When you face challenges like the current global health crisis, the world seems to be grappling with uncertainty and even an impending sense of doom. Under such shaky conditions, what measures can physical companies adopt to keep business afloat and their employees active?
One solution to this dilemma, which turns out to be ideally suited, is to go remote, even if you had been functioning as a physical office before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. While several companies had already adopted the virtual system quite some time ago, the more prominent physical companies have to rush to develop new policies and a functioning structure to keep the business going with remote work.
So, in times of crisis, how can companies rapidly set up a remote system for their employees and ensure their constant productivity and engagement? Read on to find out.
1.Provide Communication Options but also Establish One Key Channel
In a crisis like the one we are facing with COVID-19, businesses can't survive through email alone. You need active mediums of communication such as video conferencing and instant messaging. Remember, your employees are more used to face-to-face interactions and discussions because they are used to a physical office environment.
You need to provide them a few options to communicate with the management and among themselves, but at the same time also establish one key channel of communication so that all interactions, daily discussions, meetings, etc. take place there. This will allow an increase in mutual knowledge and general focus on the company’s goals, as well as reduce the sense of isolation.
2.Set up Daily Check-ins
A successful remote manager is one who establishes a daily call system with their remote employees. You could establish a one-on-one call routine with your employees if they work more independently or group calls if the work is highly collaborative.
The idea is to develop a predictable and regulated pattern wherein the employees know they have a forum in which they can discuss their concerns with you and consult you.
3.Provide them with All Necessary Office Equipment to Work Remotely
To quickly set up a remote system, you must provide your employee with the equipment needed to adequately perform their functions. Among others, this is likely to include a laptop, a mobile phone (in case theirs does not adequately support data functions), and other tools depending on what tasks they need to accomplish on a daily basis. We have seen instances, for example, where someone needs to store important or sensitive information, in which case the employer will likely provide a lockable file cabinet.
This approach will offer you multiple benefits. First of all, you can apply best practices regarding the kinds of equipment your employees will use, and standardize to the extent that it is convenient and practical for all involved. This will also ensure the equipment's compatibility with the technology in your office and will also make tech support and information security easier.
By providing remote workers with uniform office equipment, you will ensure that you put everyone on equal footing and give every opportunity to lend their highest productivity.
4.Ask for End of Day Reports
You must create an instrument in your manager's toolbox when you adapt to a remote working setup for your company. This report serves to provide you a summary of the accomplishments, challenges, priorities, roadblocks, progress, etc. of each remote employee.
This method not only allows you to keep track of your multiple remote employees but will also encourage them to become introspective, learn from, and focus more on their work. You could use a tool like Slack, for instance, for this purpose. Set a reminder on Slack for you and your team members to adhere to the daily report schedule regarding the time decided.
5.Provide Emotional Encouragement and Support
Remember, this time of the global health crisis is a trying time for all salaried employees with families to care and provide for. Not everyone has the ideal environment where they can work comfortably and in peace from their homes. Those remote employees who have young kids at home can especially struggle to give you uninterrupted attention during the working hours.
Exceptional times call for exceptional concessions. Make space for your remote employees. Give them certain flexibility in their working hours. This is an abrupt shift for them just as much as it is for you. Pay heed to their concerns and anxieties and empathize with their daily struggles.
A simple question, "how is the remote situation working for you?" would elicit noteworthy information so you can gauge and adjust as needed. Paying honest heed to your team’s needs and concerns will assure the best possible working relationship, which in turn will surely translate to wellbeing and productivity for all.
With the COVID-19 crisis, companies need to re-think their working systems without wasting any time. With a remote system, productivity should remain constant and business should continue even during a lockdown. Providing your employees with all the necessary equipment and support will undoubtedly go a long way to making this happen.
Next: Top Challenges and Solutions When Managing a Remote Team