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Remote Management

26 June, 2020

Skills to streamline your company during COVID and beyond

If there’s one thing good we can say about COVID, it’s that it has encouraged people to learn how to use technology to grow their business.

Adam and Risa Roe at Adam Roe Painting, Boise, Idaho, built up their capability of remote management during the COVID crisis because their business wasn’t allowed to slow down. They were classified as essential by the state government, and their clients weren’t putting jobs on hold. “I got a letter from virtually every contractor I was working with letting me know they expected me to staff their projects and be ready to go,” said Adam. These companies had a lot on the line, and to keep their agreement, the Roes better learned how to remotely manage crew and office staff, along with how to remotely communicate with clients.

The company uses WorkGlue, a field communications program to … well … hold a lot of things together. Risa mentioned that important paperwork can be distributed through WorkGlue so that people don’t have to come into the office to pick up documents and instructions on the way to the job site. “We’re able to control the permissions so that only the people that should see sensitive documentation can see it. That way if they need to refer to something in the contract, for example, they can pull it up.” The painting crew can’t see the contract, but they can see work orders, color choices and other information germane to their job.

Since most everyone has a smart phone or iPad, they can send videos and photos back and forth. Then there’s the old-fashioned phone call. “We do more phone calls than we used to, instead of running out there all the time,” said Adam.

It’s all good prep for the future. “It’s like anything else, you may have certain things you want to add to your portfolio of how you do business,” he said. “You just get caught up in the day to day activities so much so that you fail to implement them as quickly as you might otherwise.” COVID changed that, in that it forced people to get up to date.

Risa advises creating a policy about meetings and sticking to it. While some customers canceled in-person meetings, others still insisted on hosting a weekly update in a construction trailer. Many meetings and walk throughs can be done remotely, and ARP stuck to its guns about not attending meetings where they felt health and safety could be at risk. “I think it’s important that people understand what your company policies are,” she said.

Remote management even helps at home base. Adam has a big office, says Risa, but not big enough to keep the whole staff six feet apart, so even in the same building they Zoom to keep their distance. Plus, she’s noticed, this can build more independence and confidence into the staff and keep the business owner from micromanaging. “It has opened our eyes to quite a few things,” she said. “We’ve been trying to invest in a little learning ourselves, like what holds us back from having a real powerhouse team. We’ve been working with our team to empower them through COVID as well.”

Another part of remote managing in the video interview. Here are some tips to conducting it successfully.

  • Let your candidate know what video tools or apps will be needed ahead of time, so they can have it ready.
  • Bad connection? Have a backup plan in place – even the phone!
  • Listen! When your candidate is talking, pay attention and don’t multitask.
  • Where are you? Don’t sit in front of that poster that says, “I’d rather be kayaking,” even if it’s true.
  • Turn off your phone notifications and other distractions.
  • Show your candidate the same consideration you expect them to show you.

This week’s takeaway tips:

  • Find a good app that helps you manage remotely.

  • Don’t be bullied into making unsafe in-person visits.

  • Make sure everyone involved understands how to communicate with your system.

Sponsored by Benjamin Moore

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