As CEO at Incognito Worldwide, a subsidiary of Inicia Incorporated, I’ve been working remotely since 2000. So when COVID-19 hit the USA and companies were scrambling, we’d been prepared for years. Here are some tips.
There is no doubt that working remotely vs. in-office working both have their benefits and drawbacks. For twenty years I had to work from a central location during my time in the logistics business. Coordinating freight transportation around the country on behalf of clients required centralized information and spur-of-the-moment adjustments. This was before teh Internet changed life as we know it, and we were also managing 250,000 SF of warehousing at the same time. So we had to be there. Our team benefitted from being in the same place and able to communicate at a moment’s notice. At the same time, being indoors with fluorescent lighting drained me.
When I began to build software and marketing teams and offer digital-based services to clients, we had to rethink our approach.
My business partner Mario and I had established our technology team in Buenos Aires Argentina. But then while in India for a project, I also setup a marketing gency in Bangalore. And even in Bangalore, while the majority of our team worked out of a 5,000 SF office, myself and a few others often worked out of the cafe on the corner.
Because I worked remotely, while Mario, Kiran and other prefered the office, you might envision that I was always in jeans and tee shirts. I as, and am, most of the time. But it doesn’t mean I never put on a jacket when attending business functions.
It took years of trial and error for me to be about to operate completely remote; oversee our teams on three different continents, and accommodate clients around the world. It was evidennt that communication and management technology would be a core foundation we needed to develop to operate effectively.
So our shortlist of platform tools would have to include:
Billing and accounting
Sales and marketing campaigns
Video conferencing, and
Team management — planning, scheduling, and progress management
Working remotely allowed us to enjoy a flexible schedule. The office is mentally better for some while being free to sit where ever one chooses was better for others. Some days I’d work from a cafe; other days from the beach. Flexibility also meant that people could work around their daily lives, rather than living around their work lives.
Our India team would take a company working vacation every year to Goa, India, where we’d work three hours a day, and then enjoy free time the rest of the day (as displayed when we were bating on the Arabian Sea).
During COVID-19 many companies were ‘forced’ to adopt a remote workplace. There are mental health implications that may affect some. Working remotely can be less social, as you don’t get to start your day with colleagues. Not going out to lunch, or taking a coffee break together and catching up on personal lives. Still, while in Cancun, Mexico, I’ve met a few foreigners with that I’ve since established friendships. I suspect those friendships will last long after COVID-19 is gone and I move to my next nesting spot.
However, be aware that embracing remote working also means defining schedules, and setting goals and priorities. You’re no longer together to communicate new thoughts, questions, or suggestions. So you need to hone a structured pipeline to manage work and ideas.
If you’d like to re-tool your company to be more effective as a remote-based company, we can help. Reach out and let’s discuss. We assist with steering you to the best-of-bread online tools and can assist in the setup and deployment.
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