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COVID-19 has shifted how we work in permanent ways. More people are working from home full- or part-time. We believe this is good for organizations. It’s an opportunity to enhance culture, provide more options for recruiting talent, and help individuals achieve a better life balance. And for many businesses, this shift has become mandatory because top talent will likely consider a different workplace should a work-from-home (WFH) option not be available.

For years, JMARK has used a remote-work strategy for many employees, because we know that talent is more important than location. However, some organizations struggle to figure out how to maintain quality work performance and accountability with remote workers. Below are four of the best ways to ensure your organization has the accountability necessary to work in a remote or hybrid environment successfully.

1. IT Design: The first step in laying the foundation for successful remote work is to design your IT so that the necessary tools, applications, and resources are available to users no matter where they are. In order to maintain security and safety for the business, this must be done by an IT professional. Application delivery, VoIP phone systems, file sharing, forms, templates, and documents all need to be configured to provide high levels of productivity as well as maintain security, so there is no data or intellectual property loss. This will involve setting up a virtual private network (VPN) and possibly a remote desktop environment and a file-sharing solution like OneDrive, Dropbox, or other cloud-based solutions. Encryption should also be used on every mobile device to help protect information should the device be lost or stolen.

2. Collaboration Tools: As a part of supporting and driving accountability in a WFH environment, each organization needs to select the tool (or tools) it will use to hold video calls, one on-one meetings, team meetings, and full-company gatherings. At JMARK, we chose Zoom and Microsoft Teams after testing multiple options. Consistently using the same platform allows everyone to know how to jump on a call when needed and does not inhibit users from being productive. Face-to-face interactions are critical for accountability and relationship building. In addition to video calls, we highly recommend a collaboration platform such as Workplace from Meta. This will help your users know how and where to find necessary information about what is happening in the organization, including information specific to a given location, division, or team. Company notices, events, and activities can be easily shared with office staff as well as frontline workers. There are also integrations to record and maintain meeting recordings. To find out more about Workplace, check out this link:

The next tool every organization needs to have in place is a chat application. We use Workplace from Meta for this, but there are many options available. Chat is critical to high productivity and accountability for any organization running in a hybrid environment. In fact, in today’s work environment, this remains true even if everyone is in the office. Chat allows for quick communication for simple matters and will help ensure people are available during their respective work hours. Leaders can use chat to easily check in with their team, answer questions, and resolve issues.

Along with a chat application, it is also essential to have good calendar management. With Microsoft Outlook’s calendar sharing, each user can check a teammate’s availability to make sure they are not interrupting them. Clarity goes hand-in-hand with accountability.

3. Company and Team Cadence: The next crucial step is to design a routine or schedule, so every employee knows what is expected and what is occurring, even when not in the office. For JMARK’s teams, this routine most often involves a daily morning standup of about 10-15 minutes. The agenda varies but usually consists of each team member giving a quick summary of accomplishments from the day before, sharing areas of focus for the current day, and identifying any impediments to progress. This helps the entire team stay aware of the work being performed and can help resolve any issues. There may also be a review of metrics to ensure productivity is as expected or better. These meetings should be structured so that they can be successfully performed no matter where people are located. Someone should take notes (a rotating responsibility) so that if someone misses a standup, they can catch up on important information. Additionally, divisions, departments, and full-company gatherings should each have their own cadence, using the right tools to support in-person and remote attendance.

4. Work Production Tools: To create accountability, each organization should have tools in place that ensure work is getting done and progress/outcomes can be measured during one-on-one meetings. For JMARK, this is done through our ticket management system, project management tools (such as Trello), accounting tools, and other applications that vary by team. By listing out work to be done with a timeline of outcomes and then measuring production against expectations, everyone is aligned for success. Additional tools that can help an organization measure performance include reports from phone systems (inbound and outbound), CRM systems, business intelligence tools, dashboards, and more. The objective is to set clear expectations, have the tools in place to record production, and then be able to report on the outcomes.

Additionally, when accountability is maintained through a team environment, individuals do not have to be “managed” or feel like they are under a microscope. Good people want autonomy and should be given the freedom to do their best work. With the right tools in place, this can be achieved, and your organization can ensure high productivity.

If you would like to learn more about how JMARK can help you with any of the solutions mentioned above, please get in touch with us here:

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