How Working From Home Changed Our Workflow
Like a lot of businesses during the start of Covid, we at First Flight Agency had to make the somewhat challenging transition from working strictly in an office setting to working from home. Even two years after the start of Covid, working from home is still prevalent, with especially a lot of businesses making the commitment to become fully virtual. In our first podcast episode, “How WFH Changed Our Workflow” my colleagues Frank Daniels, Keith Borshak, and I discussed this initial transition for our team. Here are a few helpful tips to help ensure the success of your business with multiple employees, all the while working from the comfort of your home.
Establish a communication process with your team and keep it streamlined by using a minimal amount of platforms to communicate. If you use too many ways to communicate with the same people and a process is not established, important discussions or issues can get lost or buried.
Emails are a solution for communicating with external contacts such as clients and freelancers. In contrast, chat is a great way to have casual, one-off conversations or check-ins with team members. However, chats are not helpful as the main form of communication or project tracking between a large group of individuals. It oftentimes leads to important discussions getting buried and/or inundating team members with notifications, thus distracting everyone from their work.
Project management software systems are a great solution to help organize conversations easily for each task or project. You can typically assign specific team members related to the tasks so that not every team member is bogged down with notifications if it does not pertain to them. It is also easiest to reference specific conversations related to a task via a project management software system instead of being buried in chats or emails.
Project Management Software System
Select a project management software system that allows your team members to view all of the tasks remotely and make it clear what they’re responsible for on a daily basis. It is also important to select a system that easily integrates with other external systems you use, such as time tracking, asset management, calendar, etc. The more your project management system acts as a one-stop-shop, the better. You should set up a clear process of how all these systems should be properly integrated to ensure there is no duplication of efforts for your team.
At First Flight, we use Trello, as it allows us all to collaborate effectively by client and project. Trello especially plays nicely with our asset management service (Dropbox), with plenty of add-ons and automation solutions to explore and ultimately help manage and prioritize team tasks.
Weekly Touchbase Meetings
While the project management software system helps teams drill down on specific tasks, it is important to touch base with your team frequently to get a sense of the overarching “big picture.” I suggest having project team meetings at the beginning of the week to set the expectations for the next few days and one at the end of the week to regroup to discuss what was accomplished and what still needs to be addressed. Meetings could be split by department or client and, depending on the scale of the team, can be done via virtual meetings or even by group chat so people can respond and review on their own schedule. Meetings should always have an agenda to ensure it’s a productive one, and only team members who are relevant to that particular client or department should be invited to participate.
Pick up the Phone
And finally, don’t forget that human interaction can be the best solution. Oftentimes instructions can get lost in translation via typed communication. If you feel your point is not getting across after a few messages back and forth with a team member, it is best to pick up the phone and have a conversation to get all your thoughts across clearly and questions answered. Not only does it help maintain the collaborative spirit of your business, but it also saves time and time is money. Always be sure to circle back in your project management system, noting any next steps, so there is clear documentation of the agreed-upon expectations.