At the end of 2019, industry experts predicted 2020 to be the “year of remote work”. But even the seasoned experts of remote working never anticipated largest work-from-home experiment across the globe to be launched in the first quarter of 2020. Remote work has now been hailed as the hero to rescue the world from the repercussions of the economic slowdown due to coronavirus.
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, there has been a wave of fear and panic all around. To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak, businesses are following the government directives to operate their business and perform their duties from a remote location to keep their employees safe. 90% of businesses are either confident or very confident that employees will remain productive during the time frame of remote work as a result of a crisis.
A survey by 8x8 at the end of February reported, 44% of employees with full-time jobs have felt the impact of coronavirus on the way they conduct business operations. Another 55% have canceled their travel plans and are avoiding in-person meetings while another 40% are increasingly in favor of technological advancements and are using video conferencing tools to conduct virtual meetings.
Businesses shift to remote working setups since the fight against COVID-19 has intensified. Here are a few tips for businesses to implement a sustainable work-from-home setup.
Do write a company policy –
The most common mistake that businesses make while remote working is not having a formal policy in place. It is a critical component in ensuring all parties know their responsibility while shifting from physical to virtual environment.
It is advisable for companies to create a specific-work-from-home guideline in terms of crisis such as coronavirus. This guideline will help employees clearly understand their responsibilities during the remote working phase and avoid confusion with regards to task deliverables. To ensure the tasks for the day and long-term deadlines get accomplished, consider setting communication guidelines to hold remote workers accountable.
Collaborate and communicate –
Businesses should keep the communication flowing with updates in the morning to all the employees requesting to stay alert and also with helpful tips.
With the technological advancements, it has become easier for businesses to integrate their processes and have a more streamlined approach to run the tasks smoothly. It is ideal to embrace tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom to streamline the communication between employees and to optimize remote and virtual working, run effective virtual meetings and set up a functional team to reach out to for critical elements.
It is really important to be clear and proactive about communicating the responsibilities of every employee of what has to be delivered and by when, especially in a remote working scenario.
Do not assume your employees to ace remote working –
Remote working isn’t always as easy as it looks. Even with all the technological advancements, there will be times where you will face a host of IT issues and remote workers might have their own apprehensions about remote working negatively affecting their career. With no colleague or manager insight to be approached, remote workers are often responsible for their own time management and prioritization of tasks, without receiving any training on remote working. The key here is to have frequent communication with your remote workers to feel your presence in their work-lives to establish the level of trust and understanding in striking the right balance remotely.
Opportunity to engage with a mentor –
There are a number of challenges when it comes to remote work. New-to-remote-working professionals need guidance to explore the world of virtual productivity, set their own milestones and foster personal growth. It is advisable for businesses to offer subscription to mentorship programs to ease the transition from physical to virtual environment and approach a mentor anytime who can help them take the necessary steps to stay productive, enhance their skills and set their own career goals.
Online mentorship platforms can help with actively guiding your employees to acknowledge their shortcomings and develop their strengths to take them through their career development.
Set an example –
Effective remote work starts at the top. When the leaders execute correct remote-working friendly behavior and implement inclusive processes in place, the effect is felt down as a successful experience for everyone to follow. As businesses are expecting employees not to slack during remote working period and share updates every now and then, it is advisable for managers to keep the communication going with the team on project updates, new business announcements, etc. to keep the motivation strong. Managers should also schedule a weekly check-in via video call to learn of any setbacks or to answer any queries.