COVID-19 has transformed the way we live and work. With the majority of the workforce working from home, organisations and individuals have become heavily reliant on virtual interactions to get the job done. Although the idea of remote working is not foreign, the normalising of such practices may prove to be challenging for the less prepared. Here are some of the best practices to facilitate remote team collaboration and maintain productivity during this difficult time.
Investing in digitisation and apps that boost productivity
The decentralisation of the workplace has highlighted the importance of digitalisation. Enterprise Singapore (a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore) reports an almost 20% increase in digital transformation projects undertaken between January and April this year, as compared to the same period last year. This phenomenon is not surprising. When businesses are compelled to observe mandatory social distancing measures while acknowledging the need to maintain interactions between stakeholders in the work cycle, the sensible answer is to adopt digital solutions.
This is no exception at No deviation. With the changing landscape, we have identified the need to communicate and collaborate over cloud. Some of the online platforms we use include:
This is a collaboration and brainstorming tool where participants can pitch their ideas and arrange them on a board. It is useful for problem-solving. Contact our team at email@example.com to learn more about this tool or click here to find out more.
This organisation and visibility tool keeps tabs on project progress. It is useful if you like to be in control of your work schedule. Click here to learn more about this workflow software.
Maintaining human connection
The human aspect of any workplace interaction deserves equal focus, as it forms the bedrock of employee engagement, productivity and performance. Since employees are scattered all across in their various homes, physical exchanges are now conducted over a virtual space. Remote working has its pitfalls and issues that we must take caution to avoid.
• Follow virtual meeting etiquette
It can get hard to stay focused during meetings, especially with the flexibility of operating from your private space. Distractions are aplenty, especially for those of us who do not have a designated office space at home. If you’re the meeting host, make sure to set a clear agenda before the meeting so that everyone in the team understands the meeting objectives. And if you’re a meeting attendee, your job is to pay attention and not multitask (even though it can get really tempting).
One way to stay focused is to turn on your web camera. Showing your face in a meeting makes you more accountable to staying engaged. Conversations also become more efficient when facial expressions are involved.
• Respect each other’s time (schedule) and space
Employees may also find themselves in a position where they struggle to achieve a work-life balance due to the need to stay connected during this tumultuous time. The blurred lines between work and home are affecting the wellbeing of those working remotely, leading to fatigue and mental stress. With the increasing frequency of remote meetings, it may also be challenging for everyone to find a common time. As a meeting host, it’s always best to schedule meetings way in advance, to give your co-workers some notice so they can plan their schedules. Try not to schedule meetings during lunch hours and after work hours.
• Foster a supportive work culture
Also, with everything on a virtual platform, it is easy to fall into the trap of expecting instantaneous replies from your co-workers. However, it is important to practice empathy and not take things personally when he or she has not replied to you. They may be going through a difficult time or preoccupied with other urgent tasks at hand.
Set a reasonable timeline so that your co-workers know when a response is needed and gently follow up on critical questions without sounding overly pushy. It is very important that we foster a supportive culture and respect each other’s time and space during this unexpected time. By doing so, we foster better communication and collaboration, leading to more productive and engaging meetings.
Pay attention to ergonomics
Needless to say, a conducive and comfortable work environment may help us easily maintain productivity in a remote workspace. With the majority of us spending at least ⅓ of our day sitting at our desks, poor ergonomics can lead to physical problems and pain. As we adopt measures to safeguard against the threat of coronavirus, we should also take caution not to subject our bodies to a different form of hazard caused by poor work-from-home habits.
• Maintain good posture
Maintaining good posture helps us avoid “microtraumas”. The tiny strains we put on our joints and muscles may be invisible now, but will come back to bite us later with long-term muscular and skeletal disorders such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, inflamed tendons, muscle strains or finger, shoulder and back injuries.
As advised by Kirsty Angerer, an ergonomics consultant based in Leicester, England, we should ideally aim for “a position of ease for the body to maintain for a prolonged period of time – where the position supports the natural curves of the spine.”
For an extensive list of focal areas, you can refer to the following infographic to assist you in attaining a good posture:
• Invest in ergonomic office furniture
For those who are working from home indefinitely and in turn, are more susceptible to injuries arising from poor ergonomics, it may be prudent to procure ergonomic furniture for good measure.
Herman Miller is a good place to start, with a vast amount of experience in the field and a multitude of awards under their belt:
A new norm
The COVID crisis has forced, on the world and businesses in particular, the opportunity to re-evaluate, re-optimise and reinvent existing business practices. A Gartner Inc. survey of CFOs and finance leaders found that 74% of companies expect to shift their employees to remote working positions permanently. With businesses reaping cost-savings benefits from remote working practices while also observing a satisfactory level of productivity, this trend is set to continue well into the future.
Adopting the tips and tricks mentioned above may offer you the edge needed to tackle challenges in a post-Covid world and help you maintain productivity in a remote workspace.
About No deviation
At No deviation, we partner with you to help you with executing your CQV process, troubleshooting or your CAPA, or implementing new digital solutions. Our team will come with an open mind and follow the simple steps that are Understand, Observe, Define, and Implement.
Alvin is an experienced Lead Accountant with a demonstrated history of working in the pharmaceuticals/engineering industry. He has an acute understanding of business practices and is skilled in utilising tools to achieve the desired results.