How TJA stays accountable while working from home.

Navigating new territory as a small business.

We’re all in these uncharted waters together. Thousands of employees with little to no telecommuting experience are suddenly working from home with 24 hours of family, significant other or alone time. While there’s no shortage of helpful articles on how to set up a routine to maintain a sense of normalcy, we wanted to tackle another aspect of the work from home experience: accountability.

As a small-but-strong business, we have the privilege of being able to pivot with relative ease. As we get into the flow of the work-from-home dynamic, we’ve learned a few lessons that help keep the engine of our business running while maintaining our focus and upholding the quality of our work.

Virtual check-ins

Our team hops on the Zoom tube at 9AM every day. (We started on Google Hangouts but preferred Zoom’s grid-view option that allows us to see everyone’s face at the same time.) Making sure everyone is present, accounted for and visible on video helps us start the day feeling connected. We also take the time to convey any relevant updates from the previous day. As always, TJA likes to sprinkle some fun in with the business. Our morning video conferences have included glitter bombs, cats, and a company-wide rendition of “Happy Birthday” to our Account Manager Charlie Crews (and yes, it sounded as bad as you’d imagine).

At 4PM, each department conducts smaller video chats to discuss what they’ve accomplished, where they might need support and their goals for the next day. We also use this as a time to catch up and check in on stress levels.

Time tracking in real-time.

One of the first measures we implemented was real-time time tracking. An up-to-the-hour account of how we’re spending hours eliminates the risk of wasting time. It also builds internal trust knowing that everyone is working together toward a common goal. Our project managers can discern patterns of productivity that arise through this new pace of work. That helps them resource for the upcoming days while adapting to new needs.

Transparency in communications.

Over-communication is the name of the game. The TJA environment supports open and honest communication at all times, but never has that been more beneficial or critical than when we’re working remotely. Empowering the team to speak up when they have too much on their plate or are in need of a project helps maintain an even spread of work. it also prevents anyone from feeling overwhelmed or underutilized.

Simultaneously, the need for straightforward client communications has never been more apparent. By engaging in honest discussions about adapting to new business needs and rapid-response action, we’re better able to serve our clients with creative solutions. This, in turn, improves their ability to respond and recover.

Upholding our culture.

The administrative elements of twice-a-day check-ins and real-time time tracking help keep us accountable. Our team also worked hard to maintain our culture while practicing responsible social distancing. With birthday celebrations and Beer Lab hosted over Zoom calls, it brings a sense of togetherness to the company at large. Coming together for moments of joy and fun keeps spirits high and allows us to carry that momentum into our work.

Keep tabs on us.

Everyone is trying to make the best of the new situation we find ourselves in. Follow us on social to see more of our work-from-home strategies and shenanigans. We’d love to hear from you about creative working solutions you’ve seen.

Stay social (but distant)

"Becoming productive and staying accountable when working from home is a challenge. Learn how The James Agency (TJA) combats this issue with their detailed process!"
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