Work Your Way is our new blog series in which individuals give their honest answers about how they like to work when working remotely. From how to create and maintain a work culture when working remotely, to how they best like to work remotely, they share their insights and top tips.
Caroline Harridence, Founder at Counting Clouds Cambridgeshire shares with us her thoughts on remote working and, how co-working space are the perfect medium. Counting Clouds Cambridgeshire is a fully digital, forward thinking practice that provide their clients with innovative cloud accounting solutions to reduce manual tasks which, in turn, gives their companies the time to focus on what they do well - running their businesses.
What is the biggest advantage to the company of working remotely?
There are a number of advantages for the company and it is hard to pick just one. Clearly the cost savings of not having an office will be significant and this will be a key advantage. However, one of the other key benefits is that the company often see an increase in productivity. The staff save time on commuting (as well as costs) and this time can then be spent on their day to day work. Also, the team often are more productive at home as there are less distractions which also aids productivity and outputs. It is, however, important that the company ensure that the team is not isolated and that morale is upheld. This can be done through regular meetings on tools such as Zoom where the staff can see one another. Having some regular feedback sessions to ensure the team are all ok is very important, and some fun team events such as a weekly quiz really helps to keep everyone motivated.
Remote-Friendly or Remote-First?
Personally, I think remote friendly as this allows people to have some choice. Not everyone will want to be remote all the time and many people like a mix where they get to see their colleagues. This could be achieved with a co-working space where the team can meet but saves the costs of a permanent office.
How do you keep remote work visible?
This can be hard to maintain and it is important the progress of the work is feedback regularly so everyone knows how the work is progressing. Regular team meetings are essential and often a quick catch up at the start and end of each day for 10 minutes works well to keep abreast of the work status. For project work, an online planning tool such as Asana will allow the team to all see the progress of the work. It also allows tasks to be assigned to different people so it helps to monitor the progress of the work.
It is important too that documents are shared between the teams and an online, cloud based document management system will allow central storage – such as Google Drive. Here information can be shared with different people and this will allow for collaboration and review of work completed.
How do you maintain and create a company culture when working remotely?
This is tougher and it can be easily overlooked. To create a strong culture, you need to be clear of your mission and your values. These are core to the business and must be communicated with the team. If they have not been agreed upon then have the team involved in creating them. Through regular team calls and emails, we can maintain the company culture. Also, although we are remote, it is still possible to have training and team events and I think this is important that these are maintained and are regular occurrences. Also, team appraisals should still be undertaken when we are working remotely and this helps to ensure that the culture is upheld as the key values should be addressed each time when setting goals for the individual.
Where is your favourite place to work from when working remotely?
This has to be my office. It is all set up for me and I have all the technology installed, and is also quiet and away from the rest of the house. I would like to add a standing desk as I do find that I work better when I have the option to move between standing and sitting. I have also found that I sit for longer when I am remote than when I am in the office.
A big thank you to Caroline for her honest answers and insights into Counting Clouds Cambridgeshire. Make sure you check out Counting Clouds Cambridgeshire.