy or have remote processes set up. SanovaWorks has been successfully 100% remote for over six years now, and we gave ourselves many months of preparing, the better part of a year, before launching our remote work culture. These companies unfortunately don’t have that luxury and need to keep their workforce productive and the wheels rolling with an abrupt start to their remote experience. When I think about the most important things a company can do to lay the right foundation for their remote procedures, the plan for how you will communicate regularly is the first thing that comes to mind. 

Working remotely requires clear communication and clear expectations.

If your team isn’t used to working remotely, you can’t assume that everyone will be on the same page about how to connect. Setting up defined guidelines for when and how you will communicate is so important. 

  1. When – This has the tendency to go both ways: It’s not productive to be bombarded with IMs and emails throughout the day, and radio silence can leave you wondering if anything is getting accomplished. Set up and communicate a clear plan for when you expect to hear from your staff, or colleagues – for instance, a 15-minute touch-base call every morning, emails returned within 24-hours, or maybe a daily end-of-day report from your staff.
  2. How – Pick the ways that your team will communicate and get everyone on the same tools. You don’t want to have to check numerous places for messages. Plus, decide what is communicated by each. Short, occasional messages are best for IMs, while longer messages can be via email – while longer yet should be done in a conversation by video chat.

These ideas may seem obvious, but if not set up to make sure everyone has the same idea about what communication looks like, it can really wreck productivity. If everyone is left to their own devices, you could be fielding phone calls, texts, IMs, video chats, and emails from whatever program someone has on their phone or laptop, at all times of the day, or not at all. Remote working requires its own set of procedures, just like you have at the office.

At SanovaWorks we train everyone on our designated tools and procedures and make it a priority to use video chats whenever possible for the best communication and team member connections!

TOP IMMEDIATE NEEDS OF REMOTE EMPLOYEES

By | Diary of a Remote Company

NEW YORK (Mar. 11, 2020) – A Note from Shelley Tanner, SanovaWorks CEO/President

SanovaWorks transitioned into a 100% virtual company at the end 2012 at the same time press was reporting market leaders like Yahoo and Best Buy stopped all remote work at their companies. To the outside world, it seemed like we were making a crazy decision, heading in the opposite direction from global brand in terms of office culture and environment. We were convinced of the many benefits, so without hesitation we transitioned from two floors of a small office building on Park Avenue South in Manhattan, to a completely remote workforce.

I realize that due to the Coronavirus outbreak many companies are forced to transition some or all of their teams into remote teams without a solid plan, and so I felt compelled to share some of my thoughts on this matter.

The main things remote employees need in the short term are:

  1. Access to information immediately
  2. Regular communication
  3. Clear visibility of priority and goals

For this reason, I am including some of my “must-haves”:

  • Use video conference tools, not the phone. It take more internet bandwidth, but it provides a more engaged experience of meetings. If you don’t know what I’m talking about watch this live enactment of a conference call by phone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYu_bGbZiiQ
  • Use online project management tools for collaboration and project tracking. We use Wrike.com but there are many other options like Asana or Basecamp.
  • Use online file storage for easy access to documents. We use Egnyte, but there are options like Dropbox and Google also.
  • Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask what people think. Communicate that this is new and you are figuring it out, but want to support your teams and accomplish results in this new environment. Your teams will give valuable insight into accomplishing results.
  • Commute time turns into connect time: With a remote culture – everything can feel like a meeting. Be prepared for a feeling of meeting fatigue and get out ahead of it making meetings meaningful with clear agendas and timekeeping, etc.

If anyone has specific questions please comment on the Linked In post or direct message me and if I can’t answer, I will ask one of my extremely competent virtual team.

Best to all during these challenging times,

Shelley