Navigating a remote work model is a task that many are now having to face head-on. And with new environments come new challenges. Davin Workforce Solutions switched to a remote model mid-March, and we’ve tackled many of the issues thrown at us.
At Davin, we’re a very social group. In the office, we’d often pop over to each other’s desks to chat about a project. We’d collaborate, took walking breaks together, and had at least one group meeting a week.
With the transition, we all felt that disconnect almost immediately. It’s jarring to juxtapose one week where we’d happily chat in person, to sitting in our respective dwellings, scattered in the wind.
But now, five months later, we’re working smoothly and have adapted to this new frontier.
We recently talked with all of the team members to find out how they adjusted and what advice they have for those struggling with this shift. Here are their top tips.
Regular Team Check-ins
Almost every team member said that regular team check-in meetings are essential to keeping everyone running smoothly and combating disconnection. Most of our teams use either Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but the crucial factor is the ability to have video meetings, allowing face-to-face gatherings, even if it is from a distance. Using cameras also helped cut down on awkward, accidental interruptions or multiple people speaking at once.
The length and frequency of these meetings differ from team to team, with some having short, daily meetings, while others have longer, once-a-week meetings. The flexibility doesn’t diminish the importance, and all the teams found that sticking to a schedule mattered most.
These meetings are used to discuss updates, current struggles, and future work. This keeps everyone within the team on the same page.
Team meetings are great for keeping your immediate team in sync, but one issue that can arise from team-based meetings is a disconnect from the rest of the company.
We use two company check-in methods to combat this.
The first is a weekly newsletter. We use this as a way of highlighting “Wows” from each team and keeping everyone up-to-date about the latest accomplishments and goals of each team. We also use these newsletters to share any national updates that may affect our work (such as new work-related laws or public health policies).
The other method is company-wide meetings. While it is difficult to wrangle every company worker to get together once a week, ensuring that there is a company meeting at least once every month or two will help get everyone together in the (virtual) room together. These meet-ups remind everyone that they are a part of the larger team and that we’re all working towards the same goals.
We found creating a zoom meeting, making a phone call, or writing an entire email just to ask a quick question can quickly become arduous and, well, annoying. We implemented a team messenger to help keep us connected while allowing us to not only shoot quick questions over to our team members but also to chat whenever we’d like.
We use Slack, or Microsoft Teams, and these platforms have become an essential replacement for our previous, in-office desk visits. Group chats have helped us feel connected, whether it’s one of us asking a high-level coding question, or simply chatting about what we made for dinner last night. It may seem irrelevant to provide an outlet for random chitchat, but this tool has exponentially helped improve team morale.
Gone are the days of peeking at someone’s desk or the break room to see if they are available. The disconnect of remote work can lead to a lot of anxious moments when a co-worker appears missing when you have a question or an immediate task that needs to be completed.
We’ve combatted this by ensuring that everyone has their schedules posted and keeps everyone updated when breaks are taken (through our group messenger). We also ensure that we have redundancies to cover those on breaks, lunch, or on PTO.
A Culture of Asking
Asking for help or clarification is sometimes difficult for people in the best of situations. Disconnected from the group, the anxiety over “annoying questions” only amplifies.
At Davin, we have always fostered a Culture of Asking, and with the transition to a remote model, that culture is reinforced tenfold. Everyone encourages each other to reach out at any point when help or an answer is needed. Ensuring that your co-workers or employees know that it’s okay to ask will help dissolve any worry and help to create a great environment and increased productivity.
Understand Mental Health
And lastly, understand that, right now, everyone is going through a heightened level of stress. We are in uncertain times and cannot proceed as if everything is normal. We have found that putting a focus on taking care of our mental health has helped keep morale up and bring our teams closer together.
We encourage a reasonable number of mental breaks, whether it’s just an employee stepping away from the computer for a few minutes or walking around the block. We found that letting our employees feel like they are not chained to their desks created a healthier, more productive environment.
Davin Workforce Solutions have always focused on creating a flexible system to help facilitate remote credentialing and document storage for healthcare education programs across the country, and that focus extends to creating a safe, healthy environment for our employees to work within. We hope that our tips might help you navigate the transition to remote working.