The coronavirus pandemic has put a test to the world’s ability to work remotely without sharp drops in productivity. While companies in the IT industry and similar fields might have an easier time adapting to the new reality, the majority of employers are still not ready to move their offices completely to the cloud. It can be highly problematic due to how volatile the situation is. With no means of ensuring the quick end of the pandemic, and with quarantine measures stretching for indefinite periods, remote work in 2020 is rapidly becoming a new specialty.
The Main Issues of the Practice
One of the biggest challenges in organizing a remote work process is discipline. Even the most professional and hardworking employees may find it difficult to sync into the mentality of working from their most relaxing environment. A day of remote work every other week is usually a luxury that employees use to rest, recover from a minor illness, and enjoy a generally more relaxed pace. When remote work doesn’t end, however, it can be hard for your employees to reformat their perception of this practice. To read more about the challenges and pitfalls of remote work, follow the link: https://litslink.com/blog/working-remote-in-coronavirus-crisis-tips-and-pitfalls
One of the issues that can inhibit the transition is comfort and the technology required for working from home. At an office, employees normally have space, tools, and infrastructure to ensure productive work. At home, a person can lack the ability to create a distraction-free environment. Besides, many employees don’t have technology with sufficient capabilities to perform their duties outside the office.
Finally, isolation can be one of the most damaging factors in the long run. Offline interaction of all employees from various departments not only evolves the corporate culture but creates a melting pot of ideas, creative thinking, and brainstorming. Taking away in-person communication can deliver a hard blow to the innovative processes within the company.
How Companies Can Defeat the Problems of Remote Work
1. Build the Connection
Making a person feel like they are still a part of the team and the company can help tackle most of the challenges of remote work as smoothly as possible. When the employee feels engaged and understands that their work is no less valuable because of their physical location, maintaining productivity and professionalism becomes less of a struggle. Besides, having the space to talk to their colleagues and share their concerns is important for interpersonal communication and employee morale.
Business messenger applications, such as Slack and Twist, can help organize the company’s communication and help teams stay together. Appropriate video conferencing software may include Zoom and MeetingOwl. Video chats can be particularly crucial, as they allow employees to reach out to each other when they have questions just like they do in an office setting.
2. Educate Employees On Remote Work Mindset
It is crucial to provide employee training on how to function effectively when working remotely. Explain that it is important to remain online and react to messages swiftly throughout a person’s working day. Also, emphasize that remote work demands a high degree of self-organization and discipline. Customers, managers, and other members of the team may require a fast response, and the employee has to be prepared to give it as if they were at the office.
Also, it’s important to guide the employees through the transition and instruct rather than reprimand during the first weeks. Note that employees should keep their names and photos on various corporate accounts real and professional. Release clear instructions regarding which time-tracking software (for instance, Toggl or TimeLive) will be used, how your employees are expected to organize their day, where they can find help, and which communication channels are considered formal.
3. Set Clear Goals
A brief yet vital point lies in the correct organization of the company’s activity. During the transition to remote work, it’s crucial to set incredibly clear objectives and communicate them comprehensively. Employees should have a solid understanding of the company’s goals and what they need to do to help the company achieve them. Task management and responsibility delegation can be easier with Jira, Trello, Todoist, and similar software.
4. Gather All The Software Into An Infrastructure
The amount and variety of new software that your employees may have never used before can get overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to develop and test the whole infrastructure before presenting it to your workers. Understanding how different software works together, what apps an employee will need to have running, and what checkpoints during the day exist will help organize the workflow. Setting up an infrastructure also ensures that employees have a system to fall back on during long-time remote work when issues arise and provide your employees with the necessary technology for work when it’s possible. Lastly, employ employee time tracking software to accurately track time spent on projects or work.
5. Engage With Your Employees Regularly
Forced remote work is the time to get as close to your employees as possible. Set aside time for one-on-one conversation via a video call. Also, make it clear that employees can drop you a line and inquire about anything at any time. This open door policy will help ease the distress during and after the transition, as well as help you control the general atmosphere in your company and intervene as soon as possible if something goes wrong.
The necessity to work remotely is one of the greatest challenges of 2020. During the times of the COVID-19 economic crisis, forced isolation can be incredibly damaging not only to people’s personal lives and mental health but to their work process as well. Companies, therefore, should strive to accommodate the needs of their employees and ensure an easy and effective transition to working online.
It is critical for companies to provide their remote employees with the technology, infrastructure, and communication means to help them create an adequate working environment at home. Slack, Zoom, and other text- and video-conference applications allow companies to maintain sufficient interaction and interpersonal communication, both official and personal. Also, time tracking software like Toggl and task managing software, such as Jira, can help maintain the optimal workflow and aid workers in their pursuit of self-discipline.
The coronavirus outbreak presents companies with new challenges, but as new demands appear, so do new opportunities. Moving your business to remote working may feel intimidating, but when organized correctly, it will help your company keep the momentum and thrive even in these trying times.