Tips and tools for helping your team transition to remote work
As the world enters the reality of remote work, there are many people who have been doing this successfully for years. More than two-thirds of people around the world work away from the office at least once every week, according to a study released by Zug, a Switzerland-based service office provider. IWG found that 70 percent of professionals work remotely — a phenomenon known as telecommuting — at least one day a week, while 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week.
But what if you have never worked remotely or you are in charge of now setting up your entire office and employees to work from home? We are here to help.
Patriot Boot Camp, a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded in 2012, helps veterans, service members, and military spouse entrepreneurs start and scale businesses through in-person boot camp training programs. Our mighty team of 4 is stationed around the world and working in a remote environment. We have been globally supporting our 1,000+ entrepreneurs since 2012.
Due to the coronavirus, we needed to cancel our most recent 3-day in-person program in San Francisco and we are quickly making alternate virtual plans for our community. We are sure many of you are in the same boat. Therefore, we reached out to our partner, Google For Startups and all of our fellow GFS partner organizations from around the world for some advice and resources for moving quickly from in-person hubs to remote team operations.
BIG Announcement from Google - Agni Hyryniewicz-Bieniek, Director, Google for Startups recently shared with the GFS partners that Google rolled out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite customers globally to be more productive while working remotely.
This includes hosting larger meetings, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive. These are the same tools the GFS team uses on a daily basis and can attest to their usefulness for staying virtually (and globally) connected.
Agni also knows that for many of you, working from home is a big and unexpected change. To help with the transition, Google is sharing best practices on how teams can work together when they’re not together, including G Suite tips for remote teams, and free Primer lessons including Working Remotely and Productively at the Same Time, Collaborate While Working Remotely and Transitioning to Remote Work. These resources are available and more will continue to be added at https://grow.google/remotework and on our Google for Startups social channels.
We also checked in with our GFS partners from around the world who run in-person entrepreneur hubs to find out how they are moving to all remote.
Thomas Patzko, from Impact Hub in Zurich shares “At Impact Hub Zürich, we are preparing our team and community for the declaration of a Swiss-wide state of emergency, potentially shutting down more or less all public life and limiting the individual freedom of movement. Going completely online will be a huge change for our team and community, as meeting, exchanging, laughing and strategizing together is the core of who we are.” Thomas also suggests reading Tomas Pueyo's write-up on Medium for great up to date information.
The reality of working remotely can get lonely fast, especially if you are used to an in-person work environment.
Izzy Sayers, Head of Program and Events for TQ based in Amsterdam said, “we are planning a big virtual Friday drinks with our community this afternoon so the enhanced free Google Hangout tools are perfect.”
So whether you are a team of one, or in charge of entire organizations that traditionally have in-person operations, you can now transition smoothly to a remote environment.
Here are some tips from what our Patriot Boot Camp team does to stay connected even in a geographically dispersed environment.
- Consistency is the key. We have a standing team meeting each week at 12 pm EST because it works the best for all of our different time zones. Find a day and time that works for your team and stick to it.
- We use Google for Hangouts and have this set up as a recurring meeting so the information is already in our Google calendars making it easy to find the link each week.
- Always video! I know your hair might not be perfect and you may not have makeup on. As long as you have clothes on, you can turn on the video for a much better, more personalized experience. It might feel awkward at first, but now it feels strange and impersonal to us when we aren’t on a video meeting.
- Desktop, Laptop, Phone = no excuses. Hangouts are available on all devices. Just download the app to your phone and you can do a virtual hangout from anywhere at any time.
- Minute to Arrive - We learned this technique recently at the Google for Startups Trailblazers conference and we have put this into practice for our weekly meetings. When we are all on the hangout, we pause, Sherri Rice, our COO, rings an actual small gong and we take “a minute to arrive.” You can close your video, mute and just sit in silence. It might sound crazy, but this small act has had huge results. We then take 10 minutes to give non-work updates. Even though you are not physically standing by the water cooler catching up with your co-workers, you still need to foster that type of connection virtually. This was one of the best practices we started this year and we highly recommend it.
- Have fun! As you read above, our Google for Startups partner, TQ, based in Amsterdam shared they recently had a Friday virtual happy hour. You need to keep spirits up and human connection going, so why not try a virtual happy hour?
We are also proud to share that Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, just released an important message for how Google continues to help everyone stay safe, informed and connected. Here are the latest developments.
We would love to learn how you are handling the switch to remote work and your tips and please feel free to share this resource with your community.
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Jen Pilcher, CEO
Patriot Boot Camp