Millions of people are at home adjusting to new ways of living and working as the Covid-19 crisis escalates.
For even the most seasoned home workers, and companies with established remote working policies and contingencies, these are extraordinary times.
Some businesses have 100% shifted to home working with little or no preparation. And for those workers who are also taking care of family members or self-isolating there’s added pressure to keep focussed on the day job. With all of this in mind, we thought it would be useful to share 4 essential tips to help management teams and employees work well, keep connected and motivated in times that for now are the new normal.
Working well from home
#1 Keep to a work routine
It’s important to set boundaries around when you are ‘at work’ and when your home life takes over. Obviously not everybody who has suddenly found themselves working from home will have a proper office space set up, so even if you are at the kitchen table be sure to delineate and ‘pack away’ work at the end of the working day. And as tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas and work from bed, creating a proper work environment, sitting at a desk or table and taking regular screen breaks is much more productive and better for your well-being.
Unplugging after work is the biggest problem that remote workers face, according to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report. It’s important to keep communicating, but the same principles and policies on avoiding ‘presenteeism’ should still apply.
#2 Use ‘richer’ technology to keep communicating
The Buffer research also found that collaborating and communicating was a top-three struggle for people working remotely. These are difficult times and regularly reaching out to team members via ‘richer’ technology like video conferencing app Zoom is critical right now.
Businesses that aren’t used to colleagues working remotely can quickly slip into an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ culture, so be sure to:
- Schedule check-ins – set a regular time for your team members to jump on a video call to enliven team spirit and talk through all the stuff you take granted when you’re in the office together. This gives workers similar visual cues that they would have if they were at the office.
- Bookend the day with a call – a quick ten-minute call with individuals or the team can help remote workers structure the working day, understand what’s needed and talk through any issues and concerns. Obviously this includes regular contact with your HR team or the person who is responsible for employee well-being and pastoral care.
- Collaboration and creativity – there are inexpensive collaborative tools like Slack that can help your remote team instantaneously work together on projects.
#3 Recreate social contact and events
Businesses are getting creative in the way they use video apps like Zoom to recreate the social contact in the office that brings people together and creates a sense of belonging. They are hosting virtual pizza parties or celebrating the end of the week with a glass of something together. No work talk, just a chance to catch up and socialise.
#4 Centralise documentation
It only takes a few days of working remotely to find out how difficult it can be to access important documents. If you haven’t already got a secure cloud storage solution in place, here’s a really help review of options from PC Mag.
Businesses that have shifted to remote working will be doing so for the foreseeable future. But, understandably there was little time to prepare. Recent data commissioned by Leonne International showed that a third of UK businesses do not have the tech infrastructure to manage long-term remote working.
If your business does not have the digital skills or infrastructure to fully support your team online then help from the big technology providers could soon be on its way. Here’s what Zoho MD Sridhar Iyengar is saying: “With many businesses scrambling to introduce virtual meetings, manage projects online and provide essential daily briefings for employees, the tech industry has a moral obligation to step in and offer resources to help companies to adapt to this new way of working” So watch this space.
Meanwhile we hope you find these tips helpful. Stay safe and let’s all take care of each other. We’re here you need our help.