With the current Coronavirus pandemic, many organisations in Aotearoa are changing the way they operate by implementing more flexible work conditions, work from home procedures and enhanced hygiene facilities to ensure the health and safety of their staff and stakeholders. We understand that implementing a policy for remote working at short notice can be a challenge, so we’ve put together our advice on how to enable your employees to work from home efficiently and effectively.
Set Your Employees up with the Necessary Tools
This might require an audit of each employee’s situation to ensure they have the necessary equipment and software, appropriate internet access and a suitable workspace in their home. They may need to take screens, webcams, headsets and keyboards home from the office to ensure they can work efficiently. Obviously, log what is taken for future record.
Similarly, you’ll need to determine which online tools will best facilitate working remotely. Email inboxes can be easily overwhelmed even when you’re working in the office, so you may want to consider using team chat apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Workplace by Facebook to improve communications.
It will also be important to acknowledge that many people may have children in their homes following possible closures of schools and childcare facilities, which may make a degree of flexibility necessary. Where appropriate, find out what arrangement will work best for them and how you can ensure they’re able to deliver on their deadlines.
Be Clear about your Expectations
Understandably, some businesses can be reluctant to allow employees to work from home because they picture people logging in at 9am before watching Netflix in their PJs for the rest of the day. However, in the majority of cases, the opposite is true, with research showing that people often spend more time working when relieved of their commute and the distractions of the office. It’s important to trust your staff to a degree, but also let them know what you expect from them in terms of working hours and how much they should be getting done.
Depending on the individual circumstances, there are many ways you can do this. Where there are clear deadlines and deliverables, perhaps they can manage their own hours, but if they are working closely with a team, they may need to continue attending project meetings. Or, perhaps organise a deadline for staff to update project management tools such as Asana, Trello, Teamwork or Pivotal to make progress easier to track.
Prevent Feelings of Isolation
One of the downsides of remote working is the potential for feelings of social and professional isolation. There is no clear indication of how long COVID-19 will continue to impact businesses, so it’s essential to be prepared if it becomes necessary to work remotely for an extended period of time.
Regular check-ins using video conferencing can help employees feel more connected to their colleagues and supervisors. Consider a quick wrap up teleconference at the end of each week to unite your team, or a regular morning session to kick off the day.
Remote working will require an investment of time and a fair bit of patience upfront as many employees come to grips with this new way of working, but if you follow the above steps, you can watch your team adapt and thrive.
Responding appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean your operations have to come to a halt – rather, it’s about finding responsible alternatives that allow you to continue with business as usual, including hiring great talent.
To learn more about the options available, contact our team of specialists today.
Ngā mihi nui!