How Not to Kill Your Workflow While You Work Remotely [Contributed Blog]

August 31, 2020 - 11 minutes read - Contributed Posts, Remote Agency

In a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, companies world over are urging their employees to try and work remotely. And although you may be forgiven to think that the main hindrance for remote working is solely an IT problem, there are many more challenges that would make the transition from office to a remote location challenging. In the case of backbone.js development, for instance, one of the biggest challenges is creating a dedicated communication platform where inhouse and remote employees working on the same project can openly communicate.

As a result, how a particular backbone.js development company or any other company tackles workflow-related challenges can have a profound effect on the productivity and well-being of the team members. 

In this article, we are going to look at the challenges of working from home and how it can affect your workflow. While at it, we are also going to give you some practical recommendations on how to streamline your workflow while working remotely. 

But first, let’s get the basics out of the way…

Brief Background of Remote Work

Basically, remote work entails shifting the working location from a centralized office to a remote location/s. And when the employees work from home, remote work may also eliminate the need to commute to the office altogether.

Remote work wasn’t born with the advent of the internet in the early 80s. On the contrary, it existed way before commuting and downtown offices, where carpenters, blacksmiths, potters, and leather workers sold their goods from their residences.

Fast-forward to just about 20 years ago, the global economic expansion and advancements in computers and technology began paving the way for modern-day remote work.

As more people started owning personal computers and an even larger number connecting their homes to the internet, remote work as we know it started to thrive.

Source: Statista

True to this, a 2020 survey published by Statista shows that at least 60% of companies allow some form of remote work. The same survey shows that at least 16% of the respondents interviewed work remotely full-time, with 35% working remotely occasionally. 

Ultimately, working remotely gives employees increased flexibility and relative autonomy. But it’s not just the employees who are benefiting from remote work: Through remote work, companies are able to hire and retain top talent, save on operation and overhead costs, and also stay competitive in their respective fields.

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As earlier indicated, the global coronavirus pandemic has triggered a massive exodus from the office to the home setups. In the first half of 2020, the global online searches relating to “work from home” and “remote working” have hit an all-time high. And this trend is expected to continue as Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that 73% of the global workforce will be working remotely by 2028. And this is a good thing considering 90% of workers currently operating remotely plan to continue doing it for the rest of their careers. 

How Does Remote Working Affect Your Workflow?

Although remote working comes with a number of benefits, it’s also fraught with challenges, key among them being collaboration among team members. For instance, a scrum master may leave a casual slack message asking a JS developer to streamline the visual elements of an app. This simple, emotionless text may end up leaving much to the imagination as it doesn’t expressly state the specific elements that need to be worked on. Worse still, interfering with a single aspect of a work-in-progress app may have a ripple effect, ultimately affecting the pace of your progress.

However, with open communication and streamlined workflows, not only are you able to improve the productivity of your team but also eliminate the unnecessary confusion.

Definition of a Workflow

Simply put, a workflow is a manual or automated order in which specific tasks in a company are performed right from the beginning to the end. Anytime data is passed between team members or systems, it creates a workflow.

There are three major types of workflows in the corporate work environment. They include;

Process workflow: Also known as business process workflows, they majorly happens only if the tasks at hand are predictable and repetitive. As such, the anticipated path of the items is known in advance even before they begin to sail through the workflow. 

One of the biggest advantages of the business process workflows is the fact that they can handle an unlimited number of items as they have very few variations.

Case workflow: In this case, the item’s completion path is not known and it can only be revealed once enough data is gathered. Similar to business process workflows, case workflows are able to handle multiple items, although they need human or intelligent bot intervention to determine the right path.

Project workflow: They have structured paths, although they can be altered along the way. For example, you can accurately predict the sequential tasks required to build and release a new website. With that said, project workflows are limited to single items. Your competitor may delay releasing your website, and their path may not be necessarily similar to yours. 

Closer home in a remote working environment, workflows help connect all remote staff involved in a particular activity, allowing them to collaborate effectively. Along with that, integrating workflows in a centralized system helps streamline oversight both on the individual and the organization level, ensuring everything is performed correctly and in a timely fashion.

In the area of backbone.js development, JS development teams have also been able to operate efficiently, maintain consistency, and keep all the team members on the loop thanks to automated workflow tools like Trello, Bitbucket, or Grunt.

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Additional Challenges of Working from Home and How To Overcome Them 

Communication

The key to a successful remote working arrangement is communication. As a remote worker, it’s important to clearly communicate with your team members on whatever you are working on. On the other hand, the employer should collect and collate input from all the team members to ensure that all the aspects of the projects are covered. And for this, there needs to be a dedicated, two-way communication platform that brings together everyone working on a particular project. 

Technology Hiccups

As a remote worker, you don’t have the luxury of walking up to the IT guy requesting them to fix your system, which adds responsibility on your end. Along with that, public WiFi hotspots can be frustratingly low, making it extremely hard to work remotely.

To avoid all these unnecessary issues, always ensure you have a contingency plan. For example, you can use a mobile data connection when your Wi-Fi is unstable, have a spare laptop, or even a back-up generator in case of emergencies.

Work-life Balance

Remote working erases all the conventional functioning methods. This means that you have no definite time to finish your daily task and you start becoming aware of the household chores waiting for you at home. Not forgetting you have to manage the kids. Simply put, effectively balancing everything becomes a tricky job and a time-consuming affair.

The key to overcoming this challenge lies in keeping your priorities straight through proper time management. Apportion both your personal and professional work and set timelines within which you need to complete them. You don’t want to be looking for the best backbone.js framework for your next task whereas you are supposed to be attending your kid’s game. Instead, focus on completing the most vital work during your most productive hours and track your progress.

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Final Thoughts

Whether you’re debating on taking up your first JS development role or even looking to hire a remote team, ensuring that your workflow is streamlined is important. After all, you will inevitably live or die by the workflow processes you create –good or bad. For this reason, ensuring that your workflow is clearly defined, flexible, transparent, and properly organized will help you make quicker, smarter decisions, as well as empower your employees to collaborate in a more agile, and productive way.

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