How to maintain the efficiency of your business in the conditions of forced remote work?

For almost a week, Ukraine has been under quarantine. It was a blow for many businesses which, unfortunately, not every business can recover from. First of all, precisely those businesses which were dependent on offline suffered: cinemas, shopping centers, events, restaurants, etc. We will not even talk about tour operators. Every industry producing product or user experience that is dependent on customer activity “in real life” is now living in the strict cost-cutting mode: slashing of employees salaries, leave of absence. And the longer coronavirus quarantine lasts, the lower safety margin.

Today it is easier for those who earn money from online and digital goods. Mark you, I do not say “good” or “profitable” — everyone has suffered and will suffer because of the quarantine and the coming crisis. And many companies had to change their office workdays for the rails of remote work in emergency mode in order to maintain at least the part of the efficiency.

I am lucky to work in a finTech industry, remote working has long been rather an everyday life for us. Nevertheless, we managed to organize the remote working for the entire central office and back-offices without significant losses in quality of work and operational efficiency, and therefore I would like to share a few tips — without water, only practice and in essence.

LeoGaming team has both IT specialists who are more accustomed to work remotely and lawyers and financiers who are attached to the traditional office culture. We have already experienced remote working before, and some of our offices are located in other cities of Ukraine. Therefore, time and experience have helped me to identify three main problems of a quick (and not so) change-over to remote mode of work:

1. Loss of control by management over back office.

2. Lack of understanding the entire picture: there was a feeling that no one was doing something, but nevertheless a lot of time was spent on work.

3. Loss of connection with employees.

These major challenges, in turn, create in their combinations other more local troubles that provoke their own, etc. You alleviate some of the pressure by solving at least one problem, and create an adequately working office atmosphere — by fixing all of them.

Tasks. If you have not done this before — it is not the best time now, because today you need it “for yesterday”. There are a lot of task planners: Asana, Jira, Redmine, Trello, etc. Employees should enter up all their tasks there, even the ones which seem small and meaningless. The rule “no task — no work was done” can be radical, but is indispensable for organizing the basic processes of remote work. I prefer Redmine because of its simplicity, and our creators — for the great possibilities of customization.

Prompt resolution of issues. I will not answer the question, which of these is better, Slack or Telegram — each business is individual. We use Telegram because of the versatility of the messenger and the fact that almost all the colleagues were already using it at the time of implementation.

Calls. I call on everyone to forget Skype and use Zoom. More convenient, modern, easier-to-use and with better audio communication at conference calls. It is better to plan specified time key tasks in Google Calendar. By the way, Google even prepared a guide for this.

All this will fix the problem of control over the back office: the main tasks will not disappear and will not be forgotten.

Experience has proved that a remote work schedule often means that employees do not spend time on the road and standard breaks. Due to the fact that there is more available time, productivity often declines. Organize your work according to the common schedule: from 9:00 to 18:00, from 10:00 to 19:00, depending on the schedule of your company. The main “working rituals” must remain in force — if the order of actions is followed, the effectiveness is most often preserved. Due to this, there will be no feeling that a heap of time has been spent — because all employees will know exactly how much they need to work.

Briefings are fundamentally important for understanding the general vector of the company’s work and the functions of each team member involved. I will repeat myself about Zoom. Follow-up of meetings and monitoring of work is also better to do in chat rooms — in such a way everyone will be able to response to tasks quickly.

If the quarantine lasts longer, your team will inevitably face a contradictions in collective values. “Team spirit” suffers when people stay at home for a long time, fix their personal problems, have less contact with colleagues. Briefings can help, but it is important to make it clear to colleagues and subordinates that something more than just salaries holds a team together. Once they have chosen your company, the values ​​of your brand coincide with their personal ones. Small perks, informal calls, assistance in dealing with the personal challenges, medical insurance (if they do not have it before) — all this will show that your company can not only pass through any crisis, but also get out of it stronger than before.

CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank