A revolution has happened in 2020. Large centralised offices globally have been forced to continue their business remotely and while many allowed remote working in the past, it has now become the norm. And employees have loved it. According to a recent report by Review 42, 90% of remote workers would recommend working remotely to a friend. With this in mind, many businesses are adjusting their working practices to incorporate remote working and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
However, remote working presents many challenges, the two biggest of which are collaboration and communication. In the past we have underestimated how much information was shared when we bumped into our colleagues at the coffee machine or had chat in the lift on the way to the office, until it no longer happened. In a recent survey, 60% of remote workers say they missed important information because it was communicated from one person to another.
So, how do you maintain visibility for managers, ensure that team members are not missing important information and ensure that remote workers feel confident and stable in their jobs? Transparency.
Below we look at three steps to implementing, or increasing, transparency across your business and outsourced processes.
Build transparency into workflows
In order for a team to be able to remotely work on a project, everyone in the team needs to be part of the entire process, all conversations and be able to see all activity. The first step to transparent workflows is to undertake an audit of your current workflows, identify areas where information flow has changed by the move to remote working and fill in the gaps.
There are many tools available on the market to help with remote workflows. Google Drive, Trello and Microsoft Teams, amongst others, allow many team members to work on the same documents, show activity history and allow comments to be added. It’s easy to have an app overload, so it’s important to look at each of these tools and access which one is best for your business and processes.
It’s important also at this stage to assess your security arrangements. There is no need for every employee to have access to every project. Consider carefully who is in which project team and who needs access to which information.
Transparency relies on communication. And it’s not easy to communicate well when you are working remotely. To be transparent you have to actively work on communication. And not just about the project you are working on. Remember that lift conversation, before the days of remote working – it probably started with ‘How was your weekend?’
The first key to success is to use public channels for all communications. Tools like Slack, Trello team boards and Microsoft teams allow you to set up project conversations. You can have a text conversation with a project team and then flick to a phone call or video call if you need to. When you are communicating by text team members can view the conversation in their own time, allowing for the flexibility of remote working, or working across different time zones.
When using video be careful not to invite the whole team to every call. Zoom fatigue is a real thing. You can save video calls and make them accessible to all the team, in their own time and if the need arises.
Think about having a social stuff group too! For those conversations about the weekend! WhatsApp is a great tool for this and used by many businesses.
To be truly successful, transparency needs to be a part of your core business. Make it a part of your company values and start from the top. Managers and leaders should be setting the example by being transparent in their working. This means making calendars public, sharing feedback and participating in or leading channels of communication.
When you are working remotely you are also not in the office to hear the hallway buzz. What is going well for the company right now. Employees who feel that the company they are working for is secure and stable are more likely to work harder. Transparency can help to build stability for remote workers.
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Our speciality at The Back Room is providing all the tools you need to start outsourcing business processes in your accounting firm. If you’re looking for help setting up a remote team or you would just like more information, contact us or find out more about us.