Tips to Working Remotely without Trust Issues

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At an ungodly hour this morning, the Telegraph released an article on the newly enforced isolation rules for the UK. People are only able to leave their house on very specific grounds, these include shopping for necessities, daily exercise, a medical need or traveling to and from work if it cannot be done from home. Now, in these trying times, many office-based employees have been forced home. In fact, my brother, a call-center operator, has been sent home with no work to do in the meantime (lucky him). But companies that have never worked from home have been forced to do so due to social isolation. This comes with a set of paranoias as many employers are unsure how to track the progress of their employees’ work and many employees are unsure how they can express that they are, indeed, working. I’m here to explain some of the methods we use, at Samurai, to help soothe any trust issues that may flare-up.

1. Automation

Here is my Trello board.

At Samurai, we have Trello boards for ourselves that can be seen by David and Neil. Every day a new card is inserted onto the ‘Daily Journal’ column. There are three sections of notes, what I plan to do during the day, what I have done during the day and any problems I ran into, retrospectively. This allows my bosses to see what I have been doing without me having to go out of my way to tell them and interrupt my workflow.

2. Output not Time-in-Seat

It’s more of an old-fashioned way of looking at things but just because your digital marketing apprentice hasn’t replied to your Slack message doesn’t mean he isn’t working. At Samurai, employees are held accountable for the work they do, not the hours they work. We have a kind of unspoken rule where anyone can work between seven in the morning and seven at night. As long as we get the work done, it doesn’t matter when we do it. This is because it’s about the amount of work we accomplish not the amount of time that we spend in our home offices.

3. Be Transparent

Change your status when you leave your PC so your staff knows where you are.

Being transparent is important in any situation, especially while working and especially while working remotely. A helpful tool to assist with this would be a team chat application on your computer or phone. At Samurai, we use Slack. Slack contains a variety of helpful bots to use, like Slackbot, a helpful little bot that remembers company phone numbers and wi-fi passwords that we can request on-demand. We have channels to talk about different work-related items as well as random, non-work-related ones. Slack, also, allows users to update their statuses with an emoji and a statement, as shown here. This can be accessed by Neil and David to explain why we haven’t replied to their messages in a half hour.

4. Get to Know Each Other

The more you know someone, the more you trust them, and trust is key while remote working. In our Slack channels, we talk video games, home life and try to keep our spirits high while dealing with isolation. This is important now more than ever as talking to others about non-work-related subjects not only helps you get to know them better but is also a welcome respite from the possible humdrum boredoms of isolation. We talk cats, we talk old TV shows and we talk song parodies. That’s how you know we’re a tightly-knit team.

5. Regular Check-Ins

This is more applicable to the COVID outbreak as opposed to practice for all remote working situations. At Samurai, we have a group call, every weekday, at 9.30 am. This is more to see and communicate with people outside of our households as well as talk about work. We, usually, start on a tangent as we did one-day last week, playing with the green screen effects in our beefed-up version of Zoom. (Why did we beef it up? Find out here.) It really kicks off the day and gets you ready to work, as I have found. I mainly speak when spoken to, as I am not naturally a big talker, but just watching David and Neil get up to various shenanigans can really break up the day and calm down any anxieties about isolation.

Those are our main tips and tools for building trust while remote working. I hope they work as well for you as they do for us. As always, if you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact us here.

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