This year has been interesting to say the least. With most companies transitioning to part-time (if not full-time) remote work, teams are being forced to be creative in the ways they communicate and work efficiently. For product managers, this has posed some unique challenges. We’re here to help!
1. Create a research hub
Take a page out of the Gap Inc. consumer insights team’s book and create a large research hub to share data across departments. When you’re no longer working in close proximity to other departments – or even people – you need to find new ways to share out information with large groups of people at once. Creating a research hub of sorts or one central place to put all of your consumer insights and customer data will make this easier for everyone to collaborate and put customer needs first.
2. Set appropriate work/life boundaries
Now, this one is probably on every list of “work from home tips” on the internet, but it’s important. Setting realistic boundaries is critical – especially as we enter busy season for many people and the holidays. Finding that balance between working and logging off can be really difficult. Although most of us have gotten into a groove of sorts since the pandemic began, it’s worthwhile to take a step back now to reassess. Are your current hours working for you? Do you need to cut back? Do you need to uninstall certain apps from your phone (or maybe set notifications to snooze after a certain hour)? What can you do to keep yourself from burning out?
3. Be flexible
Everyone is dealing with unique challenges both professionally and personally right now. Some have little kids running around at home while others have sick parents they need to take care of. Some people are struggling with loneliness or mental health issues. Everyone has something going on behind the scenes that we can’t see. In order to be an effective teammate and product manager, you need to be empathetic, flexible, and understanding to others in your company.
Keep this in mind when thinking about your customers as well. Their behaviors and preferences are changing, so your product roadmap and mobile features should be changing as well. The brands that have been the most successful during these crazy times are the ones that have been the most flexible and quick to adapt to changing times.
4. Present visuals more often
When working remotely and entirely online, it can be difficult to explain complex concepts through Zoom or Slack. Whiteboards are super popular in offices for a reason – sometimes we just need to draw things out for them to make sense. Keep this in mind when talking with your team and leadership remotely. Would you have shown this in a visual way if you were all in a boardroom together? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to develop creative solutions for replicating this online. Some programs will let you sketch live while screen sharing on Zoom or maybe purchase a large whiteboard for your home office. Whatever you come up with, try to remember that some people are visual learners and really need visual aids to understand and retain complex systems or concepts.
In order to really thrive while working remotely, you need to be an excellent communicator and learn how to overcommunicate. When there are so many digital channels (and distractions), it can be easy for people to be sidetracked, ignore you, forget things, etc. Send meeting recaps, clearly outline action items, give project status updates, and ask questions.
6. Celebrate wins
Without team happy hours and events, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to celebrate together. When you and your team are all working remotely, find ways to come together online in a non-working capacity to celebrate successes. Get a super high response rate on a new in-app survey? Increase mobile customer NPS? Get more people signed up for your mobile loyalty program than you anticipated for the last quarter? These are all things you should be celebrating. Regardless of your KPIs, there’s always a reason to give thanks and show your team gratitude. This boosts morale which then boosts productivity. It’s a win, win!Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community