Tips On Working From Home (eCommerce and IT Professionals)
Thursday, April 9, 2020Lindsay Hampson
eCommerce and IT professionals: Hot tips for working remotely (thanks for your help BOLD Commerce, TaxJar and eBridge Connections!)
Your cat sits on your keyboard. Your dog barks during your calls. Your kids appear in the background of Zoom calls. Your internet is shoty during your weekly video call with your team. Your partner’s keyboard typing is loud enough for you to file for divorce. You miss the printer that you fought with daily. You wish you grabbed the mouse. Your neck is stiff. Homeschooing looks like this: your oldest teaching your youngest how to get on YouTube.
All that said, we are the lucky ones.
Working from home during these trying times is a privilege. Remote IT and eCommerce professionals are grateful for their jobs. They get to help businesses move online or handle influxes in online orders.
We asked TaxJar and BoldCommerce how their teams are fairing in the age of WFH.
Bold Commerce just moved 300+ employees to remote work in light of current events. TaxJar has been been a 100% remote company for its entire existence. Team eBridge Connections has been in the office for the last 25+ years, just switched to work from home for the time being.
We just connected with Darcy Boles - Director of Culture and Innovation - at TaxJar.
We asked the question: any tips for working from home as a team?
Here are their tips:
- Above all else, trust your team
- Adopt the right collaboration tools
- Communicate routinely and effectively in written form
- Connect often
- Be ready to love working remotely
Funnily enough, they recently wrote a blog on their website, following this same storyline. If you want to reach more on these tips, you can read it here
"For me, what I love most about working remotely is the freedom it gives me to do my best work. TaxJar has been remote for over 7 years so working remote is really second nature for us as a team. I love the flexibility I have to work in my garden, in my campervan at the beach, or at my desk at home with my pup warming my feet. Since personally transitioning to remote work 2 years ago, I feel more productive and collaborative with my teammates than ever before, even though we’re all hundreds of miles apart. We know remote work is new to many of you, and TaxJar is always here to share our learnings, you can follow our tips on twitter (@lifeattaxjar)." ~Darcy
Thanks Darcy for the tips and advice. There are absolutely some lovely things about working from home. Some in the form of minimal distraction and some in the form of a dog at your feet!
Another friendly face in the eCommerce partner sphere, is a great partner of ours: Bold Commerce
. When asked how to keep productivity hight while employees work from home, Jay Myers - Co-Founder - via Amy in Marketing had some great nuggets for us.
Here are their tips for individuals:
- Schedule time to check email and slack and create large blocks of time for focused work. The buzz of notification can be overwhelming.
- Have a way for people to get a hold of you though if there is an emergency.
- Set clear work hours with detailed goals for the day.
- Wake up and shower and get dressed just like you normally would
- Try to work asynchronously as much as possible.
By this I mean document things and share them in a way that the other person can consume them when they're free. Otherwise your day can just be video call after video call.
We also have an internal guide that we use at Bold. Feel free to peruse it and use anything that helps! These are some of the things we’ve found that help. Just note, it only works on desktop, not mobile https://boldcommerce.com/wos
The BUILDERS Code - Working remote guide - Bold Commerce Common concerns “Remote Builders are out of the loop.” If we are being intentional about our communication, meetings, and social events, this won't be an issue. We have plenty of tools to help us communicate with each other: chat, voice/video calls, video group meetings, documentation tools, cloud storage for shared files, etc. boldcommerce.com
Further tips for your company
Over communicate! Every channel of communication you do, town halls, standups, weekly meetings etc, increase the frequency. Check-in often with your team. Whether it’s weekly 1-on-1’s, scheduled check-ins, or even just random check-ins with people on your team. Invest in good tools and software to aid in remote work. There a lot out there, I won’t list them all, but just you won’t regret investing in good tools. Create events, “water cooler” moments, virtual lunches, even virtual parties for your team!
Thanks Jay and Amy for your help and great advice. And, hats off to morning showers.
We can’t thank the eBridge IT team enough for having set-up Microsoft Teams for us at the beginning of 2020. When COVID-19 hit, all 70 of us were fully functional at home. We didn't skip a beat.
Here are our tips:
- Recurring web calls. To keep our priorities as a company on track, and to hear the smart ideas of every eBridger, we have recurring calls between teams, managers and the executive team.
- Seeing each other’s faces makes a world of difference. We trust our staff. Plus, we’re engaging with our technical partners on a recurring basis as well.
- Virtual #GoodVibeFriday. While our bi-weekly beer nights aren't taking place for obvious reasons, we’ve kept up a virtual MS Teams video call with all of the eBridge team. As people talk, we can say hello. And this week we did a “crazy hat” theme. The winner was an employee who went through multiple hat changes.
- Celebrating wins. In March, 20 eBridge customers gave our Team a happy review. We shouted out these companies and these employees!
- Full transparency. A message about compassion from the top is what we’re about. Our CEO helping clear-up our stance and reminded us that our safety is #1, and that we’re all in this for the little guys.
While there are absolutely benefits to working alongside people physically, at least for the time being we all need to continue to focus on the positives of WFH. The working from home memes on Instagram are hilarious. Twitter has enough WFH content to make us laugh for the entirety of 2020.
Those of us lucky enough to get to continue our daily jobs from home are fortunate. Our battles are not too big to overcome. While so many businesses have shut their doors, many have moved their workforce to a work from home model.
We hope these were helpful. #onwardstogether #WFH
All the best,