In the wake of this global crisis, and in preparation for business continuity in spite of it, many organizations have shown that in today’s technologically advanced world, business can continue as usual, even if employees aren’t able to travel to work. For those companies transitioning to remote work, it’s essential that you orient your employees about how this works and how they can balance ‘home’ and ‘work’. Taking away the office and sending off the employees to work remotely is not an easy undertaking. It requires planning and preparation.
Define remote working policies
Setting expectations is just the beginning. Sharing regular updates about what is expected will make employees feel more connected. Before you do so, it’s essential that you define policies for remote working that are convenient for both your organization as well as your employees. Remember that there will be a lot more distractions at home than at the workplace. Take into account the team size, need and function.
Here are a few things to consider:
Availability – define whether you set the schedule and timings or allow employees to select their schedule – while you give them task based work and work on results.
Tools – Define the tools that your employees will use to communicate, report and work on. Otherwise, collaboration within the team and with various teams of an organization may become messy. People will feel disconnected and lose focus. Managers should keep the team motivated and continuously on their tasks.
Communication – Emails may not always be the best way of communication. Something that’s more real time like a messenger would make the team feel more connected. Organize conversations as per team members and projects they are working on. Make communicating as direct and as simple as possible.
Data management – Define tools that the team will use to share documents and information securely.
Productivity – Define how you will track progress on projects and measure results. You can never guess whether your remote employees are really working or not. Many organizations are moving towards a task based work rather than time based work. After all results matter right? So, whether the employee works for 2 hours or 4 – or 8 – you get the work done – depending on the tasks they do.
Project Management – It is essential to define how the teams will manage their projects and where and whom they will report to and HOW. Define tools that will assign tasks and organize work within teams and across teams. Use project management tools like trello or basecamp. Document sharing tools such as Drop Box and Google Drive are also very convenient.
Security – Remote work could mean that teams use diverse networks and wi-fi connections. So, define where and how sensitive information should be stored. VPN is recommended while connecting to public networks.
Most importantly, prepare managers to handle everything remotely – they should be able to help, support and answer queries. Well, it is essential to give them the right tools to keep the projects on track.
More than anything, it is essential that you maintain a positive attitude about everything. There will be challenges and managers will not be able to control everything – every time. Whether this is the first time working with remote employees or not, there are going to be times when you get overwhelmed and stressed and feel out of control. It is essential that you keep calm and keep moving forward. It’s a phase – it won’t be long before you are back to work – @your workspace!