#30DaysRemote: Lessons learned, overworking & underworking whilst remote & the way forward — Our CEO, HR & Admin Share Their Experiences (Part 2)
This article is a continuation and final part of our two-part series, sharing the experiences of our CEO, HR and Admin on working remotely. Read part one here.
- Sena Amevor: Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Melissa Kumah: Human Resource Lead (HR)
- Emelia Djanie: Administrative Executive (Admin)
What are some of the lessons that you have learnt from this experiment that you would want to share with others?
Emelia: Work is evolving. It’s changing from its traditional way of doing things. I believe that after this pandemic, a lot will change about work irrespective of your department or role. That means that individuals have to adjust to the new norm to avoid being laid off. Companies can learn from the pandemic and acquire laptops and other tools that can help them work from anywhere and not just the office environment. QodeHub was proactive in doing that which has paid off now. So I believe other companies need to take a cue to be proactive, it is key. Also, CEOs and managers should be open to advice and suggestions from employees. We have experienced how creating this avenue for employees to share their ideas has helped QodeHub to advance in many ways.
Sena: Working remotely is the best decision we made for our company during this crisis. Though we needed a couple of days to adjust to working from home, it didn’t take too long, neither did it affect productivity. I believe that unless your work has to do with physical activities, you should be able to execute all your activities remotely. You don’t have to make your remote work process complex. Social media has become a part of us and people use them almost every day for communication. Basic tools such as WhatsApp can be used for collaboration. Almost everyone uses WhatsApp and it is easier to use than Zoom. Leverage on what is readily available to you to make you productive. I would urge people and other organisations to always focus on where they want to go or what they want to achieve and find the best means to get there. Before going remote at QodeHub, we considered how to still produce excellent results working remotely. We looked through the options available to us and worked with them. So I will urge other organisations to be proactive and adventurous. You have to be willing to take the risk. Oftentimes, people forget that the higher the risk the higher the gains. If you don’t face the challenge now, you are only postponing your suffering.
What happens to other employees, for instance, the janitors who work at QodeHub but can’t work from home because their work can only be done in the office?
Sena: Well, to be realistic the physical environment is what gives the janitors the opportunity to provide their services. Unfortunately, we have moved from that environment temporarily and sadly, we can’t create anything for them to do remotely. However, they are still part of the QodeHub family and perform their duties from time to time to make sure the office is still in great condition whilst we are home. As such, they continue to benefit from the company. That has been possible because other departments are still running.
How do you manage employees to avoid the tendency of overworking or underworking?
Melissa: Overworking and underworking is relative. It’s hard to walk to a staff member and say you are overworking and need to stop. There are instances where I’ve noticed that some of our staff are really stressed and I make the conscious effort to remind them to take a rest. Also, I like to measure employees by the results they produce at the end of the day. Therefore, in a remote setting, I would rather an employee reach out to me to complain that they are stressed from overworking because what I may consider overworking may not be the same for everyone. At the end of the day, we don’t need employees to work from sunrise to sunset but to be healthy enough to continue the next day. Underworking is much easier to track. Employees that are unable to meet deadlines and submit deliverables will be considered to be underworking.
Sena: How do you know if somebody is being productive from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm? Remote work cannot simply adopt the same measures from the traditional office environment. There have been days that I have not been productive. There have also been days that I worked beyond what I was supposed to do for the day. Thus, the focus should be on the end game. The focus should be on the production line in terms of the objective, and what you want to achieve, coupled with effective and efficient collaboration and communication. The next thing to consider is the outcome. This is what can be used to measure the amount of work that is done. Ignoring these makes it possible for employees to overwork or underwork. That’s why at QodeHub, for every project, we first develop a strategy and plan and work accordingly.
Will you advise companies that are considering remote work to set flexible or restrictive guidelines for employees during the transitioning period?
Sena: We developed a guideline to help us move away from a particular way of doing things to adjust to a new way. We chose to be firm with the guidelines for this period to make our journey smooth and successful. Now, we have experimented with this for almost 30 days so we know better. Soon, we will eliminate some guidelines and focus on achieving our objectives. For instance, we now understand that the most important thing is to be online. So whether an employee is in their bedroom or washroom while they collaborate on a project does not matter. What matters is that they are available online.
Are you satisfied with the performance of employees currently?
Sena: Yes. Very satisfied. Employees have been very cooperative during this period. I haven’t had any complaints about poor internet connectivity, or a laptop getting damaged. Everyone has been productive. Within this same period, we have given the company great publicity with our #30DaysRemote campaign. Personally, I have completed more pitch documents for products within these 30-days than I ever have. I see that as a great success. Our next step is to review the 30-days experiment and make adjustments to our remote work guidelines for a more flexible approach moving forward.
Unfortunately, in this same period, other organisations have become handicapped and are still trying to figure out the way forward for them. My advice to them is to learn from our 30-days experiment to help them make the best decisions. Visit qodehub.com to learn more about us.
If you missed the first part of this interview, you can check it out here.