Emily Noble is Anglin PR’s digital marketing specialist, and like the rest of us, her work day changed dramatically when COVID-19 became wide-spread. During that time, Emily conquered the changes occurring at our firm, and she faced some personal changes as well. Newly married to a member of the military, Emily and her husband came to Oklahoma thanks to the U.S. Air Force. As many military families frequently experience, the couple received several base assignment changes and had to move from Oklahoma City to Enid to Altus, with another impending move to Florida in the next year. The driving distance to and from Anglin PR was impossible, but because our whole team is now versed in remote work, we knew we’d be able to keep Emily on staff! Her work as a digital marketing specialist is invaluable to the team and her transition to permanent remote work has been seamless. Having a full-time remote staffer under any other circumstances would have been a big change for Anglin PR. However, since we’ve all been working from home for several months, we’ve been able to work out the kinks. Emily shares her experience with this internal culture shift at Anglin PR and ways she’s been been able to adapt: At Anglin PR, we pride ourselves on our in-person, collaborative nature as a team. Our offices don’t even have doors! It was typical for us to talk to each other over the open rafter style walls. I could often be heard calling over the wall for my office neighbor and our digital marketing manager, Caitlin Dennis or carrying my computer into another office for quick feedback or a brainstorming session. But as our team began working from home, we had to adapt to a new workflow and learn how to collaborate remotely.
Now, instead of calling across the wall for Caitlin, I send her a message on Slack. Instead of carrying my laptop into another coworker’s office, I use Zoom to share my screen. I’ve had to adapt my definition of collaboration, but it’s really paid off both for myself and the team. We’ve adjusted and learned that we can work efficiently, collaboratively and creatively while being in different places. It’s given us more confidence that we’re able to make remote work an option in our work environment. It also means that I will be able to stay on the team even though I will be moving out of state! I’m so honored and happy that I can continue working at Anglin PR. Having the programs and experience in place to make remote work successful is a truly unexpected bright side of COVID-19.
A few simple guidelines have helped us overcome some hurdles with communication, time tracking, team cohesion and continuity of client relationships. The following tips are specifically for teams transitioning into some form of permanent remote work:
Communicate to your clients and customers early. Make sure they understand what will change and how their communication and working relationship will continue. For Emily, many of our clients trust her with critical parts of their businesses, and we want them all to be comfortable with these changes.
Decide together on preferred communication channels and stick to them. Searching for messages, tasks lists and documents between several different platforms sucks time away from your day. For us it’s worked best to do all internal conversations through Slack, track time and tasks through Asana, have weekly group meetings via Zoom and conduct client communications primarily through email, phone and Zoom.
Work through issues or problems by phone or video chat. For us, every time a client has an unexpected need, or we are suffering from tech issues, we prefer to talk directly. It mimics the way we would pop into each other's offices, and it’s quicker than typing out detailed messages about a problem.
Edit your company policies. For those going permanently remote, some policies and procedures may not be applicable anymore. Set aside time to ensure your remote employees aren’t falling through any policy gaps.
Respect your work time and set healthy boundaries for yourself. Keep consistent in/out time at your home office, and let your co-workers know when they have your full attention.
Be intentional about your environment. Create a comfortable work space away from the high traffic areas of your house, and keep getting dressed as if you’re going into an office. If you don’t have a lot of spare space, this may require some rearranging or even adaptations like white noise machines to drown out distractions.
Regular check-ins with clients and coworkers are critical. Make that time intentional by sticking to an agenda and making expectations clear for both managers and employees. Our whole team meets (at least!) twice a week, and we have regular one-on-one and group chats on projects. We suggest video chatting whenever possible. Seeing each other regularly helps remote work feel a little more normal.
Make time to keep up with your colleagues. Anglin PR is very collaborative and a team oriented organization, and since we can’t eat lunch with our colleagues now, we host occasional after-work happy hours - no shop talk allowed. We also have a “random” discussion thread for interesting news to chat about, personal news, etc. It is very much a part of our company culture to be more than our job titles to one another, and we plan to work to maintain that culture.