The impact of Covid-19 on businesses and has been like nothing else the world has ever seen before. Back in March when the WHO first announced the global pandemic, business owners around the world immediately knew they had an incredible difficult time ahead, but many didn’t quite grasp the full enormity of the situation.
A few weeks later, governments across the globe announced full scale shut downs, like something out of a hollywood film, but it was for real. High street businesses were hit the hardest, as they had to close they’re operation entirely, as leaving them open would result in a higher risk of infection growth for their customers, their staff and the wider public in general.
Fortunately for some businesses, the option of switching to a remote working system was possible, and would allow their businesses to continue to operate, albeit in very different circumstances. Businesses in this category are mostly office based or online firms, where employees working from home was not too difficult a thing to transition to.
Here are 3 key ways businesses can allow staff to work from home, and keep the business running successfully.
- Get the right tools in place, fast.
When an entire workforce has suddenly been turned in to remote workers, a quick review of business tools and software is essential. Almost all members of the team will need access to communication software, such as Zoom or Skype.
Teams will also need to access business systems, and will need to be able to connect to internal servers remotely to find key documents and programs. Fortunately, many businesses today already use cloud based software across different areas of the business, such as a cloud based HR system or online marketing tools.
Businesses will also need to get to grips with the processes for using such tools, including planning how to keep teams connected via video and voice calls, and providing access to all members of staff to online business tools as and when required.
- Stay connected
Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, there was a scepticism around working from home within many businesses, based around a fear of employees slacking off if they weren’t in the office. While many will disagree with this notion, the current times are no place for this thought process, and teams will have to be trusted to do their jobs remotely.
Avoid excessive micromanagement due to remote working, and have the same amount of faith in your teams to do their jobs just as you would if they were in the office environment.
Having said that, make an effort to keep in regular contact, either via arranged daily catch ups with teams or individuals, as well as being available throughout the day via communications apps such as Slack, so you’re there when needed.
- Keep the team motivated
Working from home can no doubt have it’s perks, from avoiding the lengthy commute, to being able to turn up to work in your pajamas. However long periods of remote working, especially for most people who do it in isolation, can lead to a lack of engagement and motivation.
Make an extra effort to check in on every member of the team to get a sense of how they’re doing on a personal level. When motivation and engagement begins to drop throughout the team, productivity will be the next thing to follow.
Consider introducing a team call first thing on a Monday and last thing on a Friday, with time allocated for off-work chat, allowing the team to catch up in the way they usually would around the water cooler or on lunch breaks.