The workforce is changing in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We are seeing more and more companies make the switch to remote employees and WFH permanently. This new normal requires a lot of changes on behalf of employers and employees, from business hours, a technology learning curve and adjusting to being productive while working from the same place where we relax, eat and share family memories.
Lucky for you, there are some tips and tricks you can implement to get yourself and your team adjusted.
- Use technology to your benefit to help you stay connected with your employees even when you are no longer in the same location
- Use collaboration tools so that your team can still work together
- Adjust business hours. Expect employees and customers to need more flexible hours as well as virtual appointments
Technology is your friend
Thankfully, technology is advanced these days and most of the working population has a decent grasp on how to use most technology. When working remotely, technology is going to be your number one ally to help you stay connected, informed and in the loop.
Using tools like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and even FaceTime will help you and your team still be able to connect on a face-to-face level while working from separate locations. Don’t underestimate the power of a quick check-in using one of these platforms that allows you and your team to see each other’s faces.
Working Together, While Apart
Other tools that are extremely helpful as we adjust to working remotely are collaboration tools. These allows employees to collaborate, work together, brainstorm and share ideas while working remotely. You may have heard of some of the more popular collaboration platforms like Slack, Trello and Asana but there are plenty out there so do your research in order to find the best one for you and your team.
These tools are incredibly helpful to ensure that all employees are on the same page and on task even though they may not be able to be in the same physical space as one another. A lot of things and tasks can get lost in communication when there is as large of a divide as being buildings, blocks, miles, even states away from colleagues, but these platforms help bridge the gap.
Adjusting business hours
As your employees adjust to working remotely, they may need to make some adjustments to their schedule. What used to be a 9-5 workday at a brick and mortar office is looking different these days. A lot of employees have spouses that are also working from home and children that are learning remotely as well. This means that some employees may need to rearrange their schedules to start the day earlier than 9 a.m. when the kids are still sleeping.
They may need to take a two-hour lunch to get their kids down for nap time or take a break at 4 p.m. to help the kids with homework or get started on dinner. Be prepared to accommodate a lot of schedule changes as we adjust to the new normal.
As long as it’s not affecting your business and the employees are still getting their work and projects done and putting in the time where and when they can, there should not be any problems with having a little more flexibility in your work schedule. Employees will really appreciate your understanding and accommodations as we go through these unprecedented times.
Working with customers’ schedules
Also, understand that customers may need adjusted business hours and virtual appointments as well. Just as your employees are getting used to having their kids at home with them during the work day, customers are too. Mary may not be able to make a 3 p.m. appointment anymore now that the kids are home.
Work with your customers’ schedules and offer extended hours so that you can best serve them. Virtual appointments are also increasing in popularity and can be done at anytime from anywhere with the tools and software that we previously mentioned.
Adapting to the new remote workforce is a tall task, there are changes to be made everywhere and it can seem a bit overwhelming. Start with small changes and lots of check-ins with employees to make sure that they are still staying on-task and the team is still thriving in their new environment.
Don’t forget to also assess your entire business model and see what changes need to be made for the future as we move towards a permanent work-from-home workforce. Use this article to guide you and you will start to feel adapted to this new kind of work. We wish you the best of luck!