Some may argue that we were heading for an increase in remote work anyway. Others may have been forced into the option after the restrictions many countries have had to put into force. The chances are, you are one of those who are on lockdown or self-isolation and are either working from home or trying to run your business from home. On top of everything, the need to work remotely has come with less than 24 hours’ notice and certainly not with enough preparation.
Now is the time to take advantage of the experience and take the necessary measures for yourself and your employees so that you are ready for remote working in the future. It has been a challenge and mainly because we do not have the technology infrastructure to support the sheer number of people working remotely.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can make the transition smoother.
The Support From HR
Each organization will have certain functions, roles, skills, and tasks that are required for the success of the company. Plenty of these can be carried out remotely as long as there is alternative help is available for this new type of work. Coronavirus has forced many governments across the world to revise and adapt current policies so that people can work remotely.
One key thing business owners must do is assess the roles within their organizations and understand which tasks can be completed remotely and what additional support will be needed to perform jobs during the crisis. For example:
Work that is not possible remotely- Even is a factory can reduce the number of employees, assembly lines still have to be maintained. HR must provide additional safety measures like masks, consider splitting shifts to keep the number of people together at a minimum, and psychological help for anybody who is suffering from anxiety.
Work that is possible remotely- Sales teams are a good example of those who can work remotely. It is highly likely that they will require more support from team leaders and/or managers, particularly in the beginning, and this could lead to added expenditure.
Work that is extremely possible remotely- If any employees already work at home one or two days a week, it is much easier to extend this. Don’t forget that these employees will continue to need contact and guidance for maximum productivity.
How To Encourage Success When Working Remotely
- Frank and Frequent Communication
A common and warranted complaint we have heard since the Coronavirus pandemic is that employees have no clue what is going on. Whether a crisis has occurred or whether remote work is the way you want to go forward, it is essential that information is shared. When people work remotely, it more possible for them to miss out on important information that is shared within the office.
Employees often don’t appreciate that as business owners, we are terrified by the unknown of a crisis. While you shouldn’t be sharing your personal worries, you should be honest about the potential impact of what is happening. The more honest you can be, the less likely your employees will turn to social media for updates, and we all know that with the amount of fake news, this is will just cause more problems.
Ensure that the information is passed down through the ranks, managers communicate with department heads, through to team leaders, and then the other team members. It is just as important to make sure that the communication is flowing in both directions and team members are able to contact leaders and managers.
- Trusting Your Team
Again, it doesn’t matter if your employees are working remotely because of an emergency or because it is who your business is developing, you need to be able to trust that your employees understand exactly what has to be done and that they are going to do it. Trust in productivity is the core of remote work success. According to a snap poll carried out by Gartner, 76% of HR leaders were concerned about the productivity of their remote workers during the Coronavirus outbreak, however, often unfounded.
In fact, there have been numerous studies to show the contrary and that working remotely allows employees to manage their day better, making the most of the time when they are more productive and having fewer interruptions. Considering the Coronavirus has closed schools and remote workers are maintaining their productivity even with children at home, so it is more possible that productivity will increase.
- Reinforcing Technology
In the same snap poll from Gartner, 54% of HR leaders felt that a lack of technology was blocking the effectiveness of remote work. There is no doubt that cloud-based productivity tools are a necessity for many businesses today, but the massive increase in use because of the Coronavirus will create a strain and we will soon see the areas in which the digital infrastructures can be improved.
If you are already aware that your technology isn’t up to the job, you should at least be educating your employees on how to get the most out of email, instant messages, and social media platforms.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus will allow us to carry out studies on our business and determine how much to invest in their infrastructure in order to achieve the highest productivity in remote work.
Preparing Your Business for Remote Work in the Future
As we try to find some positive in the latest global crisis we face, we can certainly say that remote work has a great future ahead, as long as the right technology is in place. It is definitely something that the younger generation is going to demand, so what better time than now to start adopting remote work practices. Generation Z will drive the demand for remote work, increasing by 30% by 2030. Gartner also reported that 64% of professionals feel that they could work from any location today.
By offering remote work, you open your organization up to a stronger talent pool as highly skilled candidates with family responsibilities will now be more attracted to your position. More and more people are placing flexibility above other, traditional “job perks”. Although we haven’t had the choice this time around, we do have the choice to start improving our working policies and conditions to permit more remote work in the future.