With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have asked their employees to stay home for their own safety. While the transition to working from their living room has sounded so promising to many, this move poses many challenges to businesses that are not immediately visible but being aware of what lies ahead is the first and most important part of safeguarding your company from any unforeseen bumps in the road. Even if your business has already moved home, please continue reading for some tips on how to keep the wheels turning as smoothly as ever before – maybe even better!
Expect the best, plan for the worst
Many businesses will have to continue employing a remote workforce for the foreseeable future due to the novel coronavirus and it is crucial to plan accordingly, otherwise you are already setting yourself up for your own failure. The reality is that your business must be able to sustain a work-from-home model over time in order to survive this pandemic while your employees stay inside. Keep in mind that though the work may be the same, your employees are now taking a drastically different approach to it. Strategize accordingly and plan for how all of your same tasks will be done, from the top of your business to the bottom, to ensure that you never miss a beat.
Build your culture
If remote work is something new to your business and its employees, then fostering a healthy company culture is more important than ever. For many, employees are transitioning from seeing their coworkers every day to never hearing or seeing them anymore. It may be to your benefit to establish more regular meetings with your staff to keep everyone in touch with one another – a vital human element that can keep your employees cohesive. In these meetings, make sure everyone gets a word in as remote work does not have to mean absolute isolation of thoughts and ideas! Grant your team the necessary time and attention that they will need to accommodate their new conditions and be patient with their adjustments.
Open new channels of communication
Part of maintaining your company culture will be ensuring that your employees have ways to stay in touch with one another on an individual scale as well as a group scale. If your business does not already utilize a communication platform, take the time to pick out one that is accessible and easy to use for your staff. By enabling your employees to communicate easily with one another, you are giving your business its best chance at operating as efficiently as it did in person. Utilize as many chat rooms as you need, ranging from specific channels catering to different departments (e.g., marketing, engineering, or sales) to broader channels appealing to your employees interests, such as one for your cooking enthusiasts to discuss their quarantine snacks of choice. This will also serve as your best way to keep everyone on the same page.
Separate work from home
Getting the call to shift home has been exciting for many – after all, the appeal of having a movie on in the background, a fresh homemade latte in your hand, and your favorite pet sleeping in your lap all while working is an undeniably intoxicating prospect. However, keeping a disconnect between home and work is vital for your employees. The transition to remote work has not been entirely dreamy as workers continue to face new challenges, such as becoming more sedentary or hitting walls in productivity. Remind your employees to get up and take scheduled breaks from their work, as these periods of reprieve will help your team stay fresh and ready to work hard. Removing themselves from their screens periodically will afford your staff the chance to “turn things off” for a bit and refocus.
The transition to working from home will inevitably pose some challenges to you and your staff but it does not mean that you must go into them blind. Take the time and effort to make sure your business and employees have all the resources they need in order to operate efficiently in order to thrive during this time of change.