The Covid 19 lockdown was a new experience for all of us but at Iceberg Digital we have spent years figuring out the best ways to work remotely. We have 2 offices on 2 different continents that are required to be in constant contact and connection with each other, along with any freelancers or contractors that we may also work with over time. So, we thought we would put together some of our most useful learnings.
The number one thing that we have come to learn over the years of working this way is that you must reinvent the idea of what your team are there to do. Sound a bit too zen? Our CEO Mark Burgess explains it best:
“All of my life I was brought up on the idea that being late was something to be punished for. It started at school and then carried on into my early career. It is something that becomes ingrained into you. However, what I have come to realise, is that it is not being late to turn up for work or school that is the real issue, the issue is in your commitment and your ability to get your work done well and on time. That might sound obvious, but it is hard for a boss to accept that some of his team might decide to do their exercise from 10:30 – 11:30 while working from home. But my point here is that if they are able to do that whilst still being committed and able to get all of their work done well and on time, why should you care or even try to find out?
“I know people who work for global banks who have still not managed to figure this out. They have to leave their laptop logged on etc in order to pretend they are working, whilst they do something else. It is like infant school. Trust in your staff to get the work done well and on time and trust in yourself to know when someone is not able to do that, not because they do the school run or take the dog for a walk but because they fail to deliver good work on time. As a business owner you understand this flexible working already, just embrace it for all.”
Our next tip ties in with the above principle well. It is that you should start to have more structure to your week and less random activity.
If your staff are free to work from home, with the freedom outlined above by Mark but they do not have specific objectives to meet, it is only natural that their productivity may drop. At Iceberg our leadership team are always working on our plan for a perfectly repeatable week. It is by no means a finished concept and we are not sure it ever will be but somewhere, hidden amongst the mess of random work, there is a perfectly repeatable week in your business. You can usually start to find this by working backwards from the outcomes you would like to achieve. As a very rough example, you have monthly targets for valuations, viewings and instructions. If you go back a stage from that you can start to see how many buyers and vendors you need to speak to in order to hit your weekly targets, from there you can go back to figuring out how do you create enough of those people to speak to by pushing out content. How much content would you need to push out in order to retarget enough people with an instant valuation advert or an eBook. Once you know this you are able to start putting together that perfectly repeatable week in terms of how much content and when. You can then use a tool like ‘Proactive’ in Lifesycle to call up those active people and hit your targets on a set day. If you’d like to know more about how ‘Proactive’ works, you can book to speak to us about it here.
Our next tip for working remotely is to have deadlines! Deadlines are important even when not working from home, but they are super important when working remotely. If you are going to truly embrace the idea of flexible working instead of 9 to 5, then you must have specific deadlines.
This way, as a boss you can relax, you will know whether your deadlines and targets are being hit, you will know whether your team are committed and if they produce good work on time and you will be able to see if everything works.