With the ongoing situation in the world, there are many people who are either furloughed or have been outright laid off from their jobs. Those of us who can work from home are very fortunate to be able to keep working through all of this, even as business slows down.
Although some companies have been hesitant to let their employees work remotely, there is a slew of benefits that might keep employees working from home even after the COVID-19 crisis settles. There are some unique challenges that come alongside remote work, though. Here are some new issues that may arise and what can be done to lessen the blow.
Keep in Touch
When you work in an office with your employees, you may take that proximity for granted. Even if you don’t have daily meetings, how often do you stop by for a minute just to see how things are doing or for a quick update on a project? This creates a relationship beyond just instructions from a faceless email.
Make sure to take the time to check in daily with your team, perhaps even a couple of times a day, and make these connections on video. There’s no shortage of free or low-cost programs (such as Skype, Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting) that can help you stay in touch without wasting too much time. The more often you do these meetings, the more efficient the process will be for everyone. We recommend a 15-minute huddle in the morning, as well as something to close out the day.
Working from home sounds great, but it can be an adjustment, especially if you’ve been forced into it like many are today. People may find themselves getting claustrophobic and uneasy since they no longer have a routine of getting ready for work, traveling, and just getting out of the house. For many, this can be a source of anxiety and stress.
Keep meetings informative, but uplifting. Don’t just talk about work — have everyone talk about a positive thing that happened. It could even be something as simple as finding a new series that they like or their children making breakfast for the family etc.
Make it Personal
In addition to group meetings, make it point to meet with employees one-on-one at least once a week, more if you have ongoing projects that need attention. When you’re home alone or with the family, it gets really easy to be sidetracked compared to working in the office.
Remember that, for some people, the office is their main source of socializing, so this connection could be a lifeline to them as they're isolated at home. Younger employees also appreciate more frequent feedback from their superiors. Without this, they can get easily distracted or disheartened.
Be the Fun Boss
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your employees are going to work 8 solid hours a day at home. As long as they are getting their work done at a high level of quality, it’s best just to leave that be. In fact, encourage downtime and even create games or challenges for your team. With everything going on, if you don’t give them the occasional distraction, they’ll find something on their own that could end up keeping them off task for longer.
Keep Their Heads in the Cloud
Since they are no longer in a physical location that you have control over, make sure that your team’s data is backed up properly is crucial. While most companies are using a cloud storage solution on some level, others rely mostly or entirely on server storage. Find a way to make sure that all your employees' work is backed up safely and efficiently. This type of data solution will also allow employees to work on a project simultaneously even if they’re physically separated.
Hardware and Software Checks
The last thing you want is for your employees to have nothing to do because the don’t have the proper tools! Whether you provide them with their equipment or they’re using their own, make sure that your team always has everything they need to do their work. To avoid progress interruptions, keep all software licenses for programs such as Microsoft Office or any other industry-specific apps up to date.
Lastly, don’t forget security considerations. This is especially important if they’re using their own equipment since what works at home computer may not cut it for your business needs.
We were all forced into a new work environment very quickly, but we think this shift is just a picture of times to come. In fact, some predict that 20% of the workforce will be fully remote within the next two years. That’s why an MSP might be your best option to help in these trying times. We have the tools, resources and experience needed to take care of all these considerations without ever having to step foot in your office. Contact us today and we can show you how we can start to implement your perfect solution for your business.