As the threat of COVID-19 sends organizations home, remote work is becoming the new normal. However, working remotely requires some major adjustments. Here are some ways that your team can maintain efficiency and stick with your strategic direction while out of the office.
Determine a Work from Home Strategy
Switching to a remote work setup will take some adjustment for the entire organization. Management will need to implement process improvement strategies to ensure that teams are on the same page. And this starts with effective communication.
Executives and managers should be clear with employees about what the company will provide (monitors, office supplies, etc.). The more efficiently this communication happens, the quicker employees can set up their at-home workspaces.
It’s also essential to discuss what “normal business hours” will be. Will your team be sticking with your typical hours? Will employees set their own hours? Managers may also set mandatory meeting slots for virtual check-ins. No matter what guidelines make sense for your team, be sure to stay consistent.
Some industries may require certain employees to come to the office occasionally, even if the majority of the team is working remotely. This might be the case if your industry requires access to special equipment. Establish who these individuals are and what the protocol is for coming into the office. Sticking to a clear remote work strategy will keep employees at every level on track and working efficiently.
Establish a Communication Plan
Many organizations rely on face-to-face communication, like team meetings and stand-ups, to complete daily tasks. However, remote work can throw off standard communication. Effective remote communication across your organization will require system integration. But management needs to figure out which systems are most effective.
Your company should make quick decisions about which tools to use for meetings and general communication. This tool set will likely include:
- Call software: It might be tempting to rely on emails for remote communication. However, phone calls are often more efficient. Many organizations use software for phone calls in the office. However, companies that use traditional desk phones can switch to programs like Google Voice.
- Video software: Face-to-face communication is another must when working remotely. Be sure that your video software can support entire teams. Some video programs also include voice call features.
- Chat platforms: Programs like Slack and MS Teams are great for efficient chatting and file sharing. Centralize your organization on one platform and be sure that it’s the only program being used.
These communication platforms can introduce some normalcy into the remote workday. However, it’s important to create boundaries. For example, managers can encourage employees to only take video and phone calls during established work hours. Teams might also agree to only discuss work items in the public Slack channel. The boundaries may take some getting used to, but they will eventually benefit your organization’s strategic direction.
Optimize Your Workspace
At the individual level, a functional workspace is key to working remotely. Establish a dedicated space in your home to use exclusively for work. If possible, choose a room that’s separate from the living area or bedroom. Doing so allows you to focus on work without distractions, which is especially tricky, but important, if your family members or roommates are working from home as well.
This space should also be free of clutter and general household items. A pile of laundry can become a major distraction if it’s in your line of sight during the workday. Stock the space with essential office supplies and multiple computer monitors if possible. You can improve your workflow by creating an environment that mimics your in-office space.
Remember that working remotely requires sharp time management skills. Try to set a specific start and end time to your day, organizing your schedule to allow for tasks like laundry and general tidying. Blocking out your day will help you balance work and home life, so one doesn’t distract from the other.
The team at InfoWorks is dedicated to helping your business amid the uncertainty and stress of the Coronavirus outbreak. We have the experience and capability to begin working with you quickly, whether it is remotely or on-site with you. Contact us today to get started.