As concerns over the coronavirus continue to mount, many companies now require employees to work from home. To maximize productivity during this challenging time, employers must ensure that workers have what they need to function in a remote environment.
Here is a look at things that will help your staff carry on business as usual during a period that’s anything but ordinary:
The new webinar Going Remote will help you and your management team become masters at using remote employees effectively in your business, whether inspired by a national emergency or a competitive employment market.
1. A heads-up. If possible, give employees advanced warning before limiting on-site attendance or closing the office temporarily. This action allows people to think about what items they’ll need to bring home instead of grabbing (or overlooking) in haste.
2. Equipment. Many staff members already possess fundamental technology—a computer, a phone, and internet access—at home. Loan out laptops from the office as needed, and don’t forget to include the charger cord.
3. Login information. Many people already have experience working remotely some of the time, either at home or while traveling. They’ll know how to access databases and other company information. A step-by-step guide to remote access, however, can prove useful to those unfamiliar with the process. Pay special attention to providing any necessary passwords.
4. Contact information. Frustration mounts quickly when workers don’t know where to get answers to questions. Build a support network by creating a master document with current phone numbers and email addresses for everyone on the team. Add info for tech support personnel, frequently contacted clients, or anyone else who might prove useful.
Now is the time to assess how remote employees can add to the efficiency of your workplace and results.
5. Document sharing. Colleagues could send files as email attachments. However, setting everyone up on a document sharing platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox makes virtual collaboration easier and more efficient. Data and documents are all in one place and accessible from anywhere. Permission to view, edit or both can be granted as a manager or file creator sees fit. Corrections, updates, and additions can be made and viewed on the spot—along with a record of who put in the change and when—without having to resend.
6. Task trackers. Breaking down projects, maintaining tabs on progress, communicating due dates and keeping everyone abreast of who is working on what becomes simpler when a distributed team uses a system such as Trello or Asana. In addition to keeping everyone organized, those tools can boost morale as users see things getting accomplished despite the turmoil from the pandemic.
7. Video tools such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. Being able to see the person on the other side—whether it’s a single client or a group of colleagues—is great for any activity that benefits from a visual component, such as demonstrating a product, showing examples or judging reactions through facial expressions and body language.
Leaders should be aware, however, that older devices may not possess the camera and microphone needed for video conferencing. Likewise, a household’s broadband capabilities may limit success, especially as networks become taxed when everyone is working from home—parents and out-of-school children alike.