6 min read

Stableton Home Office Guide

Vinzent Zerner

Mar 18, 2020

Regardless of who we are or where we live, the coronavirus pandemic is impacting every aspect of our individual and professional lives. Our primary duty now is to be safe, to avoid spreading COVID-19, and to care for those around you who need help.

Regardless of who we are or where we live, the coronavirus pandemic is impacting every aspect of our individual and professional lives.

As we settle into the new normal, please find below some info on how Stableton deals with the impact of the coronavirus, tips on how to master working remotely from those who have perfected this skill, and selected useful online destinations that you can periodically revisit to stay abreast of the pandemic.

Finally, as food for thought for the time when our brains shift from self-preservation back into making plans for the future, we hint at investment strategies that we believe can deliver performance and protect capital in markets like these.

Stableton business continuity is secured

Stableton’s business model is digital, and so is its infrastructure. As digital natives, our systems have been remotely hosted from day one of our company’s existence. As a team, we are used to working and calling virtual team huddles from wherever business takes us. In short, nothing has fundamentally changed in how we conduct our daily activities due to COVID-19.

Maybe with one exception: Since we temporarily sent ourselves into home office mode last week, we are missing the banter around our coffee machine. From a governance perspective, every critical function in our company has been based on a four-eyes principle. This means that even if someone is temporarily unavailable to perform their function, there is always a backup. And as of now, fortunately, no one has been personally affected by the coronavirus. So much from our end.

Home office – useful tips so you can hit the ground running As mentioned above, remote work and home office are an integral part of our business model. Under the link below we have summarized what we consider to be our top tips and resources to get you started quickly. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need specific advice. We are more than happy to share our experience.

The pandemic known as “COVID-19” not only affects people in their everyday lives but also and especially affects companies, struggling to maintain their status quo despite the enormous challenges of this time. As a consequence, many companies are encouraging their employees to work from home, collaborating in virtual teams. But how do employees manage to design their home office optimally? We are going to explore the following three topics: personal, business and technical.

Personal factors

1. Maintain routines 

The biggest concern that many companies are expressing regarding home office is the feared lack of productivity, as one can be distracted too easily at home. Furthermore, people tend to work longer hours, in a more disorganized way than they may otherwise do at the office. Routines are, therefore, essential to successful work in the home office. Keep an eye on your working hours and maintain good habits such as having coffee breaks, lunch breaks, or even short pauses for social interaction (even if only via chat or telephone).

2. Self-management 

Disciplined self-management is a must when working from home. Rule number 1: Pyjamas off! You have to create a productive environment and pyjamas are not conducive to this. The home office also needs a professional working atmosphere. It begins with the place in which you create your home office. Even if it’s the kitchen table, how you create your space matters, and you should lay everything out so that you can work productively, meaning the essential tools are available at hand. 

Employees in the home office have to deal intensively with their strengths and weaknesses. But if they are well organized, even in times of coronavirus, they can achieve just as much at home as in the office. Everyone has to decide how they can work best. Silence at one’s home can become overwhelming for some people. A playlist dedicated to working on Spotify or Amazon Music with relaxing or motivating music can be very helpful to keep focus. 

Business factors

3. Communication, motivation and team spirit 

The interaction within a team is essential. Communicating with each other is the central building block for working together and delivering results. Studies show that employees are most productive when they spend two days in the home office and spend the rest of the week in the office. Unfortunately, the current situation with the coronavirus does not make this possible. Companies, therefore, need to motivate their employees more and work together to maintain team spirit. 

Office grapevine or gossip at the water cooler must be replicated virtually. You can make virtual appointments with your colleagues for coffee in Zoom, Hangouts, or Skype and talk about the current day and tasks. In this way, the routine is maintained, and the feeling of belonging together grows when you are in the same situation with other people.

4. Define objectives

Clear objectives are also needed at home. Companies need to provide clear guidelines for the home office and be available to answer questions. It must not happen that communication about project progress and goals falls asleep just because you are not in the same place. Moreover, employees must be able to communicate clearly and set goals for how they can work most efficiently on a personal level. The virtual team makes clear structures and defined weekly goals more necessary than ever.

Technical factors

5. Communication in a virtual team

Most companies only have a classic office package installed, which only supports virtual collaboration to a limited extent. However, especially in the home office, it can sometimes not be enough to just work for yourself.

There are those moments in everyday working life when you need a quick answer from colleagues or superiors. To have a faster channel than e-mail, many teams, therefore, use solutions such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to quickly exchange information among colleagues and keep track of specific topics and projects.

If a face-to-face conversation is necessary, you can also use additional programs such as Skype, Zoom, or Hangouts to search for a personal chat.

It is important here to check the technology beforehand, plug in the sound and headsets early, and also write to the other participants in the team, shortly before a spontaneous call to give them time for their preparations. *

Our DNA is digital, which means we are remote-ready, and you can expect the same service and quality you are used to.  But it requires some effort because let’s face it; most meetings have always sucked as there is often little to zero accountability for engagement. 

Therefore, here are some additional tips for establishing more engagement:

The responsibility rule

The most significant engagement threat in virtual meetings is allowing team members to unconsciously take the role of observer. Many already happily defined their position this way when they received the meeting invite. To counteract this implicit decision, create an experience of shared responsibility early on. Create an opportunity for them to take meaningful responsibility. This is best done using the next rule.*

The nowhere to hide rule

If everyone is responsible, then no one feels responsible. Side-step this in your meeting by giving people tasks that they can actively engage in so there is nowhere to hide. Describe a problem that can be solved rapidly, assign people to groups of two or three (max). Give them a tool with which to communicate with one another (video conference, Slack channel, messaging platform, audio breakouts). If you’re using a tool that allows breakout groups, use them liberally.*

The MVP rule

Nothing disengages a group more reliably than assaulting them with slide after slide of mind-numbing data organized in never-ending bullet points. It doesn’t matter how smart the group is, if your goal is engagement, you must mix facts and stories. We encourage people to create the Minimum Viable PowerPoint (MVP) deck they need. In other words, select the smallest amount of data you need to inform and engage the group. Don’t add a single slide more.*

Get remote ready

Stableton infrastructure is based on a state-of-the-art digital framework. We help and support our clients to set up a completely digital remote infrastructure. Just contact us.

We are happy to contact you directly.

Learn effective collaboration techniques to get your company ready for remote work.

    *References
    Hale, J., & Grenny, J. (2020, March 9). How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-to-get-people-to-actually-participate-in-virtual-meetings
    Pinker, A. (2020). 10 Tipps für mehr Produktivität im Home Office. Medialist Innovation Group. www.pinker.digital

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