4 Ways to Make Remote Work Productive During a Global Pandemic
As COVID-19 spreads, many schools and businesses are transitioning to “remote work” situations to avoid large gatherings of people. Some big businesses, like Fortune and Google, are closing offices to protect their employees and slow down the virus’s spread.
If you’re facing a potential work-from-home period, and your business isn’t used to functioning outside of the office, you’re probably concerned about productivity levels. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make remote work productive, regardless of your industry or brand.
Here are some tips for preparing for a quick transition to a remote office setup. When followed correctly, these tips have the power to keep your business afloat, even during a health crisis like COVID-19.
1. Invest in the Right Equipment
The most obvious concern held by many companies is that their employees won’t be able to accurately perform their jobs from a remote location. This can be a serious concern for businesses that require people to use specific tools such as high-level headsets, call software, or industry-specific tools.
To avoid a big dip in productivity, think about the tools each of your employees will need to effectively perform their jobs.
- Can you provide them with accessories that they can use from home?
- Do you have a surplus of laptops, keyboards, and other tools that you can lend out for the time being?
- If you don’t have a surplus or mobile equipment, can you acquire it quickly?
Investing in the right equipment is the key to being prepared for an immediate work-from-home situation.
Thinking beyond the pandemic, the general trend is that more and more people are working from home. You are wise to supply your workforce with the provisions that will allow them to do their jobs correctly from any location – regardless of the situation.
2. Use Top Collaboration Tools
If you work in an environment that’s typically very social, with lots of in-person discussions and company-wide meetings, a shift to a remote office setup can be stressful. Collaboration cannot suffer, but the ability to communicate will need to shift.
The best way to keep communication high is to invest in remote collaboration tools to facilitate group discussions, task management, and online meetings (via text, calls, video chat, etc.).
Image Source: Techuz
From Trello to Slack and other popular project management programs, there is a plethora of online services that facilitate excellent engagement and communication from wherever your team is working.
The challenging part is training your team to adopt a new remote work system on the fly.
Fortunately, many of these collaborative apps come with download instructions and helpful tutorials – not to mention they are very user-friendly. Consider hosting a tutorial day beforehand to alleviate any employee stress about using the new platform on their own from home.
3. Prepare for a Culture Shift
One of the biggest risks to your productivity actually comes from your employees’ mindset. Once they’re at home, working from a totally different environment with less visible leadership and fewer coworkers, things will change.
Ask yourself: how can you keep your in-office culture alive outside of the office?
Consider the cultural elements in your office that boost productivity.
- Is its a positive attitude amongst the leadership team?
- A focus on clear responsibilities and roles?
- The emphasis on brainstorming?
Positive work culture has been linked repeatedly to improved employee engagement, as well as increased productivity. Now’s not the time to let that culture die as panic, uncertainty, and change sweep our workforces.
Try to keep these themes alive as much as possible, even though everyone is working from a different space. Losing your culture can cause a dramatic dip in employee productivity and make it difficult to produce the same quality of product/service.
4. Consider Adding More Flexible Policies Permanently
Many businesses are now scrambling to implement work-from-home policies and bandaids to keep their employees healthy. But unfortunately, many companies are forced to start from scratch when it comes to remote work standards.
To make things easier on your company in the future, consider adding more flexible remote work policies as a permanent solution. Not only will this prove as an advantage when it comes to hiring new candidates who want more flexibility, but it will also prevent you from panicking when a natural disaster like the coronavirus attacks again in the future.
Image Source: Flex Jobs
Previous to the spread of COVID-19, remote work was already growing dramatically. It’s increased by 91 percent over 10 years – and we will continue to see more employees seek out flexible work environments.
Why not make things easier on yourself now and prepare for this growing transition, as well as potential health emergencies like today’s?
As the coronavirus continues to spread and more companies transition to different work situations to alleviate the risk of contagion, it’s time for you to consider how your company will stay productive in a work-from-home situation.
Right now, focus on equipping your team with the right tools to survive in an out-of-office environment. Research collaborative tools to help everyone stay connected from remote locations, and be prepared for the culture of your business to change.
A switch to remote work doesn’t have to mean a dip in productivity – as long as you play your cards right.
It's Your Move
If the productivity of your business' remote workers is something you'd like to discuss, please contact me directly on LinkedIn or through our website https://www.frontiersolutions.ca/.
Chantale Benoit is the CEO of Frontier Solutions, a Calgary IT support company that has been helping small businesses get the most from IT in a way that allows it to drive their business forward for the past 23 years. Learn more about Chantale and Frontier Solutions here.
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