Since the coronavirus outbreak turned into a global pandemic, we’ve all had to adjust to a new sense of normal. A majority of the workforce as we know it has made a major shift in a matter of days — companies with little or no experience with employees working from home are now mandated to be completely remote. Even essential services that are still allowed to work as usual are adjusting to having key suppliers and stakeholders work in an unprecedented way.
If your organization has made the unexpected pivot to remote work, don’t worry. According to a report by Cisco, almost 70% of employees said they are more productive when working remotely. You just have to take a few steps to ensure it’s a smooth and successful transition.
Here are five of the top best practices for working remotely during the Covid-19 crisis.
Have the Necessary Technology
Remote work is only as successful as the tools used. While the specific technology solutions you choose are going to differ based on specific needs, company size, and budget, your organization will likely need tools for the following:
1. Instant messaging
2. Video chatting/screen sharing
3. File storage/sharing that’s accessible to the whole team
4. Audio equipment
Without a reliable tool for each of these needs, teams won’t be maximizing their remote work structure.
Maintain Face-to-Face Interaction
While being physically in the same room as one another is not feasible right now, it’s still important to maintain face-to-face connections. Video conferencing solutions make this as easy as a phone call, with many of the benefits of an in-person meeting.
This will help people fight loneliness and isolation that can happen when working remotely. It also helps utilize voice, tone, and body language to communicate. When you are communicating with someone via video chat, you can also dedicate your undivided attention to that person without succumbing to distractions like you can when on a phone call.
Accommodate Flexible Work Schedules
During a time of crisis like this one, organizations should be extra sensitive to needs outside of work. Many people are navigating how to work from home alongside other family members, care for children, provide home schooling, and maintain the household during a high-pressure time. Offer them the option to set flexible work on at least a part-time basis to alleviate the pressure. It’ll result in employees who are more present, engaged, and productive during their workday and less stressed. At a time of heightened stress all around, any little bit helps.
Keep Company Culture
Without in-office interaction and in-person events, remote work can push company culture aside. But with the right technology tools, you can keep your culture thriving, which keeps morale high when it’s needed most.
If a “virtual happy hour” doesn’t seem like the best fit, there are other culture events that can take place over video chat. Teams can log into video-chat led workout groups or each person can take a few minutes to introduce their new “colleagues,” AKA the kids and pets at home with them. Many Paint Night and craft companies will ship materials to your home during this time, so everyone can complete theirs over video chat.
Encourage everyone to get creative and share virtual culture event ideas to keep spirits high and fight self-isolation boredom.
Define your Policies, but Don’t Set Them in Stone
When shifting to remote work, it’s important to establish a policy and communicate it to everyone ASAP. Inviting everyone to a Q&A style webinar presentation to go over the policy and address any questions or concerns is the most efficient way to handle the situation.
But as the situation changes and the team navigates uncharted territory, the policy may need to change. Stay in constant communication as the situation unfolds, and stay open to feedback. Cloud-based collaboration tools let you update policies in real time, so be sure to update often.
The common theme in all of these best practices is technology and AV tools. Without them, successful remote work just wouldn’t be possible.
During the Covid-19 crisis, everyone’s health and safety is the top priority, but that doesn’t mean business can’t continue on. A successful business will have a great business continuity plan, and a great business continuity plan starts with the right technology.