running a business in covid-19 and remote working
Diary of an Entrepreneur – Tackling COVID-19 & Working Remote

Unfortunately for many business owners, the sad reality is that Covid-19 will have ever lasting consequences for their business. Some, may never open again. Like, how do you prepare for something like this? You can’t really, can you?

I think we are one of the lucky businesses. Not that we’ve been positively impacted by this, instead, we’ve been able to adapt and manage, purely because we are a ‘B2B’ company and that we can all work remote. And this is what I’d like to write about in this diary entry. Specifically, I’ll touch on a typical day, some positives and challenges that present itself when working remote.

The day starts out for me at 08:15. It feels weird to go from the kitchen to the office, but I’ve consciously made a decision that the office is the office and work is work. We have our dev team stand-up at 09:10 which Niall conducts. We all have Slack bot reminders set before the stand-up so everyone is on time. Some ground rules regarding the stand-up;

  • Rule #1 – Cameras on.
  • Rule #2 – Be on time.
  • Rule #3 – Brief update on what your plan is for the day and that it correlates with the expected goals of the sprint as documented in JIRA.
  • Rule #4 – Keep it short and snappy – any tangents can be discussed post stand-up so other people’s work isn’t impeded on.

This all sounds very rigid, but we do have a laugh and some banter. Broadband connection in the sticks can be a bit dodgy, but all in all not too bad.

At 09:20, our main stand-up commences where we will open up the call in Slack. Any major issues from the dev team are fed into this meeting. Generally, it follows the same set of rules. Our productivity board has now been transformed into a virtual board in Copper, our CRM system. We use JIRA solely for dev work. We will review everyone’s tickets from the day prior, noting any impediments and look ahead at everyone’s ticket for the upcoming day. All in all this takes 10 minutes. I run the main stand-up. We try have a laugh, whilst keeping it light and professional. For some of our staff with kids, working from home poses challenges, so by adding some levity, you are trying to keep stress levels down.

The day will usually consist of catching up on client requests, putting together Chemishield proposals for prospects we would have demoed to the day prior, performing Chemishield demos, meetings with the recruitment team, assisting in interview preparation, planning and review sessions with the dev team to name a few. It’s been business as usual really, and all of our activity is more or less the same, and has been unaffected by working remote, which is a relief.

I stick to the same routine regarding lunches and coffee. Actually, I think I’ve managed to save nearly 50 quid in lunches and coffees, which is great. It really makes you are how much you are spending when on the road and I think I’ll definitely be trying to continue with this saving post Covid-19, whenever that will be. Also, its been nice to see my child during the day. I think he’s a bit perplexed when he sees me coming out of the office for lunch. Being able to take the dogs down the field is great too – fresh country will do the world of good for you!

Finally, the end of our day involves two wash-ups, one for dev and the recruitment/marketing team. It’s a loose enough conversation. How did you get on with your tasks etc. We are constantly communicating in our dedicated slack channels anyways, so it’s not like the wash-up is time for any major surprises. If there’s an issue, the hand goes up and we tackle it.

Similarly, our main wash up, if you could call it that has descended into chaos, with James wearing a different costume each day, once the serious business has been taken care of. Despite the fact that we are all miles apart, its so important to feel like we are all in the same office together.

As I said at the start of this post, some people will have kids and some will be in solitude for the day, so being able to have a chuckle towards the end of the day, has been a saving grace for us. I can imagine if we didn’t have such a trustworthy team, the stress levels would project from me onto everybody else, which would potentially impede performance.

So, there you have it. Put your processes in place, set some ground rules, treat it like a normal day, laugh, smile and kick on.

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