Kommunikation ist key für ein funktionierendes Home-Office

March 13, 2020

Working in the home office is part of our DNA. We made it possible and made it happen from day 1. Therefore we want to share a few experiences here that will help you in the current situation.

 

It goes without saying that not every company can do a home office. If you are dependent on your business for customers to come to you, then it simply does not work. And there are a few hardware and software requirements that must be met. However, the hurdles are low – a notebook, a phone and a headset – you don’t necessarily need more. Otherwise, home office is primarily a question of communication. The learning curve will be steepest there.

 

In the beginning and whenever we have someone new in the team, communication is too focused on the boss. It is much more important that the team knows when someone is sick, for example, than that the manager knows. If you are in the management position yourself, then encourage your employees to communicate in their teams first before contacting you. It makes your life easier.

 

Tools are important, including communication tools, but it doesn’t really matter what you use. We use Slack, teams would do the same. It is important that all communication channels are available, i.e. chat, audio, video, screen sharing. At the moment you read a lot about video conferences. They are not so important to us. Screen sharing is our most important channel. But that depends on your business and your culture. You can use a tool that offers everything or best of breed. No matter what you choose, the tools will not matter whether home office is lived successfully and communication works.

 

What is more important are rules and processes. We are a relatively small company. And agile at that. We change our way of working frequently, as do our projects. However, this does not mean that we have no rules and processes. Precisely because we work so agile, they help us to concentrate on our work. If rules and processes do not bring the desired effects, then we change them. We keep trying new things until we get the results we want. Why is that so important in this context? Communication also needs rules and processes. We would like to encourage you to think about rules and processes, to lay them down and gladly to reject them if they do not work. If you don’t have it,

 

Examples

  • If you come to the office and you don’t belong to the very rude species, you are probably saying good morning to everyone you see. You may even open a door and say good morning to your colleague. Do the same if you work in the home office. You don’t have to say good morning to every one, but to your team. If everyone does that, everyone knows that you are at the computer and available – if not already in any meeting.
  • When using Slack or teams, you can chat with a colleague, a group, in a channel, or with everyone. The preferred medium should be the channel. Conversations often begin as one on one. Then you realize that the topic is also relevant for other team members. You can bring them into a group. The topic will often be related to a specific project for which there is a channel. If the conversation starts there, everyone who is working on the project is informed, even those who may not be online at the moment, can understand the conversation later. That is why everyone keeps reminding them that the channels are the best places for communication.
  • If the tasks are clear, use special tools to assign tasks. This way, your team knows who is working on what, can understand the dependencies, etc. Here too, it does not matter which tool you choose, it is much more important to follow a process that is understandable to everyone, if you are not in the office, where everyone can look over your shoulder. Even if you are new to how to distribute and track tasks across distributed teams, set up rules and communicate them. Try it, develop it further. Even if they are not nearly perfect, they are always better than somehow gaining experience.

 

We hope that you can make the switch to the home office well. For us there are many positive aspects. We can be with our families if we want to, we don’t have to take time off just because our presence at home is required for some reason and we can choose our place of work so that we can best do the tasks at hand. At the moment, the home office gives us the security of being able to be there for our customers in the usual way, even when nobody is in the office.

 

If you have any questions, ask. We are happy to share our know-how and experience with you.