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COVID-19, Strategy & Organisation March 26, 2020

Making your digital teams work remotely

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Digital teams and digital transformation has been important for the last couple of years. However, COVID-19 has put a spotlight on how important all things digital are when entire companies are working from home. Given the current trend of working remotely, brands need to find new ways to operate and manage their digital teams. However, working from home on a large scale brings with it its own set of challenges. You need the right tools, processes and even culture in place to enable your digital teams to thrive. For many companies, this is a learning opportunity which will provide them with knowledge that is not only useful now but also in the distant future.

Perfect your tooling

When working remotely, having a desk to work from is just the beginning. In order to work effectively when employees are apart, brands need to have various tools such as Slack, Zoom or Google Hangout set up in order to enable communication amongst digital teams. However, it’s not only about facilitating contact. Digital teams need to be able to move fast given how rapidly the external environment is changing. So safety nets need to be put in place which enables your employees to act quickly but also make mistakes without crashing an entire system. Safety nets are provided by automation and integration tools such as GitLab, HotJar or Azure DevOps, to name a few. By ensuring that the correct and necessary tools in addition to safety nets are in place, this facilitates your digital teams working who can then proceed to work independently.

Sync your process

Apart from having the right tools in place, it’s also a good idea to standardise processes to keep a bit of order. Various digital teams might be using different tools and methods for similar scenarios. To best deal with this, businesses need to be firm and pragmatic. There is no one best way of doing things. However, by having set processes in place, this helps teams commit and deliver to what was agree upon.

Also, it’s important to establish rules of engagement so that each team knows how to communicate. For example, Google Hangouts for meetings, email for complex discussions and Slack for ad-hoc quick conversations. By putting in place a system, this ensures people know what channel is used for what purpose and stick to this. 

Lastly, don’t forget to communicate and update your stakeholders and/or clients as to what your company is doing and future plans/strategy development. This is crucial given that you are now working remotely with clients as well. Consider, for example, sending out a weekly summary of what have you accomplished so far and what you plan on tackling next. This is reassuring for both parties and showcases your reliability. 

Build a strong company culture

When working remotely, not being together can feel lonely and strange. It’s a new rhythm for everyone. The daily interactions of walking over to someone’s desk or a half-hour lunch break are no longer happening. Thus, companies need to think of new ways to include these moments in employees daily life. For example, doing a Google Hangout lunch team meeting or Friday night e-drinks. Setting up moments like these which enable banter but also a time to share concerns and struggles is important as people need each other more during trying times.

Rethink your goals

Your digital teams have specific purposes and now is a time to rethink how they can best support your company. Maybe their value lies in accelerating the rest of your organisation or facilitating a large shift between channels, or potentially they can contribute to society somehow. Whatever it may be, now is the time to re-evaluate the value of your digital teams.

This is a learning experience

Today, digital teams are more important than ever before. But in order to thrive, they need the right processes and tools, but also clear goals and a strong company culture. View this as a learning opportunity to challenge yourself and know that you will come out stronger and be able to adjust your strategy and way of working more efficiently in the future.

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