By: Laurel Farrer
Is your team wanting to dip their toes into the world of remote work? Or maybe you’re ready to take the plunge and distribute your whole team? Well, we’re suckers for a great metaphor opportunity, so… come on in, the water’s fine! Here’s how to get swimming.
1. Know Your Why
Is it a hot day outside? Looking to add some good cardio to your schedule? Most of us have a motivating reason to take a dip. Likewise, transitioning to a distributed model should have a goal for making the jump. It will be a big change for your team, and you’ll need an appealing reason to help everyone push through the hard days. If you need a little inspiration, these benefits of remote work can be great motivators!
2. Test Your Temperature
Just like no one wants to jump into a cold pool, no one wants to work remotely with a micro-manager leading their team. Trust is the key to virtual collaboration, so in case you’re harboring some unhealthy office habits, like watching the clock and counting the number of heads down in cubicles, you’ll want to measure the trust temperature of your team. And, make any adjustments before sending everyone home.
3. Prepare Your Tools
Is your pool all prepped to host your swimmers? Are your sunscreen and lemonade standing at the ready? Even though your team won’t need file cabinets or conference tables, you’ll still need some crucial tools in place to manage your workflows and information. Make sure that your company is all set up with the tools it will need to sync successfully.
4. Educate Your Team
You’re not the only one who needs to know how to swim. Anyone getting into the pool will also need to know how to stay afloat. When working remotely, your team’s workflows, processes, funnels, and products will stay almost the same as they were before. However, their work environments and habits are sure to change drastically. Help them individually prepare for the transition by developing the essential skills of successful remote workers and polishing up their self-management strategies, so they can work just as well autonomously as they do with their team nearby.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
You might be a “sink or float in the deep end” kind of person, but if you’re just learning how to swim, we don’t recommend that strategy. Instead, we suggest starting your remote transition slowly by sending your whole team (managers and executives included) home for 1-3 days per week.
Be warned: you might be tempted to delay certain meetings, decisions, or discussions until you’re back in-person, but waiting will not develop the communication habits your team will need when they’re all free-range full-time. Make an effort to stay on schedule and maintain your “business as usual” responsibilities, including team meetings, client interaction, and personal deep work.
6. Look for Leaks
We want your remote work pool to stay full and cool forever, so check for leaks that might drain your water. Examine where in-person communication is happening in your company and creatively replace it with virtual interactions. Client meetings may need to be moved to video calls, and even your breakroom needs to be replaced with virtual opportunities to have casual conversations.
7. Take the Plunge
Walk to the edge of the springboard, because you’re ready to dive! It’s time to send everybody home full-time! To build hype (and culture), mark the date with a celebration either in-person or online. Have a kickoff party, talk about what you’re each going to do with your new freedom, and give everybody a home office stipend to add some bling to their new spaces. If you don’t know what to do with your old office space, you may not want to throw the key away just yet. Until your team has found their groove with working remotely, you can use your building as a public co-working space or meeting venue for your team.
Need help transitioning from co-located to distributed? Leave a comment below or contact us with any questions you may have about the process. We’re happy to help!