At Spacefinish, our vision as a company is to design and build a better world for all humans to live and work in. Hence, our focus is to always improve the quality of life by focusing on areas that have the biggest impact on people’s daily routine. Today, as the world grapples with the threat COVID-19 pandemic poses to our lives as humans and professionals, realities are changing. Business professionals are encouraged to work remotely in order to curb the spread of the virus. But for many businesses and professionals, there are often more questions to be asked around:
How can employees stay motivated and productive while on lockdown?
What kind of culture do businesses adopt at a time like this?
What are the best practices for communication management?
What happens to collaboration when teammates can no longer have a quick one-one in the office?
Here, we share learnings from from our first week of working remotely to show how organizations, especially those in Nigeria can collaborate and stay productive during this pandemic.
Changing Behaviour: A Culture of Tracking Helps At a time like this, habits and processes must change. For businesses and professionals, this reality is inevitable. It has become more important than ever to have systems in place to schedule, track, and carry team members along with individual activities and output. Thanks to our CEO, Remi Dada who personally drove the idea of every team member living by their calendar. "Live and die by your calendar. Once you’ve set your schedule and made it visible to your coworkers with a shared calendar. It becomes easier to know when you’re free or not” he says. Also by implementing a trackable, weekly to-do list that allowed everyone to create a list of objectives, corresponding due dates, and comments on each task being carried out, our Head of Product made it immensely easy for team members to remain organized, get feedback and focused on achieving set goals. A Dedicated Desk Environment is Crucial to Getting Things Done. As cool as the idea of working in your pajamas lounging on the bed is, it can be a great impediment to productivity. Working from an established workspace helps to create work triggers for the brain that puts the mind in a productive mood. However, not everyone has the space for an elaborate work station.
Hence, it is important for people to get creative at a time like this. Dining tables have become more regular workspaces for some of our team members.
Data/Internet Connectivity is Still a Big Challenge By far the same challenge everyone on the team faced at one point or the other was internet connectivity. It was either unavailable or unstable. At a point, our digital marketing manager had to finish up a task from his car due to poor internet connection.
Due to the fact that Internet access and speed have a direct impact on productivity. We recommend that team members find the right spot in their homes with very good internet reception to set up their workspace. Slow or no internet connection will cause employees to be unproductive. And considering Nigeria’s high cost of good data and internet access, companies can also mitigate data and subscription challenge for members of staff by providing stipends for them to get good MiFi routers and/or data subscription amongst others.
Backup Power is Important Given that Nigeria enjoys roughly 9hours of irregular electricity supply per day, it was envisaged that power and internet access would be our biggest impediments. An office-survey had also revealed that our employees’ laptops will last an average of 2hrs 30 mins. It thus became very important for us to find alternative sources of power. Team members explored options such as laptop powerbanks, backup fuel for generators, and inverters. Other alternatives for companies to explore at a time like this for employees is to offer flexible work hours that allow them to work around their power inconsistencies and peculiarities.
Virtual Face-to-Face or Not... We now hold virtual meetings in place of physical meetings on Google Hangout or Zoom and Whatsapp with team members and clients. The major challenge you might have with this is poor internet and very high data consumption. However, our team came with some learnings that will help:
Except there’s an important need for video calls, audio calls are easier, clearer and consume less data.
Always have one person drive and coordinate the meeting. It helps with time management and keeping everyone on track.
This might seem like common knowledge but you would be surprised how many people don’t do this instinctively, turn off your mic when not in use, everyone's audio reception improves with this.
Leveraging Free Opportunities Available Currently, in a bid to encourage everyone to work from home, global corporations like Cloudflare, Google, Microsoft, Box, GoToMeeting, and Cisco have joined forces to help businesses access some of their premium business services for free through the Open for BusinessHub. From file sharing, video conferencing, social media management to CRM tools, businesses of all sizes can benefit from this platform for free.
Globally, employees and CEOs of big corporations have begun working remotely. Google is one of those helping small businesses thrive during this period of uncertainty. Here are some tips and recommendations from Google for businesses working remotely. Help us develop more tailored content for you. Share your experience working remotely with us via this link: https://forms.gle/Mp21uCwAfm4zPYQh8