If you can’t trust your employees to work from home, then you have the wrong employees.
The COVID-10 lockdown has been a journey into the unknown for plenty of companies out there, big and small.
Plunged into a virtual world in the space of a few weeks, lessons have been learnt about everything from digital infrastructure, to managerial approaches and even what counts as acceptable conference call attire? (Hint: pants may be optional.)
During this time of adapt to survive, employers and employees are beginning to discover not only the limitations of remote working, but the possibilities.
For FanFinders CEO and co-founder Alec Dobbie however, this is all familiar territory.
When starting the company back in 2012, Alec and his fellow co-founders didn’t meet in person for almost two years. There was no major IT infrastructure available, just a case of “using whatever software we could get our hands on to help.”
Even once the company began to properly take shape, the only chances to meet were Board meetings every six months.
This remote structure hasn’t hindered progress. FanFinders is now the Number 1 supplier of 1st party opt-in data in the UK baby market, connecting brands with mums who want to speak with them via the Your Baby Club network – which has over 2 million members.
Your Baby Club US has also launched, covering 20%+ of the market within 12 months.
So what tips does Alec have for those companies adapting to remote working or planning to keep this structure for the foreseeable future?
1. Get the whole company together.
“You need to get the correct channels in place to stay connected and everyone across the company should be able to see what’s happening as it develops. We have an ‘all-hands’ video call every week to get the entire team together.”
2. Focus on inter-departmental structure.
“Whether you only have three departments or 10, you have to ensure leads are staying in touch. Without the natural connectivity of being able to get in a meeting room together and discuss progress towards a shared goal, steps like daily team calls and sharing task lists are essential.”
3. Don’t forget the fun.
“Ideally, you want to replace those conversations that take place in the office kitchen or by the water cooler, so have channels and outlets for topics that aren’t related to work. We have some just so we can hear more about the art being created, cakes baked or even those bank holiday DIY projects.”
4. Think about team activities (when it’s safe to do so).
“Without the flexibility of working from home, FanFinders would not have been born – but that doesn’t mean we should be remote all the time. Once the lockdown is over, regardless of how digital your structure has become, make room for team nights out and activities like escape rooms.”
5. Trust in your business and your people.
“You should be able to trust everyone in your business. If you can’t, then they’re not right for your company. Having trust also goes for your strategy. Companies that are willing to invest actively in their people and towards their business goals during this time will ultimately come out in a much stronger position.”