With a remote workforce, your business can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the short term and reduce your costs in the long term. Reducing the size of your company’s office space lets you lower rent, utility bills and maintenance costs. The organization could save thousands of dollars per year, and employees can avoid long commutes and enjoy more flexible schedules. Here are some tips to help your company transition to remote work.
1. Set Clear Rules
Before you transition a team to remote work, speak with department heads and executives to create a set of policies for working from home. Let workers know whether they need to start and end at their regular times, when they need to attend virtual meetings or conference calls and when they should be available for last-minute assignments from supervisors. Conduct performance evaluations regularly, define productivity goals and let people know what they should do to achieve awards or commendations.
2. Choose Communication, Data Management and Productivity Software
Many people working from home will use their personal computers and smartphones. To keep work progressing smoothly and prevent viruses and compatibility issues, everyone will need to download and use the same software for video calls, accounting, interacting with customers, processing transactions and completing other tasks. Productivity software can track the average amount of time each worker spends on tasks, how often they take breaks, their customer satisfaction ratings and more.
You’ll also need to make sure that everyone can connect to the company’s network and get the online updates they need to work efficiently. Some employers issue company laptops and give remote workers a monthly allowance for their internet bill. With the right applications and equipment, even call centers can optimize a mobile workforce.
If you don’t choose to take these steps, you should make sure that your network stays secure. Require employees to use a password when they log on and make sure that they memorize it instead of placing it on a notepad or in another easily accessible location. Store company data on secure servers, and encourage employees to use a virtual private network when they do work at coffee shops, libraries and other places with public Wi-Fi.
3. Focus on Results
When employees are working remotely, it’s easier to monitor their results than the exact number of minutes they spend working each day. After all, working from home is often a bit unpredictable. If someone needs to step away from their desk because their child needs help with remote learning or a pet gets sick, let them take care of anything they couldn’t finish the next day.
In many organizations, working remotely can actually increase productivity. People don’t spend as much time getting feedback from managers or participating in meetings, so they can get more done. Allowing a more flexible schedule also saves time for managers who would have to spend time monitoring the whereabouts of employees in an office.
4. Promote Team Spirit
Working with people when you almost never see them in person can be difficult. It can also get lonely. Every few months, host a fun team event where people can catch up with each other the way they normally would in the company break room. You can go bowling, play football at a local park or have a virtual happy hour. By helping everyone work well together, you can boost efficiency and prevent miscommunications.
With clear rules, the right software, and policies for promoting productivity and team spirit, your company can enjoy increased profits by transitioning to remote work.
5. Allow Flexibility
Working from home is a big change in the routine of not just the employees within a business, but also for their family members too. As an individual transitions into a role that’s based from their own dwelling, it can disrupt their usual routine and force them to undertake additional responsibilities.
For example, a parent who previously had children going to school now has to contest their working day while also looking after their children, meaning that they may not be able to be at their desks all day. It’s for this reason that businesses should allow flexibility in working hours, as this will allow staff to better accommodate their home responsibilities around their working life. This flexibility can be in the form of earlier starts, to allowing the employee to work later, or even giving them the option to complete work during the weekends. This flexibility will then give your staff the opportunity to better manage their life around the new challenges of working from home, boosting morale as you do it.