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High-Tech Startups Thriving doing remote work

Remote work could be challenging, but it is not impossible. We have compiled different resources to guide you throughout this process, including simple steps to help stay in communication with your team, minimizing risks while performing lab work essential to your business operation, and tips for creating a productive environment while working from home.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” — Henry Ford
Six Tips for Creating an Efficient Work Environment
  1. Your workspace is essential. Choosing a good location can reflect on your efficiency. Avoid working from your bed or couch as it could be distracting, and it can affect your workflow.
  2. Set times - There are days where you get in the zone; you forget to take breaks, skip meals, logon early and stay late. Sometimes it feels like the work for working from home never ends. Keep a schedule by setting times for work, breaks, lunch hours, planning, and similar activities. Apps like Clockify help track your time and prevent overworking your day.
  3. Use lists and productivity apps. Free apps like Evernote, Microsoft To-Do, and Trello can keep you and your team on track. Don’t like using apps? Writing yourself daily to-do lists can keep yourself on track. Adapt the situation to your needs - remote work can only get accomplished by adjusting expectations and motivations.
  4. Turn your ringer off your phone. If the majority of your day does not require making business calls from your cell phone, put it on Silent or Do Not Disturb. It can be tempting to replace water cooler banter with personal calls, but blocking potential distractions can help you feel productive while at home.
  5. Communication methods are key. Lack of face-to-face interaction is especially challenging for remote work. As a general rule, if you are unable to resolve a communication issue in two rounds of digital-based communication (i.e. email threads, chat messages, etc.) then pick up the phone or video call the other party.
  6. Do not book meetings all day. Meetings are vital to ensure timely communication, especially while working remotely, but booking back-to-back meetings all day inhibits the completion of work product.
USF CONNECT Team on the daily call.

USF CONNECT TEAM OVERCOMING THE DISTANCE

"Working from home remotely has allowed our team to connect daily through Microsoft Teams. We share not only what we are working on, but our daily lives as well. It's brought us closer together as a team, even more like a family. When we do get back to in person meetings, I think there will always be a component of staying connected virtually going forward as part of our experience."

- Shannon Pastizzo, Program Director at USF CONNECT

Mitigating Risks: How Essential Research Can Remain Operational
  1. Identify skilled personnel to perform essential maintenance activities.
  2. Address safety issues that may arise from shutting down laboratories.
  3. Recognize activities that research team members can do remotely to aid in the progress of internally and externally funded research/sponsored events.
  4. Develop schedules for essential personnel that are mindful of social distancing.
  5. Increase cleaning of shared equipment and spaces.

Tampa Bay Technology Incubator companies have been adapting to the regulations and continue with essential research by adhering to the protocols. Maha Sallam, Ph.D., founder and president of VuEssence, shares how her company has been adjusting to remote work and highlights examples of different strategies that companies can apply to their specific circumstances.

  • Investing in setting up all team members with a dedicated secure computer to empower them to do as much of their work as possible remotely is key for many technology-focused companies.
  • More deliberate management and a clear definition of immediate goals become more important in this setting to help us stay motivated.
  • Keeping teams connected with focused and purposeful voice and frequent video meetings is also critical for defining and tracking short-term tasks.
  • Hands-on work can be done by scheduling individual lab or onsite time while following sanitizing and social distancing recommendations as well as city, state, or federal orders.
  • Rearranging tasks to catch up on, or get ahead of, planning, documentation, training, or other less glamorous but important computer-based work may not be as exciting. Still, it can be a great way to save time later.
"There is no doubt that our current predicament will delay progress for most small companies, at least in the short term. Our challenge is to play the long game despite the distraction. It takes discipline and perseverance, the same qualities we need to succeed under normal circumstances; only now we need a lot more. Acknowledging the situation for what it is, instituting safe practices to protect team members and their families, and offering effective ways for working remotely can keep many teams and projects moving forward." - Maha Sallam, Ph.D.

Credits:

Created with images by Andrew Neel - "There is no substitute for hard work. ― Thomas A. Edison" • Dayne Topkin - "untitled image" • Drew Hays - "Scientist with a Petri dish"