As governments around the world tell those with Covid-19 symptoms to self-quarantine and everyone else to practice social distancing and staying at home, remote working is our new reality. For some, it’s business as usual but for many an uncomfortable and frightening prospect.
How do businesses make this sudden shift?
How easily organisations adapt depend on a number of different factors, including what they do , how they do it , when they do it and the make up of their workforce, as a starter.
Any framework for success should be made around people , technology, methodologies, processes and policies . The following tips should help you navigate these uncertain times
Before looking at what is considered a successful outcome , it important to understand all of the challenges that any business will face in the new world of remote working, before you implement the right solution
The three biggest challenges that have been identified with remote working are :
In recent surveys carried out , 30% of remote workers struggle with loneliness, with a lack of community being the number one challenge to their happiness. A third of remote workers have trouble shutting down at the end of the workday, and this has an impact on their productivity- 20% struggle with time zone differences, which can complicate or slow progress. Technology and productivity are highly correlated so platforms and processes should be in place to provide on demand access to data, accountability, time tracking and always-on communications .
Top Tips To Keep Your Staff Engaged
Offer encouragement and emotional support: When faced with the sudden shift to remote working, it is important for managers to listen to employees’ anxieties and concerns, recognise if they are concerned and empathise with any struggles they may be facing . Be open and ask people outright how they are doing. Even a simple question like “How is this remote work situation working out for you so far?” can give you that important insight into how they are feeling. Listen to your team carefully, and confirm whats been said, to show that you understood correctly. Let the employee’s concerns (rather than your own) be the focus of the conversation.
Get the infrastructure right. Have your staff got the right tech to get online? Who has a laptop or a PC? Will they have the software they need to be able to do work and have video have conference calls, etc? What about the employees who don’t have laptops or mobile devices? How do you make sure that they have access to the resources they need to do work? Direct managers have to very quickly ensure that every employee has full access, so no one feels left behind. Don’t leave any stone unturned or you can guarantee something will come unstuck. In the meantime we’ve made a list of software that you should look closely at , as they are particularly suited to remote working environments. Some are free, some offer freemium models and most are competitively priced as SaaS solutions.
Appear.in ( Now know as Whereby)
Dashboards and Reporting
Time Tracking Software
Time Converter and World Clock
Establish structured daily check-ins: Many successful remote managers establish a daily call with their remote employees. This could take the form of a series of one-on-one calls, if your employees work more independently from each other, or a team call, if their work is highly collaborative. The important feature is that the calls are regular and predictable, and that they are a forum in which employees know that they can consult with you, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.
Be creative:There are a lot of organisations that have been running 100% distributed workforces , so have embraced remote working successfully for a number of years. For them its business as usual , so read up on their experience and initiatives that they have carried out to keep their workforce happy, motivated and productive! Companies like Invision, Stack Overflow, Toptal, Zapier and Buffer show how it’s possible to build and maintain fully remote workforces.
InVision makes regular weekly check-ins and conducts anonymous polls. This ensures all workers at InVision stay happy and engaged all year through.
Trello even came up with a few quirky approaches to keeping remote employees motivated. One of them is called Mr. Rogers, where two workers are randomly paired each week for a quick, casual conversation. This way, workers get to know each other better and learn more about what the company is doing as a whole.
Trust your employees:Take Ernest Hemingway’s advice: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” You can’t see what people are doing. But if you give them the right tech, give them the right tasks, check on them like you’ve always done, they will be at least as productive as you expect them to be. Reviews should be outcome-based. As long as the task is achieved on time, should you really care when it is done? There’s no reason to believe that, in this environment of remote working, people won’t do the work that they’ve been assigned.
Top Tips To Maintain A Great Remote Culture
- Make sure the team members know what’s going on at all times. Communicate at the organisational level because, when they’re at home, everyone feels somewhat detached. Communication around clients and operational day to day stuff is super important. During this period, people also start to get nervous about revenue goals and other deliverables. You’ll have to make sure they feel like they’re going to be OK.
- Ensure that no team members feel like they have less access to management than others when remote working. At home, it’s very easy for people’s imaginations to go wild and when there’s a void they fill it with their own movies! So management has to be available to everyone equally.
- Finally, when running group meetings, include everyone and balance the airtime, so everyone feels seen and heard.
Over time it gets better! You may find that some of your employees prefer working from home whilst maintaining productivity. Things may not be the same again for many organisations after this global pandemic passes , and it will . In a survey about workplace productivity, 86 percent of workers said that working alone allows them to be their most productive. Creatives and Marketing professionals were more likely to say they wanted to work remotely (80% vs. 76% of engineers), while Engineers were more likely to consider going back to the office.
If you want to discuss any of the above challenges with us in further details, please please reach out and set up a call . We’re always on and always listening and we will navigate around this Corona virus crisis! Stay safe and Stay Home.