As governments across the world ordered everyone to stay inside their homes, businesses were forced to temporarily close down their offices as well. The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote work via virtual office the “new normal”.
It’s true that allowing employees to work at home has benefits such as less time spent commuting. However, most business owners and employees find it challenging to shift to an all-new remote work setting.
Working hours, modes of communication, employee safety – these are some of the questions that loom over everyone’s heads. As business continuity plans are continuously being developed, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips to successfully transition remote work during the coronavirus.
Have The Essential Resources
Before businesses announce the work-from-home shift, it is vital to check if employees have access to the essential resources.
You have to consider that not everyone might have the necessary tools at home. If they don’t, it would be best to provide them with a company laptop, pocket WiFi, and a mobile phone. Doing so will foster optimal work productivity.
Makes Use Of Online Communication Channels
Working remotely is already hard enough under “normal conditions”. According to a survey, there are about eight employee struggles which include staying motivated and collaborating. Another study has shown that the top struggle is loneliness.
There’s no doubt that during the pandemic, the conditions become more challenging. Now more than ever is the time to communicate effectively. Make use of online communication channels that will allow every employee to stay connected with each other.
Also, ensure that you utilize the right platform for your team. Numerous online applications are available for downloading like Slack, Zoom, Google Meets, and GoToMeeting. Each one has different features offered.
Set Clear Expectations And Goals
As adopting the full-time remote work setting is completely new, employees may see it as a guessing game when it comes to standards that need to be followed. Don’t leave your team in the dark about roles and deadlines.
Communicate accountability standards and goals to put your employees’ mind at ease.
Set up a company-wide meeting to answer all potential lingering questions. This may include:
- What is the response time for emails and concerns?
- Are there any policies regarding sensitive company information?
- How long will the work from home setting be adopted?
- Is there any change with the working hours?
- Will there be a dress code for virtual meetings?
Provide Feedback Effectively
One of the important factors for adapting to remote work is effective and regular feedback. Person-to-person meetings are not possible at the moment. This may mean severe disruption to traditional feedback sessions with employees.
As employees are less engaged and less monitored, the work from home setting requires a more engaging approach to providing feedback. This notion applies to both positive and negative feedback.
Help drive the team’s performance effectively by hosting one on one meetings every week. It’s critical to know whether employees are doing really well or whether they need to improve on something.
Embrace Flexible Working Arrangements
Just recently, the government issued flexible working guidelines. This was done to assist organizations in times of economic difficulties.
All kinds of establishments were temporarily closed down, including schools which means everyone in the family is staying at home. Consider embracing flexible working arrangements.
Allow employees to clock in at times that work best for them. Doing so will help retain valuable staff and ultimately boost work efficiency.
Check Up On Your Team and Show Empathy
Although employees may not make it obvious, the pandemic situation definitely will induce stress and anxiety. With everything that’s been going on, being overwhelmed can’t be helped.
Don’t just communicate with the team regarding work related topics, ask them about how they are doing at home as well. Remind them that they can take breaks and sick leave if they are not feeling well.
Foster Company Culture
In an office-based setting, the company culture takes place spontaneously. However, the remote work setting does not make this possible. You will have to find ways to instill culture in the digital space.
A number of online platforms have channels where employees can give claps to others when they do something rewarding. There are fun gifs as well. Doing these simple efforts will significantly boost employee morale.
When it comes to the topic of remote work via virtual office, there are a number of tips that can help the transition. As you apply these tips, you will see that working from home, as challenging as it seems to be, can be manageable.
Help your team adapt successfully during the coronavirus pandemic. And keep in mind that we are all adjusting. During these trying times, persistence is the key.