At Clariti we have a global work force. Our company has offices in three locations, two in the US and one in India. By necessity we always had to use remote communication tools to connect with each other. So, when the pandemic hit and all of us were forced to work from home (WFH), we thought the transition would be easy. Now looking back at the year and half since WFH started, we have realized it was anything but easy. However, in spite of all the challenges, we also learned that remote working has many benefits. Here are the lessons we learnt from remote working.
Lack of commute = improved morale
This is an easy one. Many of our employees live far from the office and the daily commute was a grind, especially for our colleagues in India where roads are not the best. Once employees started working from home, there was no time wasted in commuting. This reduced stress and improved work morale. This seems to be a universal experience, no matter where you are located.
Good home office setup is key
We take many things for granted when we work from the office. Our desk, chair, office supplies and even the coffee machine are all provided for us. We simply get to use them as needed. However, at home not everyone has an efficient set up. Since no one expected to be sitting at a desk and chair at home for 8 hours a day, most of this equipment was not the most comfortable. Once it became clear the pandemic was going to stretch on for a while, most employees invested in a good set up so they could work just as well from home as the office. Another unique requirement was filtering ambient noise. In places like India there is a lot of noise in the street that can float up to your home. Normally in offices there are noise-controlled workspaces, which are not available at home. We had to invest in noise-cancelling headphones to filter out this background noise.
Importance of boundaries for good work life balance
When are you are at the office there are clear boundaries of work hours, time off for lunch etc. Employees know when to show up for work and when to switch off their monitors for the day. At home it is very easy to forget to maintain those boundaries which are so naturally accepted at the office. If you are working on your own computer from home, sometimes it is easy to get distracted and click on different bookmarks for entertainment or news that you normally view after work hours. Conversely it is very easy to continue working even after regular work hours, simply because you are already home and it easy to just keep going. It takes effort and discipline to maintain boundaries between office and work. Otherwise, this may impact your relationships with family members and impact your work life balance.
Don’t forget the water cooler conversations
People are social creatures. We need to be connected with each other and a lot of this happens spontaneously in conversations around the water cooler. People talk to each other about their children, pets, hobbies, out-of-town trips and myriad other things they do outside of work. These tidbits of information, shared spontaneously, give us a deeper understanding of our colleagues. This translates to empathy to the many challenges people face at home and colleagues can be more supportive of each other. It is very difficult to have these conversations when everyone is remote. Managers need to make extra effort to organize virtual social gatherings where people can chat, talk and connect with each other without any specific agenda. Granted this cannot replace meeting in person, but it is better than nothing.
Detailed communication is key for success
Detailed communications become very important when people are working remote. At the office when everyone is at one place communications can be cryptic as much information is shared through body-language without anyone even realizing it. However, when no one can spend time with each other in person, the communications need to be detailed so there is no misunderstanding. Good written communications are especially important when teams are working in different time zones and there is not much time overlap for verbal communications.
Communication technology is a must to make it all work
Today there are many ways to communicate. It is possible to chat with your colleagues in real-time, you can send emails to each other when instantaneous response is not needed, you can share information via social media, you can have calls with screen sharing for detailed discussions and so on. There is an app for each communication medium and many of them are very good. Unfortunately using multiple apps to communicate creates information silos. This leads to a lot of wasted time in looking for information from various sources. Besides a lot of time is spent just switching from one app to another.
We are lucky at Clariti because we have built an app just to solve this problem. Our app, Clariti, supports all communication forms. You can chat, email, share social feeds, have phone calls and even maintain a to do calendar, all from the same desktop app. There is no time wasted switching from one app to another.
But we didn’t just stop there. In Clariti all related communications are automatically connected and stored in cloud folders called TopicFolder. Each TopicFolder can be given a unique name to denote all the communications stored in that folder. TopicFolders keep all communications organized, no matter which medium was used, without requiring any extra effort from you. TopicFolder becomes the Hub for all your work.
We have made Clariti Free and you can access it from anywhere in the world using just a browser. Our entire global team uses Clariti everyday and we can’t imagine working without it.
Try Clariti today! Simply create a free login id and use it with your team.