In the blink of an eye, the coronavirus spread from country to country leading public and private sectors to scramble for solutions while businesses shuttered, borders closed, and schools sent millions of children home. More and more businesses are asking their employees to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating the challenges of a remote workforce can be difficult if you have never done it.
It’s critical that companies have a comprehensive business continuity plan to ensure their products and services remain available, secure, and reliable for their customers and employees. For many businesses, this means temporarily switching to a remote workforce. The health and safety of their employees is a top priority, and many companies are closely and continually monitoring guidance provided by governments and health organizations related to the coronavirus so they can make informed decisions.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many companies are working to support employees in working from home. We have provided some tips to ensure your work from home program runs smoothly.
1.Set Expectations Early and Clearly.
About half of all U.S. employees, remote or not , don’t know what’s expected of them at work. That’s a bad beginning, and it’ll get worse for employees sent home without good guidance. So managers must make expectations crystal clear: X is the work you should do, Y is the quality standard, Z is the deadline. Executives should provide higher-level expectations aligned with the company’s purpose: We’ll keep our customers engaged by doing X, we’ll maintain our standards by doing Y, we’ll fulfill our mission by doing Z. The more detail, the better.
2. Communication is Key.
Employees working from home may feel cut off from the resources, information, and relationships they need to do their jobs. Plan on having more conference calls to keep everyone up-to-date and on the same page. It is okay if people are socializing during these calls, as this may be the only way for employees to keep their energy up while working remotely. Managers and executives need to coach their employees productively with frequent conversations to encourage high performance.
It is true that your staff needs to hear from you too, especially as economic fears worsen, to maintain their trust in leadership. Keep the lines of communication open, honest and broad. Send emails or post videos about your reasoning, intentions, and expectations. Make it easy for managers to know your thoughts and contribute their own.
3. Invest in Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Solutions
Cloud productivity tools such as Microsoft O365, Zoom, Slack, Jira, and Salesforce make it possible to work anywhere. Create a culture where your teams collaborate in the cloud with platforms like Microsoft Teams and OneDrive. This enables them to work on and co-edit files in real-time together, even if they are thousands of miles apart.
For uninterrupted business, it’s critical to invest in flexible solutions that enable productivity and collaboration regardless of location or device. Employees can get almost as much work done from their phones as they can from their computers.
4. Don’t Compromise Security
Unfortunately, during a major event like COVID-19, hackers can try to take advantage of the situation. Use standard security measures, including two-factor authentication, data encryption and secure transit, and advanced security settings on physical devices and virtual desktops to help ensure that data stays safe, even when employees are accessing your systems remotely.
5. Be Sure to Encourage Creativity and Innovation from Employees
One of the top reasons that employers shy away from remote work is because they fear a lack of workplace creativity and innovation. As Gallup frankly states, creativity is an asset that businesses cannot afford to neglect. Innovation and creativity often happen in group communication settings, and working alone isn’t ideal for businesses that need to get creative. Be sure to make creativity a priority by encouraging employees to bring new ideas to the table. Your business might even benefit from allowing employees to submit new ideas via email to executives with rewards for any employee’s idea that gets put into motion.
Remote Workers Do Present Benefits
Gallup finds that 43% of U.S. employees work remotely some or all of the time, and many, many studies show remote workers are more productive and profitable than in-house employees. So don’t worry — telework can succeed spectacularly. Although your company will have to learn quickly, your people may perform at levels that surprise you.
The Bottom Line
This unprecedented change is hard, and companies can’t expect anything to be perfect as they and their employees adapt to the change. But there is a bright side: The crisis is forcing humanity to get better connected across countries and continents, and as a result, people will be stronger and more resilient in the end. Going forward, it will be smart for businesses small and large to have remote capabilities set up in case of emergency situations such as this.
Limitless Investment and Capital Remote Financial and Legal Services During the Pandemic
Switching to a remote workforce can be challenging, and many companies may not have the software to do so. The team at Limitless has full remote capabilities with cloud technology to ensure your business is getting the information it needs in a timely manager. We are offering coronavirus relief packages that may include remote bookkeeping, remote accounting services, remote payroll, remote legal and general counsel services, as well as remote tax preparation and assistance. Contact our experts today to learn more about our remote operations.