The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do business. It forced employees out of offices and into their homes. Teams no longer congregate in conference rooms for discussions, but ping each other on Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. Delays in communication occur when children require help with schoolwork or dogs need to be walked. Workflows that functioned seamlessly in-person are no longer effective when dependent on technology and tools which don’t meet the needs of remote team members. The result is that in many organizations employees are overwhelmed and struggling to get their work done.
Even after the pandemic is over, organizations will continue to grapple with these issues. Many are planning to continue to work remotely and stop paying for office space. Others are developing hybrid models so they can easily expand their teams geographically. In either case, they need to determine which best practices, systems, and tools will allow their employees to manage their workflows efficiently and effectively.
Communication Best Practices
Develop Communication Standards. In any organization, there exist two forms of communication. Synchronous communication describes conversations that happen in real-time, with a back and forth between both parties. Asynchronous communication is the opposite. It describes messages that don’t require immediate attention but still matter. It’s important to differentiate between whether messages are synchronous or asynchronous and establish what the expectations are for employees to respond to each. Standards should also be defined for how they will let others know when they are not available. For example, if team members live in different time zones, how should communication between them in the mornings and evenings work?
Maintain Work-Life Balance. Communication standards should include guidelines for responding to messages before the employee’s workday begins or after it ends. If employees can’t maintain a healthy work-life balance, their work will suffer as well as their attitude and motivation. It may seem straightforward, but with communication as easy as a click of a button, lines can be crossed very easily. Although they may not mind answering a few messages early in the morning or late at night, be sure team members know the organization respects their time and enables them to protect it.
Communicate Confidently. Once you’ve developed and documented standards for how your team communicates remotely, it’s time to implement them. The standards you’ve created should allow your team to send and respond to messages freely and confidently, without fear of unmet expectations or missed deadlines. Things may not go perfectly at first, so be sure to allow time for a learning curve. If employees are concerned about not communicating the right way or don’t understand what to do, under communication will result.
How Digital Asset Management (DAM) Can Help
Effectively managing and accessing digital assets is one of the most important issues to resolve when a team works remotely. Organizations that store their assets on servers located in their office buildings were at a great disadvantage when their teams suddenly moved off-site. Since remote or hybrid work is likely to be permanent in many organizations, this problem demands a solution.
The best remedy is to implement a cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) system. Moving assets into the cloud increases their value since they can be easily organized, shared, accessed, and utilized across the entire organization regardless of where employees work. Below are some points to keep in mind when selecting a DAM system:
- Marry Your Data, Date Your Platform. When purchasing a platform there are many factors to consider. One of the most important is to ensure that if you change platforms your metadata and organization can be moved easily.
- Standardize and Document Workflow. The foundation of any effective, efficient workflow is comprehensive documented standards. documented standards have even more importance in the context of physically separated teams unable to immediately ask questions or reference each other’s work. What kind of metadata goes on assets before they are uploaded? How are they named? Where do they go? What are the approved upload and download methods?
- Focus on a Single Source of Truth. Decentralized organizational knowledge breeds mistakes. Remote teams are bastions of decentralized knowledge, so it’s important to give employees a single reference point from which to pull the information they need to do their jobs well. A DAM platform and documented standards are prime examples of this.
Feel like you need help organizing your remote team? Have you had your digital asset workflows turned on their head as team members moved off-site? Stacks can help! Contact us today to get our expert thoughts on getting your new processes set up.