The last couple of months have brought significant changes to the labor force, as remote work became the new normal. While COVID-19 continues to threaten the public’s health and safety, physically going to the office may be a thing of the past for now. It’s also not certain at this point as to when it will be safe again for you and your staff to return to work as you used to know it.
For now, remote work is the most viable option that you have. By allowing your employees to telecommute, you can achieve a multitude of things: keep your business operations running, continue to serve your customers, protect your employees’ health, and help in flattening the COVID-19 curve.
It’s worth mentioning that even before the outbreak of the virus, remote work has been in practice for many companies in different industries. For instance, in the United States, 42% of workers who previously did not have telecommuting arrangements are starting to work remotely now.
Here are some ideas that your organization can use as a guide to working remotely during COVID-19:
- Set up a dedicated virtual workplace
The transition to a telecommuting set-up starts by creating your home office. This designated workspace can be a small corner in a private area around your house. Choose a part of your house that isn’t exposed or easily accessible to other members of your family. This can help you avoid unnecessary distractions, so you can stay focused while you work.
Make sure you have sufficient lighting and ventilation, as well as a comfortable desk and chair, in your virtual workplace. You can even have a portable speaker at hand if you prefer to play music while working.
2. Prepare your tools
Without the necessary tools, it will be impossible for anyone to get any task done. Check with your team members if they have a desktop or laptop at home that they could use for the entire time they would be working remotely.
You may need to send one of the computers in your office to those who don’t have their own. Needless to say, it’s impractical to buy a new unit during these critical times, so be sure to provide a service unit for everyone in your team.
Another tool you’ll be needing is an internet connection. The nature or requirements of your job will determine if you should have a wireless network or Wi-Fi for faster downloading or uploading of files, or if mobile data will suffice. You can help your employees with their internet expenses if you wish.
Aside from a computer that’s connected to the internet, the digital platforms or channels that you use to communicate with your team are also essential. These include your Google Drive, email, messaging apps, and so on. All concerned parties should have access to these tools, too.
3. Set up a schedule
One of the things that remote workers love about the telecommuting setup is its flexibility. It also may allow for a great work-life balance by saving time on the commute. Some companies prefer to stick to their regular office hours schedule when working from home, while others give their employees more flexibility, letting them work within agreed hours.
It’s not only the convenience that you should consider here, but you also need to think about your customers and other business partners. Maximize your working hours so that you can continue processing orders, answering queries, and meeting deadlines.
Whichever option you choose—whether a fixed schedule or a flexible schedule—it’s necessary that you communicate the rules clearly to everyone. This will not only help you stay productive but maintain a healthy work-life balance.
4. Meet with your team virtually
Team meetings are vital now, more than ever, since they allow you and other employees to share status updates, exchange ideas about particular projects, clarify issues, and so on. You can also use your team meetings as an opportunity to brainstorm or talk about the future direction of your company.
Send an invite to your team meetings beforehand so that your staff can prepare for them. Specify the meeting agenda, schedule, and a link to the virtual meeting room, too, if available.
5. Check on one another
People work differently from one another. Some of your colleagues will have no problems adapting to remote work and may even be more productive this way. Others may have a harder time adjusting to the new set-up, especially if this is the first time that your company has implemented a work-from-home arrangement.
Make it a point to check on your teammates and how they’re coping with the changes, and ask if you can help them in any way to make their work more manageable. These are indeed tough times for everyone, so building a support system even if it’s just in the virtual space can spell a difference.
Working Remotely with Your Team in the Time of COVID-19
The new normal is here, and working remotely is a huge part of it. Along the way, you may encounter some difficulties, but as you work them out with your team, you’ll be able to endure and become efficient amid these challenging times.