Katie Hutchinson, President/CEO of KHIT Consulting, wraps up our Working from Home series with her perspective of leading a remote team.
Even before the event-that-will-not-be-named, KHIT Consulting was a remote company. My office is in my home and those who work with me are in their homes, spread out over Southern Indiana, Louisville and Kansas. Those amazing people also wrote blog posts about working from home, and they set the bar pretty high.
I write from the perspective of a leader. When you work in an office, leading those who work there, you can always pop in, visit, know at a glance if the person looks to be on-task, although can you really ever know. When everyone is scattered, working on their own devices from their own homes on their own set hours, it’s more difficult to pop in.
I am very blessed in several ways: my people are amazing, driven and self-starting. They all have work, get it done and come back for more. I could not ask for better colleagues. Additionally, our work is project-based. There are specific tasks and scopes and hours that all line up and are assigned to people. It’s easy to see who has been working, just look at the outputs.
Another thing that helps is using G Suite. With Google, you can review edits, time spent in documents, etc. KHIT uses Google for project management, invoicing, accounts receivable and account payable. There have been times when someone was billing for hours and wasn’t producing. It was easy to review work done with Google. It was my least favorite moment as a business owner.
If you are leading from home, and weren’t before, try these tips:
- Establish a process of communication (emails are not meant to be checked every hour; there are other forms of communication that work well for quick questions or issues that need immediate attention)
- Establish routines and platforms for collaboration (Again, KHIT uses G Suite, but we also implement Office 365 and there are a ton of standalone apps/websites that support collaboration)
- Encourage your staff to set a schedule (working from home may look different that 9-5, although the getting ready and travel is taken out of a work routine, other challenges will arise for your staff)
- Make sure your company has strong technology support and security (Security from home is different than office security; consider a product like KnowBe4 to train staff on phishing and other security risks)
- Create events (virtual or social distanced) for socializing (small talk around the water cooler is part of being part of a team)
- Trust is so important: foster, build and maintain trust (Check out this article for tips)
KHIT may always be remote and it’s always changing as we work together to be better, more efficient and happier.