by CLARK NESSELRODT, senior vice president, Brilliant PR & Marketing

There is no shortage of content circulating about how to establish productive work from home routines. But while it’s one thing to stay on-task while working from home, it’s quite another to keep a group of people and an organization not just afloat, but on an upward trajectory without the benefit of proximity and live interactions.

Amid the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, no one knows how long it will be until people return to their communal workspaces. With this in mind, I wanted to share a few tips and practices for your team to make it through the workday while working from remote locations.

Know your values and create a culture around upholding them

When you walk into a company’s office, you can begin to get a sense of its culture within minutes. There is a way that people carry themselves, decorate their office, and engage with colleagues in the hallways that underscores the ethos of the operation they serve. Companies that operate remotely have to work harder to establish and maintain their values. But making these values productive takes the further step of instant actionability. Create a safe space where team members feel supported and not criticized when a colleague tells them they feel a certain value is not being upheld or exemplified.

Transparent, real-time performance metrics are crucial

People can’t perform to their greatest potential if they don’t know what is expected of them and how their individual performance impacts the company at large. And, a certain amount of healthy competition is critical to the success of any team. Consider investing in building a dashboard that enables every team member to access data about their “hits goals” with real-time progress updates. For the weeks ahead, an easy way to start is by asking each direct team to develop specific, measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) and work together to keep them updated every day.

Dispense with appearance and turn … on … your … camera!

Despite the fact that this seems somewhat obvious, we still see resistance to the video function of teleconferencing software. We even see businesses still relying on old-fashioned conference call lines. We know that the quality and actionability of our remote communications has a definite correlation to whether or not the call was supported via video. It’s natural that people are sensitive about their appearances and to letting outsiders into their private workspaces. We make it very clear to our team that no one is judging and that T-shirts, ball caps and more are perfectly welcome!

Leverage real-time communications software to maintain always-on communications throughout the day

We’ve learned that people begin to pick and choose the information they share when faced with the barrier of picking up the phone or drafting a new email. Text messages and real-time messaging platforms like Glip and Slack are imperative for helping team members feel that they aren’t alone during the day and to facilitate a real-time flow of information across the company.

Perhaps the most important thing is a commitment to sticking to these types of standards once established.

It’s easy to become lax on values, skip a regularly scheduled call, turn off the video “just this once,” and engage in other small actions that can slowly erode productivity and culture. To the greatest extent possible, establish best practices that work for your company and make following them diligently a best practice in and of itself. The margin of error is decreased while working remotely. Structure, process, and shared systems are the greatest paths to success.