HAPPY PR is a small but powerful team, and we’re used to having 6-7 of us working together in an open office setting and collaborating often. We normally get to visit with some clients, contractors, and our vendors face-to-face.
Luckily, our entire communication cadence and operations were set-up to work remotely.
So while our team’s day-to-day has changed a lot, we experienced a relatively smooth transition, thanks in part to internal processes and project management tools that we already use.
These are our top three tips to ease the transition to working remotely:
1- Establish a Communication Cadence
Establishing strong communication with your team is always important, but now it’s more necessary than ever.
The HAPPY team has a regular communication cadence that looks like this:
- A weekly huddle every Monday morning where we review each account, share goals for client wins, and make company announcements
- Daily morning huddles where we share client momentum, wins, and roadblocks
- Weekly one-on-one meetings with our operations manager to ensure each team member feels supported and in momentum
- Weekly reports are written by each team member at the end of every Friday with a rundown of what was accomplished during the week. Those reports are then read by all team members so we are all up-to-date on every HAPPY account.
These meetings have already proven an effective way to ensure the team is all on the same page, but they have become especially necessary while we’re all working from home. Another thing that you’ll need to consider whilst working remotely is your home office. Equipping our home offices whith office supplies and appropriate furniture seems to be a good way of going about creating such a space. Creating a productive workspace for ourselves in our own homes has proved to be useful in getting us to stay focused when surrounded by the distractions of our personal lives. You could also try and find furniture and other supplies that will benefit your home office and work productivity. For example, buying a whiteboard from somewhere like Writey, might be useful for jotting down notes from the meeting or brainstorming some new ideas.
2- Determine Metrics for Measuring Success
A great way to stay on track while working remotely is ensuring your team has clear and measurable goals to follow – not only for clients or customers, but also internally.
It’s important to have clear long term goals, short term goals, and tactics to accomplish those, especially in an agency setting.
For example, our monthly and weekly meetings are a great time to go over monthly and weekly goals, respectively, for HAPPY PR and our clients. However, tactical items and to-dos are tracked in Basecamp to help us stay accountable to our goals.
Feedback on how team members are accomplishing goals is also a must. Take a look at what Barret Brooks, COO of ConvertKit, which has a remote team of 50 and no office, has to say about this:
“Managers have the responsibility to give ongoing, direct, meaningful feedback to their teammates. We practice radical candor and it’s important that we use it as a tool on an ongoing basis so we don’t get out of sync.”
3- Use Tools for Project Management
We use a few tools to simplify project management, communicate more effectively, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Some are free and some we pay for, but they’re well worth the cost because they help HAPPY PR run as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.
Zoom is our favorite video call software, and it offers both a free version and a paid version. This is where all of our remote meetings take place, both internal and client meetings.
With lots of different clients and several team members working on different projects simultaneously, Basecamp is integral to our project management at HAPPY PR.
Everhour (or any time tracking tool)
Everhour is compatible with Basecamp, so we can track billable hours down to the specific task we’re working on. It auto-generates reports for time spent on each client and helps us stay on track with each retainer.
Google Drive is where we house most of our documents – it’s free, perfect for collaboration, and pretty straightforward to use.
Sprout Social and Later
Social media scheduling tools help us work ahead of time for our own social media, as well as clients’ social media accounts. However, during extenuating circumstances like the ongoing COVID-19 virus, it’s essential to revisit previously planned content to ensure you’re not publishing posts that will make you sound out of touch or have an inappropriate tone.
Make sure to double-check your posts before they go live in times like these because things are changing almost constantly.
Ultimately, we know firsthand that the transition to working remotely involves trial and error. Russell Brunson, CEO of ClickFunnels, sums it up perfectly:
“This journey is filled with ups and downs, trials and errors, and failing over and over again.. but without those things, wouldn’t be prepared for our bigger mission… Don’t give up when you fail because there’s something there you’re supposed to learn. There’s something there that’s supposed to increase your capacity and prepare you for something that’s coming.”
We also want to acknowledge all the people who don’t have the option to work from home, like healthcare workers and those in customer service, people who are facing low hours or unemployment, and local businesses that are struggling due to social distancing. Some of these local businesses are our clients, and we’re doing everything we can to support them during this challenging time.