In recent years, remote workplaces have become even more common. Due to the pandemic, nearly every office became a fully remote workplace. Now, more offices than ever are deciding to stay remote for the foreseeable future, and with this shift, a few common problems keep popping up. How do you stay in contact with your remote team and ensure that everything continues to run smoothly? How are tasks assigned, briefed, and completed? These questions are what drove us to have Erika Zeigyte on our podcast, “In Systems We Trust.”
Erika Zeigyte is the founder of Remode, where she helps remote companies build high-performing teams and operations. Whether you’re hoping to become remote or have a business that’s running remote currently, if you want it to be successful, keep reading to learn how to create effective systems and processes in a remote workplace.
Why are systems and processes important in remote workplaces?
Often, systems and processes are talked about in an in-person workplace. However, they are just as important, if not more important in a remote workplace. Systems and processes help make the backend of your business run smoothly, taking all those small tasks, or “work about work,” and do them for you.
Because remote workplaces aren’t in contact as much, systems and processes become incredibly important. In our podcast, Erika talked about how using tools like Slack and Asana can help to cut down on communication about deadlines and due dates. Other tools can schedule out emails to customers and follow up without you having to lift a finger. Instead of constantly needing to ask who is doing what, having systems and processes in place can help a remote workplace not only survive, but thrive.
The 4 most important things to do in a remote business.
Erika spoke about four important things to consider when starting (or transitioning) to a remote business.
1. Create a culture.
This is listed as number one for a reason. If you don’t take action on this immediately, it can be hard to create one later on after momentum has been building. Taking the time to really consider what type of environment you want for your remote teams will help you in your hiring decisions, conflict resolution, and prioritizing what you say yes to as a team.
2. Hire good people.
Once your culture has been set, and you’re really living it out, you’ll want to add some people to your team. Who you hire will determine how well your business will grow and thrive. Spend time in the process, and consider those who have experience working in remote teams as a plus. It’s a lot different working remotely rather than in person, so being sure that they know how to manage themselves will help you in the long run.
3. Develop process.
Once you start your remote work, it’s clear you can’t do it all. Bringing on good people isn’t quite enough either. Your team will need structure, good management, and processes to help them understand how to work for your company.
4. Team alignment.
You can have a great culture, a great team, and processes in place, but if they aren’t moving forward towards your mission and vision, it is likely all for nothing in the long run. This starts with things as small as following the processes in place and following a relational code of conduct even closer than if you were in person. By having weekly video call meetings, you can reinforce the vision and continue to build that relational equity that is needed for long-term growth.
How to handle conflict in remote environments.
As with any workplace, there will be conflict. It might be a difference of expectations or priorities, but whatever it is the conflict needs to be addressed and resolved. Erika and her business partner decided they weren’t going to go to bed angry. They recognized that lingering feelings of anger, even with time (and sleep) will often linger the next day, and continue to break down until they are addressed. At some point, it might even be too light for real reconciliation to occur.
Here’s what she recommended to handle conflict in remote environments:
- Get it solved the same day
- Try to do it over video - Erika recommends quick Marco Polo messages
- Speak over Slack if you can’t use video
- Always be upfront and honest about what you’re frustrated about, oftentimes a quick clarifying conversation resolves communication breakdowns.
How to document processes in a remote business.
When it comes time to document your processes in a remote business, it can be hard to figure out the best way to do so. At Remode, they don’t document processes in the old style of using a written SOP. What they do is every time they are repeating a task for the second time, they templatize it. They use tools like Asana to write down the tasks and build the entire process.
They also use Loom recordings to show how they do each task. Sometimes, they do write it all down in a written format, but usually, Asana is how they document it. This system also applies to how Erika and her team onboard new clients. It helps them know which questions to ask, the step-by-step flow, and more.
Improving process documentation.
Naturally in remote work, whether you realize it or not, the tasks you complete will leave a trail of your process. Maybe you have everything in Google Drive, or you’re keeping track of everything on Slack. Still, Erika has seen a lot of businesses document their process, but not in a way that helps their business. So, how do you improve process documentation?
Tools like Asana or Trello have become trendy, but they are not just there for looks. To improve your process documentation, you need to spend time getting to know your tools. No matter which one you use, spend time learning all of the features so you can use them to your advantage. Once you improve your process documentation, you’ll be set to have a successful remote team that can work across the globe without issues.
Check out the episode with Erika Zeigyte here: