Making Remote Working a Success for your Business
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed life for everybody, and the same can be said for businesses. Just as we all are acclimatising to life under lockdown, organisations of all sizes and in all industries are coming to terms with the challenges posed by the pandemic, and the lockdown.
Likewise, as individuals battle with the financial impact brought about by redundancy or reduced income, many businesses face a desperate struggle to survive, especially those with high sunk costs, or a minimal online presence. See if your business can apply for support from the government here.
For those businesses who are able to continue operating, a completely new approach has been required, and many are now adjusting to having staff at all levels working from home.
This new normal, throws up an array of new challenges for employees, managers and leaders. Here are our top tips on making remote working work for your business, and your employees:
Many organisations already rely on phone conferencing but with remote working already minimising our human interaction, switching to video calls can improve our communication and give us an increased level of social contact.
We have all switched off at times during long phone calls, but video offers us the opportunity to read the body language of others and maintain engagement. There are a range of tools available, such as Zoom, Skype, Slack or MS Teams.
Seeing our colleagues faces should be a nice break from the monotony of isolation, and what’s more, it’s a reason to get showered and dressed in the morning!
The same applies for your 1:1s with your team. Now more than ever, it is important to put time aside, to check in on their wellbeing, as well as performance. Many have had to adjust to a new environment, are juggling kids with conference calls and have been thrown in the deep end with technology they may not have had exposure to before.
All-Hands & Town Halls
We are living in the most turbulent of times, and that makes it all the more vital that employees hear from their leaders regularly. Whereas in the office, a monthly all-hands meeting might have been sufficient before, it won’t be in anymore.
Remember, you don’t operate in a vacuum. There is enough negative news around at the moment, and your employees won’t be immune from worries about job security and pay.
Taking the opportunity to bring the whole team together is vital, not only to maintain a sense of cohesion and collaboration among your team, but also to offer a level of transparency about your businesses plans to navigate these troubled times.
Also think about how you can use these sessions to continue team socialisation, team drinks, quiz nights or competitions virtually allow us to continue with some of the office gatherings that we are used to having.
With everything going on, it would be easy to forget some of the management basics. Recognising the contribution of our employees is vital, now more than ever. Many of your team will have adapted to, and embraced a completely new way of working, especially more junior employees who aren’t used to remote working. Recognising that, as well as performance, can go a long way to maintaining their engagement.
Goals and objectives set at the start of the year, or before the pandemic hit, may now be out of kilter with the reality faced by your business. Whether your business has been hit hard by low demand during the lockdown, or you’re facing unprecedented demand brought about by the lockdown, then it’s likely that your budget will be out of the window.
Now is the time to reassess the goals you have set for the business and for your team, and to communicate new and realistic objectives. As ever, ensuring your team knows what they are working towards, and what the priorities of the business are, will help maintain engagement, while they are working remotely.
Mental Health Support
Lockdown life is new and challenging for everyone, and we all need to take steps to protect our own mental health. For some this will be harder than others.
As a business you have a duty of care to your employees. It’s vital that you take steps to offer support during a time where many will really need it:
Make use of online resources from reputable sources like the NHS, Public Health England and charities such as MIND or the Mental Health Foundation
Keep in touch with your team on an individual level; a quick call to check in on a regular basis can be invaluable
Help employees establish a routine that works for them
Encourage a healthy balance between work and personal time - it’s easy for the lines to blur when working remotely
If you already offer an Employee Assistance Program, then check to see if counselling sessions for employees are included. If not, then some charities are offering free sessions for those who are really struggling
Is your business feeling the impact of Covid-19? Do you need support with people management or HR challenges posed by the pandemic? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.