Primer for Working from Home

Due to the unfortunate situation caused by the Corona Virus around the world, Apollo Finvest is moving to work from home starting 16th March. We are doing this keeping in mind the health and safety of our team, their families and the potential unbearable strain it could have on our country's healthcare system if appropriate measures are not taken by us all. We will review the situation every week and decide the next steps accordingly.

This is uncharted territory and we are bound to learn how best to navigate these waters further along the timeline. For now, below is the memo we shared with the team. In case you or your company are already or are thinking of working remotely, feel free to pick up points relevant to you all.

1) Have a steady and fast internet connection

2) Install Asana and Google Chat on your mobile phones and laptops/computers 

3) Add your office emails on your phone. We are a startup and need to move quickly. We need to be available as and when required. Mobile is the fastest way to check and respond to emails on the go

4) Respond on chat within a few minutes. It's important to feel connected and be available when people are trying to connect with you. Being responsive on chat and Asana helps establish that

  • Let your colleagues know if you're going to be unavailable for 

- Taking an interview 

- Going on a call/discussion 

- Taking a break 

5) Remote work can make you feel unmotivated. To avoid that

  • Allocate a space in your house to yourself where you can work without being distracted or disturbed by other members in the house 

  • Get dressed in the right attire for work

  • Have a routine. When the workday ends, have a change of clothes and possibly switch your location at home to help yourself wind down 

6) One of the biggest issues which can crop up due to remote work is not knowing what the other person is doing. Over-communication here is better than under communication

  • Include your phone number in your email signatures

  • Type clearly when communicating through chat/messages/emails. Avoid short forms and double-check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

- This will help people get in touch with you directly on call without scrambling to find your number 

  • Use Google hangouts video for speaking to each other and sharing screens so that communication is smooth - Avoid this only when the internet connection is weak and prevents video sharing 

  • Use headphones on video calls. Microphones and speakers on most windows laptops are not great.

  • Communicate quickly and generously

- Pick up the phone and call people

- Better yet, video call team members on hangouts to feel more connected

- Do this as often as possible and needed. This can be done communicating an update, discussing some points or just a general catchup

  • Share progress frequently on the relevant chat groups

- Remotely working means it's always better to overshare information about what you're working on, what is getting completed and where you are stuck

- It’s important everyone feels as connected as possible. Sharing information and progress openly helps 

  • Share updates with partners more often 

- Us working remotely can make our partners feel that their work may be impacted and slow them down. We should share updates with them as often as possible through emails and calls to make them feel comfortable about us working remotely and give them confidence that work is continuing with the same momentum 

  • Send formal emails to everyone (team members and partners) after speaking to them on calls or Whatsapp 

- It is crucial we avoid any confusion due to lack of communication

- Mark all relevant folks in cc on emails. Again over-communication is better than under communication 

- Unless there is a formal email communicating something, it can lead to confusion in the future

  • Use Asana extensively 

- Every time you assign a task or ask someone to do anything, put it on asana

- Assign the task to them and add relevant people as followers for that task 

- If that task is assigned to you, put comments on that task whenever there are any updates on it

- Put these comments as and when there are updates

- This helps information reach all relevant stakeholders as fast as possible so they can take the next step of relevant actions  

- Use Asana as your personal to-do list. Assign tasks to yourself so you do not forget to do something

- Prioritise your tasks on Asana. If something is not clear, speak to your lead and seek their help to get better clarity and a sense of priorities

- This will help you start your day with a clear list of tasks and managing your time efficiently

  • Use Google Calendar 

- Use calendar invites for both internal and external meetings 

- Share your calendars with everyone on the team so people can see each other's schedules and plan discussions/meetings accordingly 

7) Managers and Leaders

  • Have virtual stand-ups at set times during the day

  • Have clear KPI’s/metrics you are monitoring to define success and expectations of your team

  • Monitor this at a regular frequency (daily/weekly depending on your metric)

  • Spend extra time in making sure your team members are on the same page as you and have a clear sense of what they are working towards and why it's important. You are only as good as the motivation levels of your team

  • If you see performance levels dropping, speak to your team member/members and understand how you can help. Remote work can be difficult, it is our responsibility to help people through this and ensure it does not affect the company's performance