Let’s talk about the cloud for one minute
The cloud has profoundly changed the IT landscape in the past 10 years. There are numerous value propositions to the cloud, obviously. Developers tend to think of the cloud in terms of creating new apps and services faster, and doing more with accumulated data. Plus: streaming, video on demand, etc.
But there is a value proposition to the cloud about managing teams. The cloud allows for easier work with remote teams or distributed teams because no one would need to be physically on-site to access certain team resources. You can all get it from the cloud.
As a result of the software development benefits and the team organization benefits, most enterprise companies already use some form of the cloud. It’s an industry worth over $600 billion on its own. It’s very important to companies.
But then, coronavirus happened
The cloud is still important. Do not get confused there.
But a lot of office work -- white-collar, enterprise, high-growth type work -- had to shift to work-from-home models, simply because people could not be around each other, or the virus might spread faster.
Every company began publishing how-to guides, work-from-home guides, managing distributed teams guide, organize-your-home-office guides, etc.
This is not any of those. You can organize your home office on your own.
What we did see in digital conversations is that managers were freaking out about remote, distributed teams. We know one manager who put their entire team on Cisco WebEx all day. They all had to sit there as they did work. They even had to tell their manager when they went to the bathroom!
That is one managerial approach, sure. We don’t love it. But we wonder: if the cloud is so prevalent, and the cloud allows for easier remote work, why are people still confused and concerned by more employees needing to work from home now?
That is a simple answer, actually.
Many managers want to control their teams and the flow of work. They think that is the most effective path to getting projects done -- and a lot of times, it is. It is harder to have “control” of remote, work-from-home employees because you don’t always know where they are and what they are doing. They might be at the gym. But if everyone was together in the office, you would know where that employee is -- they’d be at their desk. That scares managers.
In short on this part, we have the technology to very effectively work from home and still achieve success as a team. But the limitation is human psychology and how we think about work.
So how do we make this better?
Well, you cannot completely change human psychology. Some managers will freak out and want everyone back in the office as soon as possible. But we are also facing a global public health crisis that has a high spread rate, so that’s not the answer right now. People need to stay apart, but projects still need to get done.
Everyone is concerned about the revenue these days, so projects are super important. But they need to be done remotely. How do we achieve this?
First: look for business partners with legitimate expertise in some of these areas, such as cloud, remote teams, blending teams, working from afar, etc. For example, we use something called a “team extension model.” Oftentimes, we might be working in Croatia, but the team we are working for (client) is somewhere else in the EU. So, we’ve been doing remote work with project success for years. We understand how those pieces fit together. We also do a lot of DevOps projects, which are often remote in nature as well.
Second: make sure you are working with the right tech. There are a lot of video conferencing tools -- Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, WebEx. But there are other combinations and possibilities you can try. We can help you understand the best options for your team. If you have bad technology that freezes a lot or is hard for teammates to access, you will not get a lot done remotely.
Third: address feelings of isolation. The HR department can help you. One big problem is that many remote workers reported feeling more isolated, feeling more like a contractor, seeing less purpose in their work, and were less likely to have a close friend at work. Turnover among them can thus be higher. (There is much research about the power of friends at work.)
Fourth: make sure you have clear company policies on how work is getting done. This involves the need to test and develop processes and policies regulating remote work -- from recruitment to technical specs, QA monitoring, risk management, and social support. This is ultimately the responsibility of executives, front-line managers, and some form of the HR function -- but an outside team with experience in the area can also help.
Fifth: decorate your office like -- no, just kidding. We are not going to talk about that 🙂
The two biggest concerns of remote work …
… are probably accessibility (getting people to log on together) and data privacy/security. Make sure any team you work with on a remote program has experience in both. If employee data is not secure + the team is not accessible, you will fail at remote work, unfortunately.
This is a scary time for many, and we realize that
Your ways of work are changing. Clients and customers may have less money and they will “tighten their belts.” It could impact your revenue.
We know and understand this. We will experience it here at Serengeti too.
But as a result, this is a big-time to be as successful as you can with projects you need implement -- because if we can #FlattenTheCurve or #BendTheCurve and the EU starts coming out of this pandemic in 3-4 months, you want to be well-positioned for a big market push when that happens.
That means working remotely right now. Here is a guide. If you need more help and guidance, we are always available to talk.